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This weekend I run the longest race I have ever entered.

The Endurancelife   #UTSW  100 miles clockwise round the Cornish coastal path from Porthleven to Watergate Bay in a 40 hour time limit.

I have run some tough Ultra marathons over the years. 125km over the Rockies in Canada at altitude was a challenge. A 1/2 Marathon in snowshoes at -42degrees where my eyeballs froze was also a test.

In preparation I have been running an Ultra of between 35 to 60 miles every month this year, but tomorrow will be the furthest I have tried to run and possibly the hardest I have tried to push myself.

Can I do it? I honestly don't know. I'd like to think that I have learnt to ignore the nagging inner voice that encourages you to quit, but I guess I won't know until I cross the finish line. The weather is going to be bad all weekend, but I like it like that.

There is a saying in ultra running.

"You live an entire lifetime in the course of a single race, all the joy, pain tedium and wonder etched into a single day. Step by step, mile by mile, we keep running through the darkness until we eventually come out the other side at dawn"

It's been quite a journey to get me to this point, and however the weekend goes, I know it will just be the start of the next journey.

I will try to get some pictures onto the howies instagram (@howiesclothing)

Riding a bike should be easy

  • Posted by alex
  • 3 May 2012

Isn’t that what we are told? You learn when you are small and, like an elephant, you never forget. What an amazing deal. Once mastered, you have a gift that lasts a lifetime, and even if you part ways for a period of time it waits patiently for you to return. Once bought, it is the gift that keeps giving – health, entertainment, and convenience. So why isn’t everyone riding a bike? Shouldn’t the streets in every village, town and city hum with the sound of rubber passing over tarmac? You only have to observe parts of cities like London, Bristol, and Cambridge at rush hour to see the potential. Hybrids, racers, fixies, bmx, mountain bikes, single speeds, choppers, Dutch bikes, and cruisers all spinning to and fro.

While cycling numbers have increased by around 20% across Britain over the last decade, we lag behind other European countries. The number of cyclists killed or injured sits around 27,000 for that period. This figure is unacceptable and concerns over safety are the main reason many bikes sit unloved in garden sheds up and down the country. This is a terrible shame since cycling represents the elixir to many of our problems. Regular riding can significantly improve fitness levels (goodbye beer belly) and increase life expectancy (hello happy retirement). By swapping an eight mile round trip commute from car to bike, you save 0.5 tonnes of carbon per year – that’s the equivalent of a short haul flight.

It stands to reason that if we want a country that is synonymous with cycling you need to ensure that it is safe. As a result of much hard work by sustainable transport charities and cycling campaign groups we have seen significant progress. Most recently, the Cycle Safe campaign from The Times – coupled with February’s Parliamentary cycling debate - has helped raise the profile of cycle safety. There is much that can be done to improve junctions, slow speeds in neighbourhoods, and provide better road user training. However, this all requires investment – even a small percentage of the road budget could make a huge difference across the country.

Ultimately, the goal is to get people – young, old, male, female – on bikes for their everyday journeys to places like school, work, and the shops. However, currently around 66% of journeys (two miles or less) are completed in a car. While the number of accidents involving cyclists are a concern, the perceived danger can sometimes outweigh the actual risks. It is important to emphasise that cycling is still a fun, exhilarating, and egalitarian means of getting around. You hear of schools not letting kid’s cycle and adults looking on in horror as you ride past on the way to work. It is important to remember that it’s cycling, not war. Going forward, we need more people on bikes and (much) improved cycle infrastructure to ensure that the fun isn’t taken out of cycling.

Words: Ben Addy

Getting out the door

  • Posted by howies
  • 12 April 2012

Exercise makes me happy. If I run a couple of times a week I think clearer, I sleep sounder, I eat better, I work more productively. I am happier. And yet, I can go for months without going for a single run. What's with that?

It took a chance meeting with Olympic athlete Steve Cram to tell me what the problem is. It's the front door. It's there, and its shut. He told me, "it doesn't matter if you're a professional athlete or training for your first fun run, the hardest part is motivating yourself to get going. If you can pull your trainers on and get out the door, everything else is easy."

The good news is he also told me how to open the door. Its a 2 step process:

1. Set yourself a goal.
Enter a run / bike ride / triathlon / adventure race / bog snorkel.
Nothing too hard, just something you couldn't do today.

2. Tell EVERYONE.
Parents, children, postman, neighbours, doctor, God, Twitter followers,
ticket collectors etc. There's no turning back now.

It works. For example, I haven't been swimming for 5 years. Then yesterday I entered a 1.5 mile swim to the Isle of Wight. I now have exactly 94 days until I walk down the shingle beach and into the waters of the Solent. So today I found my old trunks at the back of my drawer and tomorrow morning I'll be in the local swimming pool.

David came to howies to show us a website he built with a couple of friends to help people with the difficult Step 1.

You can guess what it does. It gets you out the door.

