Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Peaks 200 - by Mitch Bryan & Pascal Lally

Rainbow Chasers Mitch Bryan, Martin Tansley, and Pascal Lally recently took on The Peak 200, an Individual Time Trial (ITT) that circumnavigates most of The Peak District National Park. This is their account of an epic days mountain biking. I really enjoyed reading it; I hope you enjoy it too.

Mitch takes up the first half of the story:

"What time do you reckon it is?"
"Erm... 22:30?"
"You what! Try 01:30"

Where had the time gone? As I lent against the fence trying to force down one more gel into my grumbling stomach I pondered how time had run away from me. It only seemed like an hour at the most since Pascal and Martin had switched on their lights as we began our final technical descent into Roych Clough. And yet now here we were taking a moment to refuel after pushing our not so laden bikes up the steep sided valley out of Chee Dale.

I could hardly believe that over twenty hours earlier the three of us had set off from the pub car park at Rowsley full of apprehension for what the rest of the day had in store for us as we attempted to complete the Peak 200 ITT in under twenty four hours, although I hadn't told Martin and Pascal this as it thought it might have put them off. 

Monday, August 21, 2017

On the Up.

My post-op recovery seems to be going OK. It's only been a week and a half admittedly, but the pain has receded considerably and is more like a nagging toothache now.
I've been out walking quite a bit and I've had a few sessions on the turbo-trainer just to try and keep some fitness (and relieve the intense boredom).
Today I decided it was time to try a tentative cross-country run, so I popped out for an hour and ran gently on some familiar local paths. It was good actually, I enjoyed myself, and I was able to keep my arm stable in the sling, and, importantly, strain and pain free. I planned to do about 5km but ended up doing 8.5km. I had fun with a feisty Alpaca (not generally native to Derbyshire), carefully avoided some grumpy looking cows who eyeballed me with considerable suspicion (they had young calves), and spotted some beautiful looking wild flowers in a small woodland.  It was quite eventful.

The next three months will likely be a slow build up back to normal mobility. The surgeon suggested I might be able to get out cycling (on road) after about six weeks; that's something I'm looking forward to. I won't however rush proceedings in any way, I want to recover fully and without incident.
This week I have my first consultation with the physiotherapist and also my first post-op assessment with the Consultant Surgeon. I'll keep you posted on the outcomes.
As a means of alleviating the intense boredom further I am off to the Isle of Wight for a few days to visit my twin sister Helen. It's high time I went really, she's been living there for four years :D

My grumpy face. I'm not a fan of sitting on a turbo-trainer.
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Alpkit announce their #ContinuumProject

Perfectly in line with their "Go Nice Places, Do Good Things" tagline the good folk at Alpkit have announced their latest social & environmental initiative through their Alpkit Foundation.
The Continuum Project is a partnership with several other organisations to donate, recycle, and redistribute, your old and unwanted outdoor gear to those people in society who are less fortunate.
Here at Chase The Rainbow we love things like this and we'll be digging out as much of our old kit as possible. If you have some stuff kicking around then why not donate it to a good cause; you'll feel good about it and so will the people who benefit from your generosity :)
You can read all about the project here:

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Consume less, live more. Plant more trees.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Review: Osprey Stratos 34

I've been using and recommending an Osprey Atmos 35 litre rucksack for quite a long time; and with very good reason - It's the best pack I have used for travelling, full-stop.
Osprey have now discontinued the Atmos in its 35 litre guise and so I contacted them last year to discuss an up to date alternative. The Stratos 34 looked to fit the bill nicely.
To be honest it is virtually identical to the Atmos, which is a good start. 
If I am to replace my trusted Atmos it will need to be good.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Operation Factory Reset.

Four years ago, during Yak Attack 2013 in Nepal, I dislocated my shoulder in spectacular fashion.
A mere 5km out, on Stage Six from Chame to Manang, I was hammering down one of the few descents and took the inside line on a fast bend, as I exited the corner three trekkers were walking side by side and I had to sweep wide to avoid them. Unfortunately a large, and unavoidable, branch lay in my path, the rest is a blur. I clattered through the branch, hit the vertical wall on the right-hand side and then hit the deck. I was pretty messed up with cuts & abrasions, and my right arm was sat neatly in my armpit.
To cut a long story short I had to abandon racing and eventually relocate my dislocated limb back into its socket by my own devises. It was as painful as you are now imaging it to be.
Since then I have been putting up with the side effects - mostly due to travel and racing plans. Late last year I decided that it was time to get it sorted out and went through the process of getting it scanned and evaluated for surgery.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The green light.

"No Gain Without Pain" it says near the top of Cramp Hill; the final, brutal, climb into Haputale at the end of "Rumble in the Jungle" Stage One. I doubt whoever painted it knew that it would eventually greet a plethora of international mountainbikers in the last throes of the pain train during their baptism of fire on the lush island of Sri Lanka.
It is also relevant to me this very week. My long awaited operation to repair my previously dislocated shoulder has the go ahead and I undergo keyhole surgery on Thursday afternoon. I'm looking forward to regaining normal mobility, but I can't say that I'm especially looking forward to three months of post-op recovery, or the immediate post-op discomfort come to think of it.
No Gain Without Pain. 

Talking, as we were, of Sri Lanka, I have written a two-part blog for the Daring Deeds section of Alpkit's website. If you fancy reading about my Asian adventure you can do so using the links below:

Talking, as we were, of Alpkit/Sri Lanka, I got an email from AlpCol recently, asking me if I would consider doing a talk in The Yurt at their end of season outdoor festival The Big Shakeout.
It's sold out now so if you're are fortunate enough to have secured a weekend ticket you will be able to listen in on my adventures.
I'm finding the thought of talking adventure to a big tent full of adventurers a bit scary. Fortunately I can talk the back legs of a donkey, so once I get over the initial stage-fright I think I should be OK.  If not then my potential public-speaking career will be over on the night it begins. Thankfully The Yurt only holds about sixty people so my humiliation could remain well contained... ahh... they film the talks and put them on YouTube. Oops. Potential global humiliation then... Ho-hum.

Given that I may have some time on my hands for a couple of weeks I'm going to attempt to finish off one or two pending posts and reviews, and also refresh and update one or two other bits of the blog that have been niggling at my tiny brain.
I'm sure that you are now struggling to contain your excitement. Watch this space :D

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Thank you for looking, see you soon.
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Consume less, live more. Plant more trees.