Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Hope Valley Challenge 2011.

Checkpoint Charlie. Registration Desk at Hope Valley College.

What a day!

Number of slices of cake consumed = 6 (Plus a slice of Malt Loaf and a Banana)
Number of drinks of pop = Lost count
Number of punishing climbs = 8
Number of punishing climbs ridden all the way up = Not many!
Number of fast, dangerous, whooping descents! = Loads :)
Number of 'over the handlebars' incidents = 1
Number of portions of soup and bread roll's consumed at the end = 2
Number of Mitchell's minging farts on the way home = At least 53!
Number of gas-masks required for Mitch's farts on the way home = 1

The sun shone, the trails were dry and everyone had a smile as wide as The Vale of Edale at the end! Read on...

Friday, September 23, 2011

And then there was even more!


Following from my last post I had a long talked about fishing trip planned with one of my oldest and best friends, Paul 'Pip' Truscott. We had been, kind of, arranging this for a couple of years.
Pip and I are both members of a long established and well respected organisation called The British Carp Study Group (BCSG); it takes quite a lot to be accepted as a member and it is something we are both very proud of.
The group has it's own complex of waters in the very beautiful Colne Valley in Hertfordshire very close to London and I am lucky enough to have a membership for it. Pip can fish it for 4 days a year as a guest.
We work opposing shift patterns so Pip had booked a few days off work to allow us to go together for a social trip. I can fish it anytime so I arrived early on the Sunday morning to check it out and to find how it was fishing from anyone who might be there. Pip, as a guest, wasn't allowed to fish until midday on Monday but had planned to come down on Sunday afternoon and camp for the night.
It was slow according my mate Pete who was set up on "The Point" swim. One other guy was fishing further around the lake in "The Roundabout" swim. Neither had caught any Carp.
With a good south-westerly wind forecast I decided to set up in an area I knew well called "The Winter" swim. I baited a couple of spots and then waited for Pip to ring me before meeting him at The Village cafe in Harefield, a couple of miles away. The day was quiet and we enjoyed chatting and winding each other up as usual.
05.45am Monday morning and my left-hand bite alarm was singing it's wondrous song as a fish tore off in to distance; I shot out of my tent, picked up the rod and set the hook with a firm strike.
This was clearly a big fish and we battled for about 15 minutes until I managed to draw it into my landing net. I had a quick look at it in the half light of dawn and realised that it was a very big fish.
I left it resting in the net whilst I sorted out the weighing gear and camera etc. On the scales it pulled the dial around to 36lbs 2oz (16.3kg) and was a fish known as "The Half Linear" due to it's scaling pattern; I carefully placed it into a special retaining sack in the water and recast the rod. 45 minutes later and the other rod is away (I usually fish with 2 rods), Pip heard the bite alarm and came wandering down just as the fish was ready for netting. "Have you got one?" he asked. "Sort of" I replied; "I've got two". Pip took a look into the landing net and proclaimed it a big 'un! (In language I can't really print here in case children are reading).
He lifted the scales and read out a weight of 37lbs 12oz (17.1kg) and was another well known fish by the unusual name of "Codzilla"!
That's the biggest brace of Carp I've ever caught in an hour in England!. We photograph it and returned it to the water before doing the same with the one I had retained earlier.
The fish known as "Codzilla" at 37lbs 12oz from Korda Lake, Hertfordshire.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Where does the time go?... Where was I?

Where was I?... Oh yes the bank holiday weekend.
For a change the bank holiday weekend had actually fallen on my days off ; which I think was the first time this year! Friday-Monday off work meant that I would be able to do something cool with friends.
Mid-week prior I had managed to hit one of my swimming targets, which was 2 miles (3.2km) in the pool and I was really pleased about that because I had to dig deep, and fight off cramp for the last 20 lengths or so, to achieve it. I followed this up with another hour and a half in the pool with Dave on the Saturday morning; and Dave, being Dave, forces the pace and makes me work much harder than I really want to!
Sunday morning I had arranged to meet some old workmates, Paul, Nelson and Stenno, at the McDonalds at Branston around 08.00am; before heading off to Cannock Chase for a friendly burn around The Chase Trails on the mountain bikes. I've spent a fair bit of time at Cannock this year but the trails are so good now that I don't really tire of them. We've also been shown a few "local" additions by our mate Mark Bishton (Captain Slow) which adds a bit of distance and variety to the rides.
So with a quick Latte for me and a bit of breakfast for the guys we headed off towards Rugeley and the trails.
I like riding with these guys, it's nice to catch up and there's always a bit of banter along the way. They all have young families too and don't get to ride as often as I do, which is a shame, but because of that they are always enthusiastic and the ride is always enjoyable. And someone usually falls off (usually me!) just to add to the merriment :)
A quick change in the car park and one last smoke for Nelson, which I'm sure he regretted later, and we hit the trails with bravado!
Paul (looking fresh), Nelson (clearly regretting that last cigarette) and Stenno (looking...well?...Knackered!)

Where does the time go?

Where does the time go indeed?! I could do with an extra day in every week. I've had a busy old month or so since my last blog post, not all of it exciting though; but then quite a lot of it has been fun too!
I continued to run and swim, for a couple of weeks, along with my regular mountain bike forays to trail centres and national parks; although I've just had a couple of weeks rest from the swimming and running because I was having a few aches in my dodgy leg and a long-standing problem with my right shoulder (rotator cuff) has been playing up a bit too. Sometimes you have to listen to what your body is telling you and ease off a bit (especially at my age! Hahaha). It's been nice to have rest, I much prefer to be feckless, irresponsible and lazy if I can get away with it!
Silly Sally & Anita the Man-eater glamming it up at The V Festival
My less than lady-like friend Anita Barley wanted to go to The V-Festival at Weston Park and convinced me that spending £100 for a one day pass was a good idea, and as it turned out it was a pretty good idea. So along with Anita and I went her son, Callum, his girlfriend Sian, and our friend Sally and we met another friend of mine, Sue Schmoo, when we got there; Sue had a weekend pass the lucky devil. Me and 3 hot chicks, bonus! :) Unfortunately I had to leave early to get to bed for a 04.30am start for work the next day and had to miss the late evening Danny Byrd set. We saw sets from Fun Loving Criminals, Wretch 32, Aloe Blacc, Cast, Example, Tinie Tempah, Morcheeba and a few others, we got soaked in beer a few times and ate extraordinarily expensive Chicken Noodles in a day full of glorious sunshine. So glorious in fact that it was a veritable 'Hotpants-Heaven' everywhere you looked; why even when matched with fancy festival wellingtons it was a good look for most. I even woke with a perfect 'Goggle-Tan' the following morning from wearing my sunglasses all day, that'll teach me for posing!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

New page added! :)

Sorry I've been away for a while folks, I've had a busy old time but I'll be adding a couple of new blog posts very soon, plus one for the Oceanridge site too.
In the mean time I've added a new page for your (hopefully) enjoyment. It's an old tale I wrote a couple of years back but I thought it might be worth sharing again on here. Click the link below or use the button on the toolbar at the top of the screen.