120 miles, 10,000+ft of climbing and falling on your arse equals one amazing day

Beeston Sportive Garmin Trace

Beeston Sportive Garmin Trace

A couple of months ago my wife brought the Beeston Sportive to my attention. Hmmmmm I thought a sportive in Beeston how exciting …. NOT but then I actually looked at the route and the brutal profile.. With the long route covering 111 miles and with climbing at over 10,000ft, helped by passing through Flash (the highest town in the UK) my interest was definitely grabbed. After speaking with a couple of guys in the club and Cat of WholeHealth we decided to don the Blue kit and ride the sportive as a group.

So the day arrived and I met up with Chris Bennett of lejogns2014 at 7am and we rode the 5 miles down to the start. The weather was cracking, dry and warm with a bit of cloud cover to keep the lobstering at bay. We soon hooked up with the rest of our Clan, Matt, Cat and Anthony and headed out.

WH team

We had a nice 40 miles of rolling Peak district countryside to enjoy before we hit our first serious climbs into Butterton and Elkstone. As described by Beeston CC and shown on my helmet mounted Contour at Tough climb into a pretty sketchy descent into a leg breaker of a climb

“leave the Manifold by a vicious climb to Butterton. A lovely section of the main Cheadle road lines you up for the exceptional Elkstone climb, long, varied and eventually turning on to Morridge visited regularly by the Tour of Britain.”

This really set the tone for the day beautiful scenery punctuated by vicious climbs of 17% -21% and stunning high speed descents as seen here on the Longcliffe descent

80 miles in and we hit the final serious climb of the day again described by the great guys at Beeston CC

“you are inflicted with the final cruelty that is Rowsley Bar, you won’t be forgetting this one in a hurry”

Boy were they right this was a brutal climb which tried at every opportunity to tear the muscles clean off your legs and with a number of switchbacks and a ridiculous percentage many quality cyclist were bought to a grinding holt (luckily I had compact gearing – Phew) But as with every climb before the pain in the legs soon passes once you get over it and the laughs, smiles, excuses and banter in general starts again. For me this is the beauty of cycling heading out with a group of friends having a great time laughing, enjoying some beautiful countryside and burying yourself. People will say we are mad for doing it and we probably are but I bet there weren’t many people on Sunday 5th July having as much fun as we had.

The WholeHealth team filling our faces at Flash the highest town in Great Britain

The WholeHealth team filling our faces at Flash the highest town in Great Britain

Oh and if you want to see me fall on my arse then check out my You Tube Channel at Youtube

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The Turkey Trot Half Marathon

The Turkey trot (www.turkeytrot.org.uk/)  is a half marathon run in Keyworth, UK and it is a fixture on my race calendar. I usually view it as one last hurrah for the race year, This year was different though not only because of the challenge ahead of me in 2013 but I have had a niggling problem, I really don’t want to use the ‘I’ word with my Ankle/calf/shin. I have spent the last 2 weeks trying to convince myself it is not my shin as a good friend of mine in http://www.absolutetriathlonclub.co.uk/ had her season destroyed this year with shin splints and every time I get a niggle I just think the worse. So I gave my legs a solid weeks rest in preperation for the race.

Now it’s two buses for me to get to Keyworth from my house so I had to be up and out of the house by 7:30am for a 10:15 start, but I was up and ready to go with plenty of time to just have a nice relaxing journey to the race. That was until I got to the bus stop and read 25mins until the next bus, bugger what do you mean next bus 25 mins. I hate it when this happens so then you have a choice to make do I sit around and freeze waiting for what at best will be 25mins at worse could be 30mins plus or do I take a hike into town? A nice stroll stands perfect yeah, stretch my broken legs a bit surly that’s a no brainer right, well problem is I have to catch a connection from Nottingham centre to Keyworth at 8:35 miss it and its no race. Well I am not sitting around for half an hour so I will walk and keep my eyes peeled for the bus and jump on part way there, sorted. So I start the wanting to be on the bus walk constantly looking over my shoulder looking like I think I am being tailed by some MI5 agent. So after about 20 mins of this my legs are nicely stretched but my neck is screwed. But I hit the bus stop and it’s telling me 3 mins until the next bus good enough for me and what do you know bang on time it turns up hurray.

