30 September 2007

So that's that, then.

Katie and I took Lily up to her Grandparents for the night in Ingleton as planned, last night... and it inevitably pained me a lot to look up at a vary clear and unbelievably still Ingleborough this morning. It would have been a fast year. The Grassington off road Audax went ahead as planned , the three counties sportive took place all over the area, and the three peaks were swarming with walkers as usual... Utterly annoying.

29 September 2007

Phil's training diary 4: Where's Ingleborough?

Well I guess my training diary needs some closure (rather like my training got it last ‘black Monday' when Dave sent me and email that simply said ‘phone me - the Peaks is cancelled’). Back on black Monday I had just finished a weekend of high quality and high volume training and was looking forward to sharpening up on the following couple of weeks. As I type this it is Saturday and it should have been the morning before the ‘Peaks, staying at my Mum’s house, with a stirring view Ingleborough in the distance. Instead I can see a Dartmoor (the picture shows the view from my window), and somehow it is not quite the same….

As soon as I heard the news I completely lost my drive and focus and got on with other things. Since then I have managed to get out for a couple of runs and I plan to do a ‘humble’ one hour ‘cross race on Sunday. But I am not expecting to do much because I have not bothered with any sharpening since black Monday. I know it seems trite, but it was going pretty well for me and I had made a real effort to take myself out this summer, sometimes at the expense of the family or my work. I cannot say I did not enjoy the training, but I always hate the torment of feeling I should be with the family or elsewhere. So I guess it is time to redress the balance. I think I’ll take the kids swimming this morning. See you next year. Phil.

23 September 2007

Gossip from JR and RJ

I've managed to have a good chat to John Rawnsley now - and also to Rob Jebb.

Events of last week seem to have passed and I feel like the time to reflect has brought things into focus a bit more. Firstly, John's clearly very down about the whole affair... he's very keen to complete 50 events and this type of thing is obviously causing as much distress to John as the rest of us. His hands are clearly tied and he couldn't take the risk of treading on anybody's toes. It's a depressing thought that this race is on a knife edge with issues like Foot and Mouth Disease about, and no-one could guarantee against a similar fate in 2008... or beyond. We all assume that the current outbreak is still just a blip... but ...

I spent a bit of time with Rob Jebb today and aside from the obvious annoyance, he quickly pointed out that it's probably not as bad for 'us' Wheelbase riders and similar, because we get out our 'cross bikes and race them until January... some of the fell running community own cyclocross bikes purely to do this race and their numbers are larger than we think. Their bikes won't be used until next year's race. That's the strength of grip this event has.

On the up side (or is that the down side?), Rob was just flying today at the Silcoates Scramble. The course was fast, dry, and with a ten second run-up each lap - hardly Jebb territory to the type of people who think Rob's 'just a runner' (!) - he just cleared off half an hour in and that was that - won very comfortably. He wouldn't have been there, of course, were it one week before the Three Peaks, but he, like all of us, has had to rapidly adjust his plans for the next few weeks.

Rob's moving into unknown territory with a special invitation to ride the Iron Cross - the USA's answer to the Three Peaks - on October 14th. Rob's not sure how he'll get on given that he may not know the course well enough to dose his effort, but it'll be a hell of an experience, and in some way, compensate for the blow dealt in Yorkshire this year.

21 September 2007

All revved up with no place to go

A few of you may know I'm a bit of a messer with music... and as an outlet for my frustrations, I spent a few minutes recording a new track based on the tune that's been flying round my head for the last few days.... just a bit of fun...

18 September 2007

News roundup

Here's the various sources of news / syndication I could gather about the cancellation...
London Cyclesport
Mr Adventure
Bike Rader
British Cycling
Cycling Weekly

Lemme know if you see any more please...

Christmas is cancelled

I thought I'd better blog some of my own personal feelings about the cancellation of the race today.

My fury about the politics that has led to this situation is best expressed elsewhere, and there's no need for me to re-record the outpourings of the other 399 competitors, most of them are happily getting on with this on the forum.

I tried to explain to my five year old daughter this morning why one race being cancelled was such a big deal. The only thing I could equate it to was the loss of Christmas for a year. The anticipation, the preparation, the sheer child-like obsession and wanting. The talking about it afterwards.

Whatever the reasoning or explanation, I feel like the year has just lost its focus now. The National Trophy races start in early October, and rather than looking forward to fine-tuning my form after the three peaks, I can't be arsed to touch my bike. I feel like I've been travelling on a long road to an important destination, to find it not there. Utterly empty and very sad.

I've looked for silver linings, none are there just now. I'll have to see what next September's Christmas brings.

16 September 2007

Phil's training diary 3: Bent bars and bruises

I didn’t deserve that glass of beer on Friday. Yesterday morning I went out for a 5 mile coaching session with the training team (Helen 2, Angus 4, Matthew 7) on the Dartmoor cycle path – the picture shows me with the team just before we left home – that bit went fine. More seriously, in the afternoon I took the cross bike onto the moor and did the Sticklepath Horseshoe running race route , about 10 miles and 1700 ft of ascent, with lots of bike carrying and loads of granite blocks to navigate. It was my first serious off road session since the end of the cross season in January. But I kept falling off, my descending was rubbish and just before I got home I had such a tumble over the front that I bent my bars and cut myself up. I was pathetic, like a jelly, a wet lettuce, all those weeks over the summer I have been deluding myself that road miles and running are doing me good and I have neglected the critical off-road stuff. It was a rude awakening and I need to punish myself, more off road pain and no booze now for 2 weeks. Phil ‘aching back and neck’ Haygarth

15 September 2007

Training partner

It's been a bit of an odd training week, I still feel things are okay on balance, but I know for a fact that I haven't done enough endurance stuff this year and am likely to suffer as a consequence. I've still got seven or eight days ahead to do some long stuff, but in honesty I don't think I'm going to fit anything exceeding three hours into the schedule.

