Friday, June 29, 2012


About to take the plunge at Water Wipeout.

Water, water, everywhere... It's seems that way at the present here in not-so-sunny England! In more ways than one I've been exposed to a few deluges over the past week or so; some, I might add, were through my own choice. The X-Runner Water-Wipeout 10km Extreme Obstacle Race & Mud Run was one such choice; more of which later.
First up I've been swimming a couple of times. My first time back in the pool, since returning from Nepal, I managed a comfortable 110 lengths (2.75km) just to ease myself back in to the routine. I was pleased with this because I thought I might struggle a little. On my second trip I pushed on for a little longer and swam further than I've ever managed before; 140 lengths (3.5km) before I ran out of time due to the pool closing. Although I was pretty done in I felt like I had another 10 lengths in me and I might just have a go at it next time if I'm feeling energetic.

June the 21st, the longest day of the year, had two special events going on. Firstly it is my Mum's birthday; and this year is a very special one. She was celebrating her Seventieth birthday! Secondly Phil Evans, director of The Yak Attack mountain bike race, was to undertake an immense challenge for charity. He was looking to raise £720 for his local Shropshire Cat Rescue. His audacious plan was to cycle up and down a famous Shropshire hill, The Wrekin, 36 times in 24 hours. This is the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest (Up and down), hence the name of his challenge "Everest in a day". That's 9000m of ascent and 9000m of descent!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sleepless in the Saddle.

Sleepless in the Saddle.

My mate Mitchell Bryan and I have just entered this years Sleepless in the Saddle event at Catton Park, Derbyshire on August 4th & 5th 2012.
We are having a go at the 24 hour solo race which could prove quite challenging!
It looks like a lot of fun (apart from the pedalling for 24 hours bit!) and we are very excited about taking part in it.
Spectators are welcome, so if anyone fancies popping along to cheer us on feel free to come and give us some support (or abuse if you like!). We are looking for one or two very nice people to join us in a support team, if any of you lovely readers or friends are available and would like to stay awake for 24 hours to pass us food & drinks etc.

I think I had better increase my training again!
Wish us luck :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Bikes, Boats, and Boogie. An introduction to The Netherlands.

(Wooden) Tulips from Amsterdam!  
Recently, at the behest of my good friend Wilco Voulon, I headed off the The Netherlands for a long weekend.
Strangely, considering it is one of our nearest neighbours, it was to be my first trip there.
It's not that it wasn't on my list of places to visit but because I had never really gotten around to it.
During our recent trip to Nepal Wilco had invited me to visit them during the weekend of The Fusion of Dance festival, held in his home town of Zwolle; about an hour or so east of Amsterdam.
So I took up his kind invitation and arranged a flight with BMI Baby from East Midlands Airport (Nottingham-EMA) to Schiphol (Amsterdam). Originally I had planned to fly on the Saturday morning and return on Monday morning. Luckily for me BMI had to cancel the Saturday flight and I was offered alternative routes. I decided to take advantage of this and rearranged my flights, free of any charges, so that I could fly on Friday morning and return on Monday night; thus giving me an extended visit.
As usual I breezed through the security checks in a few minutes. That's the advantage of only having carry-on luggage (my trusty Osprey Atmos 35) and the now simple & efficient option of on-line check-in. Also East Midlands is a small provincial airport and passenger traffic tends to be fairly light.
A pleasant 7.05am flight landed me at Schiphol at 09.05am (with the one hour time difference) and I had a long walk through the airport. This surprised me for some reason as I was, kind of, expecting it to be small like EMA. I don't why I had this notion in my head because Amsterdam is a major international hub and a big airport!
Everything was well signed and I found the ticket desk for the trains very easily. Purchasing my ticket for Zwolle via Amsterdam was equally simple and the clerk printed me off an intinerary of train times that I could use, including transfers and platform numbers. Excellent really. Travelling in Europe is very easy these days with the excellent transport networks, English tends to be widely spoken in most facilities, and the Euro makes for an easy transition from the Pound.
I jumped on the next available train a few minutes later and was deposited promptly at Amsterdam Centraal station in no time at all.
What a cool place! I loved Amsterdam and The Netherlands from the moment I stepped off the train.