By now my nice relaxing journey is in tatters I have only 10mins to get across town and get the Keyworth bus. Now for those who don’t know Nottingham this is about a 10min walk so running is required, but hey easy I am nicely warmed up, I have rested for a week oh and I am on my way to do a half marathon so a 1 mile jog across town is going to be easy right …… wrong as my foot hits the ground I get an intense pain shooting from my ankle through my shin into my quads… great so that’s me knackered then. I decided to give it a few meters and see how it goes but no this is not good. Under normal conditions I would have thought it’s not that bad and it’s my last race of the year just run through it wimp. But it’s not and I have a pretty big challenge on in 2013 and a lot of people have donated their hard earned cash so with all that in mind should I quit before I even get to the start line? Look at the big picture so on and so on. But I am a right stubborn bugger so after what seemed like ages of contemplation but actually a matter of seconds I decided Nah it will be ok, what’s the worst that can happen and off I limped, jogged, walked to Broadmarsh Bus station and made it with ages to spare well 20 seconds. I got on the bus thinking phew made It but still a little niggling part of me thinking should I have missed this, am I lucky getting the bus in time or unlucky?

So anyway after half an hour of wiggling my ankle and leg around on the bus I arrived in Keyworth convinced everything was going to be fine and all ready for the race, well all ready for a nice warm cup of Chicken soup. So soup despatched and nice and toasty warm I got myself kitted up and ready for the start. I always think it’s interesting looking at what people are wearing when you get into the winter races Now I will be completely honest here I am a big girls blouse and if I could have got one on I would have worn that too. But I thought I would be ok in leggings, a Base layer, my club cycling top, my waterproof shell (very Kindly provided by http://www.ronhill.com/) a pair of gloves and a hat. Yes yes I know looking back at it now and deep down I think I pretty much knew at the time I had gone a bit over board but last year it was bloody freezing. But seriously I mean it was probably one below at that time and there are people swanning around in shorts and vests. I mean c’mon I don’t even wear that in the summer. I have yet to make my mind up whether these people are double hard, showing off or just a little mental ??? Thoughts from the floor??

So anyway we march off to the start I am feeling rather smug now as the vested lunatics shiver away in the 10mins we have to wait for the race to start. I think my smugness lasted about 2 miles, it was at the point I started my turkey trot striptease luckily I had my cycling top on so utilised the back pockets it was still very much like a drunken game of buckaroo much to the amusement of my running partner who unwittingly became my mobile clothes horse for about half a mile. But by mile 3 the world was a much cooler place again and I hadn’t even realised that I was in no pain at all, great all my foot wiggling had paid off who needs a sports physio :-p and maybe a sub 1:45 is on the cards here after all.

We hit mile 6 and I am not sure if this was because Den asked how I was doing or whether it was just a coincidence but as he did my ankle just started screaming at me to stop. I think in any other race I may just have given it another half mile, maybe a mile tops and if it still hurt then drop out (considering 2013) problem is I was 6 miles from the finish and in the middle of bloody nowhere so it’s either stop and freeze or grit your teeth and plough on. Now we have quite clearly established I don’t like being cold so I just had to grit my teeth and dig in. The one crumb of comfort I had was that the pain was defo in my ankle and not in my shin and as I plodded on it did gradually fade away happy days I thought as I turned to Den and cheerfully stated that all was good in my world and I was ready to pick the pace back up…. “So you’ve forgotten about the hill around this corner then” Den replied, bugger.

A pretty uneventful second half of the race unfolded and we headed towards the finish line. What is it with people and the end of races? During the race it’s all “hi how you doing”, “well done nearly there” but as soon as they get a sniff of that finish line it’s like a Shark hunt at Amity Island, every single position suddenly is like gold dust. Now if you are leading the race or challenging near the top end I could maybe forgive people getting a little carried away, but when you are trundling along in the middle of the field is it really acceptable to started barging past people in the finishing funnel?? In fairness the guy in question here did look and act like he was the offspring of two very very close siblings but still really!! As I was not really that distraught at finishing 511th instead of 510th I let it slide and allowed my little inbred friend his moment in the spotlight. Anyway there were far more important things afoot, Santa had arrived and was dishing out the finishing mementos. So following my meet with Santa (always a pleasure) I followed the welcoming smell of Chicken soup like one of the Bisto kids with my finishing certificate under my arm and a pretty handy time of 1:53:03 (prov).

The Turkey Trot