Last Day of Summer

  • Posted by ade
  • 21 September 2012

It rained but we still rode our bikes.
It rained but we still ran new trails.
It rained but we still swam open water.
It rained but the days were still long.
It rained but we still had summer holidays.
It rained but we still went to the beach.
It rained but we still wore shorts.

It rained but it was still a great summer.

Summer. Ends Saturday.

  • Posted by ade
  • 17 September 2012
Cook outside on a fire. Even just a tin of beans heated over a blaze in the garden will feel like an adventure.

Every shop is showing their latest Autumn ranges, howies included. We are all talking about the Autumnal weather (there are even chocolate Santas for sale in the supermarket). It's like we're willing summer to be over already.

But until Saturday, it's still here, so you have five whole days and nights left to make the most of it.

You could:

1. Swim in the sea. It's probably the warmest it's going get this year, so get in.

2. Wear shorts or a skirt all week.

3. Sit in the sun on the grass and eat your lunch.

4. Cook outside on a fire. Even just a tin of beans heated over a blaze in the garden will feel like an adventure.

5. Go camping. Why have 5 star accommodation when you can have billions.

6. Run somewhere at sunrise or sunset (Late summer always has THE best light).

7. Leave work early to ride the long way home with no lights on (pretty soon you won't be able to ride home without them).

8. Get to a forest before the leaves fall. The trails will be great.

We hope that gives you a few ideas. Do something everyday to push back autumn and let us know what adventures you have.

#lastdaysofsummer

Me vs Me

  • Posted by alex
  • 23 August 2012

Me versus darker mornings
Me versus my duvet
Me versus damp running shorts (forgot to put the dryer on)
Me versus the front door
Me versus the slanting rain
Me versus those mulchy leaves (the jogger's nemesis)
Me versus cowpats
Me versus that man on a bike
Me versus the ruts in the farm track
Me versus the barbed wire fence
Me versus the hill back into the village
Me versus my PB
Me versus all of you
And I'm home

By Dan Germain

A new summit

  • Posted by ruben
  • 24 July 2012
The format is simple, you run to the top of Snowdon then straight back down to the finish. Since the first 86 competed at the inaugural race, the event has grown to over 600 runners today.

"Running takes you places." This is my first thought as I slap my hand down on the trig point on top of the tallest mountain in Wales and glance out at the stunning views below me. The sight of the guy I've been chasing turning to vanish down the other side leads to my second thought. "Just a shame I don't get longer to enjoy them."

I'm half way through my first 'official' mountain race. In a moment I will be hurtling down the same route I just climbed to finish the race with a knee-pounding, tooth-loosening descent back into the small town of Llanberis. 5 miles away as the crow flies, and a vertical kilometre below my feet.

If I wasn't staring at the ground ahead, focusing on my footing and trying to catch the guy in front, I'd be able to see miles in every direction, including the faint outline for Cardigan Island a hundred miles to the south marking home (and howies.)

The Snowdon Race has been held every year since 1976 and is part of the Skyrunner World Series. The format is simple, you run to the top of Snowdon then straight back down to the finish. Since the first 86 competed at the inaugural race, the event has grown to over 600 runners today.

Despite this surge in popularity, the course record was last broken in 1985 when K Stuart ran to the top and back in 1 hour 2 minutes and 29 seconds. This stat passes through my mind as I turn and start the descent with the clock already passing 1 hour 10.

Still, even though I hadn't given the race leaders anything to worry about as they flew down the mountain at speeds I could barely believe and even though I had walked a few hundred meters of the steepest part of the climb, I had already decided this wouldn't be my last mountain race.

The elation I felt on reaching the top of mountain, and the sense of accomplishment that began to sink in as I descended was something I haven't felt before in running.

Not the same as the emotions that wash through during a long run, but something different. A new summit.

Friendship through adversity

  • Posted by howies
  • 7 March 2012
Twenty-five years ago, Bill and I rode rigid steel mountain bikes from Kashgar in China to Chitral in Pakistan. It was hard yakka all the way. Our friendship was young as we set off: we’d come together for the adventure.

I ride a bicycle for many reasons. Perhaps the most powerful reason at this stage of my life is to share the physical and emotional fellowship of riding with friends. Happily, all my best friends ride. I’m not saying that we can’t be friends if you don’t ride – that would be absurd – nor am I suggesting that I’m friends with everyone I’ve ever ridden with. It’s just that all my best friends do ride. That’s the way things have turned out.

When I reflect upon the friends I have now, though, I realise the link between cycling and friendship is more profound than I’d previously thought. I see there is a direct correlation between how close my friends and I are, and how many miles we’ve put in together. I’m not talking about commuting miles or Sunday morning miles. I’m talking about the hard miles, the miles where you’re hanging and sore and need help, the miles where you’re far from home, shit’s gone wrong and your mettle is being tested. These are the miles that really count. Adversity puts friendship on the line. When things go awry, we subconsciously confide in each other. This leaves a lasting bond.

Twenty-five years ago, Bill and I rode rigid steel mountain bikes from Kashgar in China to Chitral in Pakistan. It was hard yakka all the way. Our friendship was young as we set off: we’d come together for the adventure. When my cheap aluminium luggage rack fell apart deep in the Hindu Kush, Bill offered to strap one of my panniers to his back. I knew then our friendship had distance. When I got married a decade later, he was my best man.

I have as many examples of hard miles with folk I’ve subsequently come to trust as I have good friends, so when my Dad died suddenly last autumn, old riding buddies were the first people I called.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: ‘A man’s growth is seen in the successive choirs of his friends.’ I believe in this. It’s why I’m still riding the hard miles, and why I’m still making new friends. It’s why I’ve hooked up with Ade and Alex and the howies team to organise a ride across Wales at night, in March. When I’m lost in a dark forest with a broken chain somewhere between Cardigan and Abergavenny, when the night seems dead, when hope is fading and the right road is gone, then new friendships will be forged.

Rob Penn
www.bikecation.co.uk

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