Sunday 27 October 2019

October PAM

October's ParkRun was more of a swim than a run. Yup, the weather was the pants. The course was flooded and everyone got very, very wet. Hey, who cares? - Only 2 runs left and my ParkRun-A-Month (PAM) challenge will be complete.
The puddle of doom
Park Swim
Usually, following a ParkRun, results are emailed to each participant detailing lots of information and facts. For whatever reason, I wasn't emailed following this event. Maybe the weather was to blame?! Anyways, I finished 62/285 and my time was 23:52.

Friday 25 October 2019

SIKA 2019

On a real wet and windy October, Ron, myself and our lovely wives (SJ and Deb) headed to beautiful Bournemouth for the 2019 SIKA cycle event. Woo hoo! Ron and I (and Deb) had such a wonderful time last year 'up North' at the 2018 SIKA cycle event, we just had to ride this years edition. So nice having SJ with me this time around.
The wives - SJ and Deb
The Loons - Ron and Doo
Our accommodation was the lovely Highcliff Marriott Hotel. I'll try not to brag but the luxury was neat, the food delicious and the never ending supply of free beer quite awesome. We had to take the good with the bad - the weather was awful.

The actual cycling event was relatively easy. We (that's Ron and I) opted to cycle the 60 mile route option. Our wives went shopping. Cycling took us firstly along a bike path close to the sea. The menace winds and rain had driven much sand upon this bike path and cycling was slippery, hazardous and frightening. About 3k further on and we had left the 'beach' and were cycling nicer roads.
Much of the new forest was cycled through and this was just beautiful. We saw lots of wild creatures including horses, donkeys and pigs. I thought the wild pigs were particularly amazing. The wildest creature we saw was an angry motorist who first tried to drive Ron off the road and then told me I was very close to death in a threatening manner. Hmmm.
Thankful to report that the angry motorist didn't kill either of us and we happily cycled away with a whole bunch of others cycling the same event. The mean weather never gave up being a torment and we felt slight torture having to cycle 70k before our first break point (goodness knows what happened to the planned earlier stop).
Angry motorist not far from here
Do we look fazed?
Nice to stop and have a cuppa tea and some soup at the 70k rest spot. Would have been nice to dry out but not much chance of that. I think we ate a bap of some sort here too.
Back in the rain and just a short 30k or so cycle to the finish. The ride was undulating in nature but no real menace hills were encountered. We avoided the sandy section on our return choosing to cycle slightly higher roads instead.
At the finish line we received claps and were welcomed back with the sound of a cow bell. A quick change of clothes and then we celebrated further with the never ending supply of food and drink. Cycling finished early but the event continued all day and well into the night.
The evening program included some top nosh. David Millar was a guest speaker and spoke about his racing history. Drugs are bad... Action for Kids was a charity that was sponsored by this event and they collected more money than their target which was great. After such a full on day and night, it was nice to retire to our big comfy beds.
When (Sunday) morning came we had a further full English breakfast. Sadly, this is where the party ended - ha! Our bikes didn't look too healthy, they were covered in sand and grime, rusting here and there and creaking. As I took my bike apart, I reflected on what a great machine she'd been over the years and what a great event for her to finish on (as I plan to replace my road bike). 
(Last pic of my hat, which sadly went AWOL after the event)
Top event. Cheer's Ron, Deb and SJ. Nice one SIKA. Hope to ride next years event in Ireland!

Saturday 5 October 2019

October BAM

Early October and I'm pleased to report that I have completed my 10th consecutive calendar month wild camp! Only 2 further wild camps to go and I will have completed my Bivy-A-Month (BAM) challenge. How cool is that?!
October BAM
My brother 'Rob dog' and my other blood 'Jamie' joined me on this particular camp. We decided to camp in Stafford, not far from Rob dog's abode. The not-so secret coordinates were pops.differ.hospitals.

It was dark when we headed for the woods. I think we cycled an almost complete circle (well hike-a-biked really) through lots of bracken before we found a nice flat(ish) spot to camp. This was a little clearing littered with lots of interesting fungi and bright stars shining right above.
Jamie and his new Rap bivy
Jamie and I set about pitching our bivy's almost straight away. Jamie was pitching his brand-new Rab (ridge raider) bivy. The Rab bivy looked really smart, with a wide entrance well supported by a pole and guide ropes.
Meanwhile, Rob dog set about cooking. Sausage was on tonights menu. Along with cheese. Delicious.
Easy to chill out once fed. Just like the fungi, we were 3 fun guys (see what I did there)? We chatted, told stories, shared jokes and drank fermenting liquids before we settled down to a relatively early night.

We all slept pretty fine. Before we dropped off though we heard the sound of a bee buzzing and owls hooting. Jamie and Rob dog reported hearing foxes bark too. Surprised I heard no snoring.
When morning light came, it was great to see how awesome our camp spot was. My bivy blended superbly with the close surroundings. Top spot!
Jamie was first to rouse, followed by me. Jamie was leaving camp early as he had to return home and attend to his son. Not surprised Rob dog was last to surface - he had auricular acupuncture just prior to heading out last night. (Better yet, it was me who pinned his ears. I had just attended day 1 of my acupuncture course and he was a willing volunteer). Jamie's new bivy performed great - no menace condensation, 'dry as a bone'. Maybe I'll swap my Outdoor Research bivy for a Rab?!
Rob dog and I celebrated the completion of this wild camp by eating further sausage and cheese. This was washed down with a lovely cup of jasmine green tea. Already looking forward to November's camp!
Who on Earth would camp here?!

Happy New Year 2022

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