All this might not sound good news for me, but it's not all bad. I seem to have found a new level of intensity in my training. If I have forty five minutes for a run, then I seem to be able to really push it dead hard.

What I thought I'd write about though is how enjoyable and interesting my training's become (for me!) since I got my Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS. You're either very interested or not interested at all in things like these. I got one earlier this year and it's been such a bonus to look at my real-time speed or pace when I'm running, and then I have the bonus of looking at all the stats from my rides or runs when I get home. Average and max heart rate, speed, elevation, all mile by mile... the opportunity for geeky interpretation of the stats is endless. At times, it positively helps me to push myself harder on runs when I can see my average pace, and that helps a great deal.

The other thing that's really nice about it is that this website helps you to upload your runs or rides and view them in Google Earth, or google maps (see below), colourised by speed.

I'm looking forward to pouring through the stats and uploading the map in two weeks' time.

See the following map miles better in Google Earth here.

View Larger Map

14 September 2007

Phil's training diary 2. So far so good.....

So far so good – I managed a lovely 45 minute evening run along to the Tay Bridge from my Hotel in Dundee on Monday evening. Back home on Tuesday, after putting the children to bed, I managed an evening 70 minute road ride with hill intervals. Sadly I think that is my last chance now for evening road rides this summer – here in the south west it gets dark about 7.45 now. Last night, on Thursday evening, ran with the dog (well actually the dog walked and he was still faster than me!) to the top of Cosdon Beacon close to my house, which included four 6 minute interval sessions, a lovely 1800 ft summit on Dartmoor - ideal training territory. Felt good, but not wanting to risk injury to my knackered joints I took it easy on the way down – it’s always the descents that seem to induce injury me and there is no point in descent run training for the peaks. Today I 'rested' - a busy day doing a PhD viva in Bristol, strewth that's enough to wring anyone out and I was the examiner not the candidate! Just finished putting my X bike together this evening whilst watching the Rugby- I hope my 3 peaks goes better that England’s performance against the Springboks. I must mention my friend Trevor Page, a solid 4 hour merchant, who swares by this web site for those who are into the technical side of training. Tomorrow I’m off onto the moor with the X bike and on Sunday I am planning a 40-50 mile road ride, which may include a stint on the cycle path with the kids! Just over two weeks to go and it is getting late on a Friday night, should I have another glass of beer? Oh shucks, why not, I reckon I deserve it....Phil

Simon Scarsbrook's piccies from the 2005 race

Just came across these on Flickr
View as a slideshow (open in a new window)

3 Peaks Cyclocross 20053 Peaks Cyclocross 20053 Peaks Cyclocross 20053 Peaks Cyclocross 20053 Peaks Cyclocross 20053 Peaks Cyclocross 20053 Peaks Cyclocross 20053 Peaks Cyclocross 20053 Peaks Cyclocross 20053 Peaks Cyclocross 20053 Peaks Cyclocross 20053 Peaks Cyclocross 20053 Peaks Cyclocross 20053 Peaks Cyclocross 20053 Peaks Cyclocross 20053 Peaks Cyclocross 20053 Peaks Cyclocross 20053 Peaks Cyclocross 20053 Peaks Cyclocross 20053 Peaks Cyclocross 20053 Peaks Cyclocross3 Peaks Cyclocross 20053 Peaks Cyclocross 20053 Peaks Cyclocross 2005

09 September 2007

Phil's training diary 1: Have shoes will travel......

Dave has invited me to contribute to the blog in the run up to the ‘Peaks. I am Dave’s older brother Phil, and share his enthusiasm for the race, it goes back to my childhood, a mixture of early family walks up Pen-y-Ghent (often on my Dad’s shoulders) and memories riding my first bike through puddles in the back lane behind my house. I am now a 41 year old vet and now have three young children of my own, so my training is all about fitting it all in between the demands of Dadhood and those of my day job, a career as a scientist which almost consumes with the degree of passion the race does, and involves a lot of travel. So my trick is getting the balance right in a life that is brimming over.

I have completed the event a number of times since 1993, and am definitely a Mr Average, with a PB of about 4 hours 20 odd and a worst time about an hour longer. I eternally chase improvement and for me the key is in getting the weight down and fitting in some quality training around my work and family life. This year is going slightly better than average I would say and one of the reasons is in my rejuvenated ability to fit in some running.

In my 20s my first love was fell running but after a nasty ankle injury I had to easy off on the running and concentrate on the bike. In part a family visit from brother in July encouraged me to get out onto Dartmoor with him for some early morning runs, where I concentrated un uphill running and found that, with due warm up and stretching, I could get away with the occasional run. I took the gamble and splashed out on a new pair of super cushioned shoes and I must say that this has worked wonders for me – because demands on my time often take me away from home and, critically, away from the bike. This summer I have had a family holiday in France and slotted in some early morning runs whilst my young sons cycled alongside coaching me (as illustrated in the pic)! More recently I have found myself running in the dawn along the side of a Western Greenland Fjord on field work, and last week in the along a lake side of the Danish Lake District, near Silkebourg. It seems to be working, I have lost nine pounds in about 6 weeks and yesterday my standard 70 minutes road cycle circuit was reduced to 65 minutes and I had a certain bounce to my pace. So far so good, now I need to start working on the intervals and sharpening up my off road skills. See you next week – if you are in Dundee early on Tuesday morning or Bristol on Friday. I am the big guy pounding the streets in my Nikes at about 6 am. Have shoes will travel. Phil.