I've done a couple of smaller runs and races since my DNF on the Thames path challenge but have really struggled. I,m just too sore and tired to really push things; so I have been spending more time out on my bike.
I had a great ride out round swinley forest with the two Steve Allan's. They are both long time mtb nutters and offered to show me some of the better trails.
We did most of the blue and red routes and i totally fell in love with the place. Stunning trails in the middle of no where. Heart pounding climbs mixed with trouser browning dropoffs. Just hope i did not slow you guys down too much.
I would love to lie and say this is me. Its not. It does show how amazing the forest is though.
The Windsor half marathon.
This was a club championship event so it was all booked and payed for at the beginning of the year. I was feeling like shite and full of cold but was buggered if i was going to miss out on another bit of bling.
I started off slow and sensible and really enjoyed a really good race. There was a ton of my friends from the dashers running and watching and they really did help to keep me moving.
There is some great hills and i would love to say i enjoyed the stunning sights of the great park. Except my ankles were still sore as hell. I found myself looking only a few feet ahead at the ground. Trying like hell not to trip up and face plant the floor.
The one time i did look up was right in the middle of the polo fields. One of the guys a few meters ahead of me ran off the path onto the pitch and dropped his shorts. Bollock naked from the waist down. He hardly missed a stride as he separated his shitty knickers from his shorts and put his soiled shorts back on. leaving a pile of unspeakable nastiness in the middle of the royal family's personal polo pitch.
Right at the end of the race you return to the long walk and have a Amazing downhill section surround by hundreds of spectators. Heart pounding I was trying not to sprint. Once the ground levels you still have over a mile left.
As normal slight bit of adrenaline and I was going for it. It was only a mile after all. Within a hundred meters I was breathing through my arse. Trying desperately to run stright. The only thing that was keeping me moving forward was the crowds.
I crossed the line in 1:57:01!!! Then took on the swagger of someone about to die from ebola. My legs where locking up pretty badly. I was walking like i was trying not to shart myself. Covered in snot and sickly sweat i was panting like a excited labrador with asthma. Who says running is not a attractive sport. Had a massive smile on my face though.
A few days later
We went up north to drop off Lyndsey the house elf, a few days ago. I thought it was a great opportunity to attack some real hills and have a sight-seeing tour.
Never used one of these bike racks before. I was more worried about my baby bike then the cars paint.
After a journey filled with over priced coffee and the most expensive snacks ever. We got to my mam's house tuesday night. Wednesday morning i was up early. With the excuse "Emma and linz need some more rest after that drive." I Strapped on my camp looking helmet and my rucksack filled with clif bars and electrolyte drinks and set off.
Light house or penis?
I joined the C2C 14 cycle track at birtley and started to follow it through washington to sunderland. Until you get near to penshaw its mostly flat and straight. I had a great time chasing after people on their morning commute. Overly competitive dick i am.
All of a sudden every the tree canopy opened up and i was riding along side the river wear. Things where getting a lot more interesting. Nice steep hills and some great short climbs. There is tons of sculptures on the side of the trail and even what looks like a shipwreck in the river.
photo taken on phone so the zoom is shite. shipwreck in the Wear.
Once i got to wearmouth I followed the coast north up all the way up to Tynemouth. Stunning ride,some great long stretches of flat downhill coastal road and some amazing tight winding trails following the clif's.
Some of the better pics i took along the coast.
Everything was pretty and just a little bit boring. Until i got to Marsden and almost fell of my bike when i saw the "Cock rock"
The cock rock.
From Tynemouth I headed back inland through south tyneside. This is where things started to get shitty. In sunderland the ship yards all closed down at least twenty years ago. More then enough time for the area to see real change. Beautiful cycle trust paths run side by side the length of the river. Passing small villages and stunning riverside properties.
River side just outside Sunderland city center.
Tyneside is a different story altogether. Near derelict ship yards and industrial estates haunt the riverside. You have to detour for miles to get around them and their foreboding prison like fences.
A few sections have seen rejuvenation but don't stretch more than a few hundred meters before another shite pit victorian esque workhouse fucks things up.
In another ten years this place is going to be stunning. At the moment it's just a shame.
I made it to the quayside and crossed the blinking eye over into newcastle.
The blinking eye bridge
By the time i reached the tyne bridge i was starting to feel the distance. The plan was to get my arse up to saint james park; Newcastle's football stadiam and have a little rant. "Footballs are all fairy's", "the fans are extra curvy", "it's a lot more fun to participate then spectate" and so on.
Can you tell i was shite at football as a kid?
Both sides of the river have pretty extreme hills to deal with. If i was to saint james i would have to deal with both....Bugger that. I took a couple of quick pics of the bridges. They are a pretty landmark after all. Then crossed back over the low level bridge and attacked the start of the biggest bastard hill not to be named a mountain!!
South tyne side might be a bit of a poop pit but once you get this far its stunning
The hills were killing me and i was all of a sudden awear my carbs had crashed pretty bad. My brain was not working the way it should. I was changing my direction to the one of least incline with out really thinking about direction. I started to shake and feel dizzy.
I got off my bike so i could try and find a local shop on my phone. I had no real idea where the hell i was. I tried searching "local shop" all i got was specialised shops twenty miles away selling shitty carpets. "paper shop" got me staples in newcastle. I even tried "I need some fucking suger you twatting nob jocky!"
In the end i asked a little old woman on the street. Two mins later i'm inside a local co op.
Outside the co-op two mins later.
The healthy eating was well and truly out the window. I got to the cash desk and the young woman was pissing herself laughing at the state of me. I tried to justify the two family size jelly babies bags and enough chocolate orange's to make Dawn french sick. The one's with popping candy are amaz-balls!!
Five mins later, sticky from a chocolate rampage i filled pretty much every pocket i could with jelly babies and headed home. I was feeling a lot more clear headed but absolutely frigged. I was really close to phoning the emergency services (Emma).
It took me the best part of a hour to do the last few miles. I really need to start feeding myself better during these long rides not after.