Sunday 25 October 2020

Wild Camp Oct 2020, Sika Race and Man's Best Friend

October's Wild Camp was an interesting adventure during the last week of British Summer Time. The Phantom, Rob Dog and I set off to a camp spot we had previously camped out on, but, do you think we could find it?! The trail was much overgrown and navigating proved difficult. Phantom did his best to locate this spot, however, we had to use Rob Dog's phone (using 'what3words') to find the specific spot. Fair play to Phantom, we were only 20m away.

As per usual, Rob Dog set about cooking before he had even set his sleeping quarters up. My bivvy looked particularly camouflaged I thought. Phantom chose to sleep under the pre-constructed shelter. Almost as soon as we were 'camped out', sausage, burger and buns were ready for the eating, Delicious.
Once it hard turned real dark, we started to feel fracked out for a stretch of time. We could see lights, like search lights, in the woods below us. The fear set in and we all thought we were part of a major man hunt or something. We were relatively well hidden, Phantom had constructed a shield to hide us further but the fire we had burning might just give us away. Only one thing for it - out came our hip flasks and the fear dissolved. I wonder what the lights were? Poachers maybe? We had seen deer eyes in the dark.
Had a good night and slept relatively well. I was using my winter arrangement - that is, 2 sleeping bags, one inside another. I felt snug and comfortable.
Was great having another cooked breakfast in the morning. After our delicious food, we packed and left camp and it looked like we had never been there - except for the ashes left in the fire, Phantom had made. Another cool camp!

Following the camp, Phantom and I took part in a Zwift race. This was the 3R Sika Cycle 2020 race. We were joined by Jonny M and Steve plus a whole bunch of others. Am really liking this Smart virtual world of cycling. This was the first time I had cycled Alpe Duez and to think I did that from the (relative) comfort of my own home. I think this was the longest time I had ever spent on a turbo trainer in one sitting. I cycled a distance of 46.7k in a time of 3 hours and 10 minutes and climbed some 1,710m! Phantom, Jonny M and Steve said 'lets all ride together', which we did for a spell but then they dropped me on the Alpe climb. I think the notion of 'race' got the better of them!

The best thing to happen this week was Ernie rocking up. Yes indeed, we now have a new addition to the family! Meet Ernie, our new little pupster! I'm sure he will feature in many adventures to come.

Sunday 18 October 2020

Montgomery Madness Audax (200k) and much madness in October 2020.

What a mad year 2020 has turned out to be. My own madness demonstrated that when I became focused I could train hard and lose weight. Indeed, last month, I lost 3kg by training hard and looking after my diet. Because I did so well last month, I kinda lost my focus a little at the start of this month. Yeah, I paid no attention to eating, didn't fast and just trained a little. Then I did something mad, well a couple of mad thing really...

First off, I got myself a smart turbo trainer. Oh man, this was fab. I could kinda do the outdoors indoors. Jonny M and Ronnie had convinced me this was a good idea and yup, I agree, it certainly turned out to be. I'm a fan of Zwift now which my 'regular' turbo trainer never seemed to get on with. Will be interesting to see how many virtual km's I can clock up. This years SIKA event is a virtual ride and yup, you got it, it's on Zwift. This ride includes a famous big hill/mountain and I hope to cycle it next week (will blog more if indeed I do).

The other mad thing I did was complete the Montgomery Madness Audax. This event is awesome and I had cycled it before as a permanent event with The Phantom, back in 2011. This time around I cycled the calendar version during Covid times. Covid meant that groups of 6 started off together at staggered times (this wasn't absolute) and we had to be careful in Wales as their 'rules' differed to that of England. So, mad Covid issues and absolutely mad amount of hills on this ride - unrelenting and awarding the cyclist 3.5 AAA points. Montgomery itself was located in Mid-Wales. Mad, huh?!

The ride started from the car park at the Severn Valley Railway which was rather nice. Almost as soon as out of the carpark, the road swept uphill. It felt, and probably was, hilly all the way to Bromyard.

I bounced the first control. I could have bounced them all to be fair because, AUK has 'left the stone age and have decided that GPS track files... can be accepted as proof of passage'. It's always good to stop but controls really can suck time out of a ride. More hills and patches of very muddy road finally took me to the control in Ludlow. It was nice to devour a bacon and egg roll here and wash it down with a cup of tea.

More hills, a real big climb and then a dash took me to Knighton. I actually saw the 'welcome to Wales' sign that I failed to see last time I cycled this event. Incredibly pretty sights - God's creation is just awesome.

Nest stage was all about climbing the Clun hills. Had a super nice descent down The Cwm and finally made it into Montgomery. Madness!

Lots of climbing leaving Montgomery with ascents of 17%. Passed a place called the Bog and felt obliged to take a comfort break. After some time had a fantastic climb up and over Long Mynd (which The Phantom told me meant 'long mountain') and then a zoomy descent down the Burway. Last time, I punctured down the speedy Burway descent. This time, I was better blessed and saw wild horses atop the Long Mynd.

The last leg was homeward bound. Day turned into night and it was dark by the time I reached Morville. A few more ups and downs finally led me to the arrivee. No one to meet and greet on this audax. Mad times indeed. A crazy audax but thoroughly enjoyed. May madness abound!

Happy New Year 2022

Happy New Year folks. I wonder what's in store for 2022,  - something crazy, something new? It's a shame Covid is still here and I&#...