Welcome to the 'Challenge Hursty' Blog!

The Adventures so far!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The Way Of The Roses ~ RNLI Coast to Coast cycle challenge (£1,872 raised for the RNLI)

Friday 24th August 2012 ~ Morcambe to Grassington

An early morning cycle to Crewe train station to catch the train via Lancaster to Morecambe enabled Dom and I to start the route about 10.00am on a sunny Friday morning after the obligatory picture with Eric Morecambe (I'm the one with the short fat hairy legs to his left!) and a quick shirt change to save my RNLI logo shirt for the final day and we were off!
We packed light and carried everything we needed for the stay with us.
The route out of Morecambe was along a tarmac path on a disused railway line but as soon as we got to Lancaster it was on to the proper roads and immediately into the hill climbs! A lovely route round Aughton, Hornby, Wray to Clapham where unfortunately we took a wrong turn and an unplanned 5mile detour over a hill and down the other side almost reaching Ingleton before we realised our mistake... Oops!
Returned to Clapham (I never thought it would happen ;-) and a pit stop to re-fuel. The route signage wasn't clear and we ended up spending a long time trying to find the right route through Austwick around Wharfe to Settle but ended up back on the main road and so conceded and took the B6480 into Settle which was busy and VERY hairy!
By the time we got to Settle for a late lunch we were knackered and had cycled 45miles instead of the planned 35!
Settle is very picturesque and we had a great lunch at the 'Naked Man' cafe before tackling the steep 375m climb out of Settle towards Kirkby Malham. Very pleased to say we cycled all the way, albeit with a few breath catching stops (the plains of Cheshire are not really good training for these sorts of hill climbs!)
Spectacular views from the top of the hill back down towards Settle 'almost' made it worthwhile ;-)
On the home run from Cracoe we missed the turn off the route to our digs for the night at Threshfield and I ended up paying for it with a front wheel puncture after hitting a pothole! The spare inner tube used, we got to The Old Hall Inn for a fabulous evening stopover!
The map below from my Garmin GPS shows our full route (and the extent of our detour!) and this link should give the full details for those interested ~ http://connect.garmin.com/activity/215676081 
All in all a great start to our coast to coast cycle!
Saturday 25th August 2012 ~ Grassington to Dunnington (York)
 After a full English breakfast at the Old Hall Inn in Threshfield we set off in a light drizzle via Grassington to pick up the route again in Burnsall and climb through thickening hill mist/low cloud (down to less than 100m visibility) up to the highest point of the route at Greenhow (402m). A shame really as the views would undoubtedly have been stunning but for the thick fog!
The descent in the rain into Pateley Bridge was a white knuckle ride down 20% hills with hairpin bends and rutted roads... Glad to get that over safely!
The rain stopped and from there we climbed again running past Brimham Rocks with their unbelievable stacked rock formations!
Onwards through the beautiful grounds of Fountains Abbey complete with Main Hall, it's own church, lake and deer grounds.
Lunch Saturday was in Ripon in a coffee shop in the main square and a well earned rest with the last of the major climbs behind us :-)
The Cathederal in Ripon was again a work of Art!
From Ripon we travelled mostly on single track roads barely seeing a car for miles through Boroughbridge, Dunsforth (along some very muddy lanes). Just after Linton-on-Ouse the heavens opened and we got a thorough drenching!
The rain stopped (leaving us soaked) as we headed in to York along a couple of miles of tarmac towpath along the River Ouse itself.
The route popped us up right in the middle of York city centre barely touching a road en-route!
I'd forgotten how impressive York Minster is! How did they build such things!?
Our Saturday night stop over after our 66mile ride for the day was at a small but homely B&B East of York in Kexby near Dunnigton. The owner was good enough to run us to the local pub for dinner after we'd showered both us and the mud off the bikes! Another great day cycling!
The map here from my Garmin GPS shows our full route and this link should give the full details for those interested ~ http://connect.garmin.com/activity/215676116
Sunday 26th August 2012 ~ Dunnington to Bridlington

Third day saw us setting off on a bright day with patchy cloud on a predominantly flat run on quiet back lanes through Stamford Bridge and Pocklington.
The lane from Pocklington ran through a country park valley alongside a dried out river bed which was lovely. Midway along this lane we came across a herd of special breed cattle, one of whom had just given birth minutes earlier to a calf! The calf was still being cleaned by it's mother but already trying to stand on very wobbly feet.
A short hill climb through Huggate and then some blisteringly good roads where we were at last able to motor to reach Driffield in time for lunch having done 33 miles.
The last time I was in Driffield was about 25 years ago to record a couple of tracks with a band I used to play with at 'Lambs to the Slaughter' studios. Thinking about it, we're still waiting to hear back from them but I've not given up hope yet of getting signed up with a major record deal...
The final 20 miles to Bridlington were great knowing that we'd almost done.
More single track lanes around acres of flat fields around arable farm land and criss crossing the railway line via level crossings.
Two miles from Bridlington with the sea in sight Dom got a puncture... Unbelievable!
A short delay whilst we got it fixed and then a victory lap through the narrow streets of Bridlington Old Town (where we later went to celebrate :-).
We arrived at the finish line about 4.30pm having completed the route and covered 184miles in total!
A huge sense of achievement! :-)
The map below from my Garmin GPS shows our full route and this link should give the full details for those interested ~ http://connect.garmin.com/activity/215676135
All in all the Way of the Roses coast to coast route is fantastic and one I'd definitely recommend ~ http://www.wayoftheroses.co.uk/
 It's well sign posted and with the accompanying map an easy route to follow (apart from our detour to Ingleton on day one! ;-)
We met some great people en route including a few cyclists we kept bumping into along the way... A couple of German guys on road bikes who spoke better English than us! A couple of guys on Mountain bikes from Oldham and a group with a tour guide on mountain bikes. The group were great we got covered in mud together on one stretch of road between Ripon and York, but the guide was a bit pretentious and obviously felt he had something to prove. I hope his dashing off and leaving them to catch up didn't spoil it for them.
I can't thank everyone who supported me enough... But a special thanks to Dom who I had a great laugh along the way with... A true mate!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

2012 Liverpool Triathlon ~ Swam it, biked it, ran it, smashed it! ~ 2:53:00 ~ £120 raised for the Isaiah Trust

Had a great day at Liverpool Triathlon beating my previous best time for the Olympic distance by 14minutes and 34seconds, achieving my goal for this year of getting under 3 hours... Elated!

