Sunday, August 31, 2014

Cycle 4 Life

Today I do the Cycle 4 Life Bike Ride from Nottingham University, this is in aid of Children's Brain Tumour Research. There’s a reasonable entry and we are released in blocks of twenty from 9.30 onwards. The roads are very busy by then, clearly the garden centres are already open and it’s a bit of a trawl before we break out of the city boundaries.

The first excitement arrives when they take us through Shipley Park because either their signage is poor or someone has nicked all the signs. Everyone gets lost and there are huge groups of cyclists riding round in circles looking for the way out of the park.

Eventually we follow a group of people carrying their bikes up a bank and see a bit of yellow sign just visible through some bushes. Sorted.

After the feed station at Belper, where there are some nice snack biscuits, we’re onto quieter country roads and some fairly serious hills.

After missing one right turn and back tracking, the signage really isn’t great, I miss another one after the second feed station at Stanley where they have done us sandwiches for lunch. I’m in Kirk Hallam before I realise I’ve missed it and by now I’m on autopilot, on one of my regular routes home. So I keep going and rejoin the route further down in Wollaton Vale. That hacked about two miles off the route I reckon.

I complete the 50 miles in 3:13.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Islay Half Marathon

On the Saturday of our holiday I plod around the Islay Half Marathon which is hosted by the island’s capital Bowmore, home of the famous whisky, but the race is sponsored by Ardbeg, one of the rival distilleries on the island of which there are eight.

The race was tough on a fairly hilly course and it rained throughout. There are some pretty serious straights on the course and I swear that as you come up to one mile marker you can actually see the next in the distance. Perhaps, if your eyesight was better than mine, you’d be able to see the next one too.

I finish in a very pedestrian 1:54 and gagging for a post race pint. Unfortunately Belhaven Best on keg is the best they could offer. I did swear I would not have another one but I do and again it is awful. Much better at the race presentation is the free whiskey from Ardbeg. They give out loads of prizes including gallon bottles to the winners. Clearly they are keen to upstage the local Bowmore distillery but it’s all too late for us. We’re already sold on Bunnahabhain after an excellent sales pitch by their rep on the ferry over, as in free samples.