The first was the 'Cake Race' in Diggle, Saddleworth.
Next up was Belmont Winter Hill fell race. I think the last time I did this race was 2007 and although it's only a short 'un - 4.5 miles - it packs a lot in. It wasn't a championship race and I cadged a lift off 'young' Jonathan Bruton and took Dave the Builder with us as I thought he might like to have a run out. George Thompson was already there as we arrived and we saw Des Reilly at registration. A quick warm up and a slash in the bushes and I discovered that Gary 'incognito' Taylor was also taking part. Blimey, a decent turnout of Dashers for a non-championship race! Jonathan and Des were always going to beat me in this but that was ok. In a way it was more of a training run with a load of other people taking part. There's a real brutal start to the race. You run past the Blue Lagoon on the road and it just feels like you aren't moving but your lungs are burning. Somehow it's a massive relief to finally turn off onto the moor. And then you climb. Steep but runnable. Head down and dig it in. Jonathan behind me and Des still in sight ahead. It levels out briefly and then the real climb begins, up the side of Winter Hill. I managed to keep jogging it out for quite a while before settling into the 'fell runners walk', hands pushing my knees down, back bent. Near the top I discovered Dave Woodhead, the organiser of many Yorkshire fell races lying on his side in the grass taking photo's of us all. I had a brief word with one of fell running's good guys and he took a decent pic of me.
I had decided to run home as I need to get some miles in. I thought it was quite a way home, it certainly felt it. Strava told me it was only 5 and a bit miles. It was a nice run in the sunshine though and a decent warm down!
The day after I had an early start for a 30 mile mountain bike challenge in Golcar, Huddersfield. I'd encouraged a guy I know to do it on his cross bike as a bit of early training for the 3 Peaks. Laughing Dave was also dead keen on doing it. I was on the Singlespeed, natch. I'd done the event a few years ago with D t B and remembered that it was pretty darned hilly. It was going to be a challenge in more ways than one. Virtually from the off you are climbing a cobbly hill and blowing. The route is a good mix of off road descents and largely on road steep climbs. For the first ten miles or so I rode in complete silence. Everybody around me looked serious and looked like they were in a race. The group I ended up riding with seemed like a binch of miserable gits so I made so witty comment (hard to believe, I know) and that broke the ice. There was a shortish fella on a blue hardtail in his early 50's and he started talking to me then. Trouble was every time he told me about the course it was 'Oh, big climb coming up' or 'Bit of a dangerous descent here.' I started laughing and said 'Bloody hell, it's always bad news from you!' we rode on as a group for quite a while and worked together at times. I dropped them a bit on one of the mahoosive steep climbs and heard one of them saying 'He's doing well on that singlespeed.' which did my ego a bit of good!
Eventually we reached a climb through a valley. I remembered it from the last time I'd done it but given that it still seemed quite familiar. It was only later I realised I'd been there going the opposite way on the fell race the previous weekend. Anyway we ground our way upwards. A bloke I was with said 'Oh are we going to get a tailwind along here?' I said 'I doubt it, its been headwind all the way so far!' And sure enough we got a headwind as soon as we got out of the shelter of the hillside. Doh! Part way along here I came across the Sport Sunday crew. This gave me a boost as they are really good folk who do a great service for so many events. As usual I was snapped whilst flashing my pearly whites. I must say in my defence that I was really enjoying myself and was feeling slightly euphoric.
Results here: http://cvmbc.co.uk/2012-results/ 37th/266 finishers will do me.
So, in summary a busy couple of weekends and it seems that giving the old body a battering seems to work ok for me. Can it last? Watch this space.