Words: David Wearn

www.findarace.com

Challenge yourself to something new and when you've found a race, let us know where you're racing on facebook, or tweet us with the hashtag #foundarace. You might even find a friend or two to get out the door with you.

One man’s junk

  • Posted by howies
  • 4 October 2011

Recycled Cotton
If you were to go into a clothing factory and have a look around, you’d see the huge amount of wastage that occurs during the manufacture of clothing for all those brands out there.

There’s tonnes of the stuff – cotton off-cuts and scraps all over the factory floor. And you can probably hazard a guess as to what most of them do with it too... that’s right, they bin it and send it all to a landfill site. Good cotton going to waste for no reason.

We wondered what could be done with that old junk material. We figured we should try to make something new with it. So we worked with the factory to fix this.

Now we are able to take all the cotton waste from those other brands and we recycle it. Those scraps are mulched into something that resembles cotton wool, ready for re-spinning into a new recycled cotton yarn, which can be made into new garments.

And interestingly, because it’s a mix of all different grades of cotton, it gives our recycled cotton pieces an irregular and washed out look and a really cosy soft hand feel.

The irony is that most of the companies who are throwing their old cotton away actually have to use harsh chemicals and processes to achieve that look. All we do is sweep up and use what they throw away.

Categories:

The Best Seat In The House Isn’t Always In The House

111-Best-Seat-In-The-House
Colour so rich you can almost smell it.
Detail unmatched by any screen on Earth.
It’s like you can actually feel the wind prickle the sweat on your brow, 
as you plunge into the shade beneath the trees.
Because you can.
Real breeze.
Real sweat.
Real shade.
Real trees.
It’s a High Definition, Surround Sound experience like no other.
There’s only one thing better than a 3D IMAX Technicolor sunrise.
A real sunrise.
Ladies and gentlemen, take your seats.
The show is about to begin.

Mike Reed

Illustration: Jenny Bowers

This one

  • Posted by howies
  • 1 April 2011

Save the Velodrome

  • Posted by howies
  • 1 December 2010

Save The Velodrome
Time is ticking for the oldest cycling circuit in the country.

South London’s Herne Hill Velodrome is in danger of closing for good.

Quickly deteriorating, and suffering a lack of funding, the track and surrounding mtb trails are used by hundreds of children.

Olympic gold medallist Bradley Wiggins started his track career  there aged 10. Now future champions race and train helped by a team of devoted coaches and volunteers. A campaign - Save The Velodrome - has been formed by a community based alliance of local residents and the cycling community. Keeping it going will require funding - both corporate and private, as well as ongoing voluntary support.

Perhaps fuelled by a tough economy, and a wider interest in health, cycling seems to be enjoying a resurgence at the moment though - and as more and more people realise the benefits of riding for both their hearts and pockets, this campaign seems to be perfectly timed. So to help keep this important venue alive, please visit savethevelodrome.com and register your support.

With thanks to Judith, Jason and Peter.

Winter Survival Kit

  • Posted by howies
  • 1 December 2010

Categories:

Winter Survival Kit

Winter-Survival-Kit
Lots of tea.

Cosy blankets.

Homely soups.

Thick socks.

Chocolate.

Plenty of dry logs.

Matches.

Some good books.

The knowledge that no winter can last forever.


Illustration: David sparshott

Frawley’s Bar

  • Posted by howies
  • 1 September 2010

Categories:

Frawley’s Bar

Frawley's Bar
Tom Frawley was born here in 1914. He has been pulling pints where he had always lived – for 86 years. Think about that for a moment. He and his bar are still points in the flow of time.

Ireland has changed a lot in the last couple of decades. The Celtic tiger hadn’t begun to roar when I first set foot in Tom’s bar fifteen years ago. All of a sudden, something happened. The economic boom that resulted had changed Ireland forever. Now that beast had been licking its wounds quietly in the shade of a recession. I had been wondering whether Tom and his bar would still be there.

It’s a simple, quiet place. It feels more like an old fashioned living room than a pub as most of us know them. Behind the red Formica counter where he sits there’s a flotsam of objects that local people might have to pick up after the shops have closed. You can get disposable razors, packets of salt and firelighters. Brown sauce and custard powder sit next to the usual assemblage of bottles stacked at room temperature.

There is of course a solitary tap for the Guinness. The smell of boiling potatoes and cabbage filters in from the room next door.

Tom’s a bit of a local hero these days. There have been appearances on chat shows. Local journos come and talk to him about the old days. He’ll answer your questions in clipped, simple sentences. Historians come in and ask about his old neighbours. Away-with-the-fairies locals who have been coming here years shoot the breeze. He remembers serving his first surfer, an Australian, in 1965.

Have a drink with Tom when your system has been doubled up on endorphins – your brain chemistry shifting and bubbling from the surf, your limbs calmly quieted. Stoked. On a good day the waves at Lahinch Lefts will do that to you.

The tilt of the planet into the 21st century had come and gone and Tom was still in his place, holding court, slowing things down just so.

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