Had a trip down to Liverpool on the Saturday to register and a look around the course. The swim course at a 1500m single loop of the Kings Dock looked huge and quite an intimidating distance (even though I swim the distance regularly it's always in 750m loops).
Didn't get a great night sleep the night before feeling slightly wired but the adrenalin buzz paid off by keeping me going, along with the three SiS energy gels along the way! The Aero drinks bottle on the bike also helped!

The swim started in driving drizzle and quite a strong wind. It was cold before getting in but the water at 18'c was good.  

Over 200 people in the swim made for a very frantic, close to brutal swim. I had folk on both shoulders, in front and behind for the first 500m at least. Despite this I felt quite calm on the swim and knew the pace was good. Born out on the exit time of 32mins 34 secs for the 1500m... A new personal best!

Swim to bike transition (covering over 400m) was 4mins 6 secs.

Bike too felt great and another personal best! Four 10km loops along the waterfront managing to keep tucked in the Aero position the majority of the way (except for the slight hill climbs at either end of the loop), averaging 17.7mph over the 40km to finish in 1 hour 22mins :-)

Bike to run transition was 2mins 25sec and total time out of the transition was just over 2 hours leaving me just under an hour to complete the 10km run in order to get under the target 3 hours! I regularly run 10km well within that time but couldn't take anything for granted!

With legs like jelly I stumbled into the 10km run. The first mile felt awful but only took me 8mins 15seconds so I knew if I could just keep up that pace I'd be ok!

Battled shin splints (which I never get) and cramp in my right achilles to finish the 10km in a very satisfying time of 51mins 42sec!

Total time for the Tri was 2hours 53minutes exactly... Never felt so good!

Just as satisfying was raising another £120 for the much needed work of the Isaiah Trust! Thanks to everyone for all the support and well wishes... Hugely appreciated!!! :-)

Sunday, 10 June 2012

2012 Capesthorne Triathlon Team Relay ~ £650 raised for the RNLI

A great day and some superb performances pulled out of the bag by both of the teams we put in to the Capesthorn Triathlon to raise funds for the RNLI!
Nick and Jo went first in both teams in the swim in pretty awful
conditions, finishing with only 15 seconds between them!

Next up Kev and Lisa on the bikes on a 20km circuit around the grounds and local roads. As the boys had started in the wave before the girls it was impossible to tell who was in the lead at this point.

Kev handed over to myself for the run and then Lisa off the bike ran around with Marwa on one of her first runs over this distance. The cross country course wasn't easy and torrential rain for the previous few days made the going very heavy! My time for the 5km circuit was respectable at 25mins 13 secs.

 It was then a nail biting wait for Marwa and Lisa to cross the line and then to the finish computers to reveal the boys had just scraped a win from the girls... Not that we ever doubted it!? ;-)

A really good day and one of the most enjoyable Triathlons I've competed in.

Another circa £650 raised for the RNLI too! A huge thanks to all involved, particularly Lisa for taking the time and trouble to organise it and cajole everyone in to joining in!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

2012 Great Manchester 10km Run ~ Done! (Time ~ 49mins 25Secs)

Another excellent Great Manchester Run event and once again managed to get under my 50minute target but having done so was a little disappointed with the 49mins 25secs time as for the first half of the race I was well ahead of my splits last year when I did a PB of 46.36 and so thought I was going to finish considerably better. Time for the 6 mile mark was 47mins 11secs (a best for the year so far)... The difference this time was that without last years late stages of Marathon training I wasn't able to sustain the quick pace I started out at.

My overall position was 5167th out of circa 40,000 runners (445 in my age group) so not bad at all even if I do say so myself :-)

My eldest daughter did her first 10km to raise funds for her charity expedition to Madagascar next year and I was immensely proud of her grit and determination in finishing (after a few tears at circa 7km) in 1 hour 11mins. She also raised around £480 which is brilliant!

Karen did a very respectable 51mins flat which at only 20 secs slower than last year after her marathon training was excellent!

And the beers in town afterwards? Oh they never tasted so good!

Sunday, 1 April 2012

2012 Pwllheli Sprint Triathlon ~ 1 hour 28mins flat

A great day out at the Pwllheli Triathlon today but slightly disappointed with the overall time which was 49 seconds slower than my last outing here. Even more so as I coasted the run thinking due to my own timing error that I was going to finish in just over 1hour 24mins... Turns out I'd accidentally stopped my watch between swim and bike rather than get a lap time for T1 :-(

The 400m pool swim was completed in 10mins 19seconds which was far from my best.

T1 (Swim to bike) was fairly respectable at 2mins 7 seconds.

A lovely 20km bike route out of the leisure centre, around Pwllheli Marina and then a two mile steep hill climb out of Pwllheli back towards Caernarfon turning right at Four Crosses towards Chwilog and then dropping down hill to the A497 back to Pwllheli... 48mins 4secs

T2 (Bike to Run) was 1min 19 secs

Followed up with a reasonable 5km run around Pwllheli Marina in 26mins 12secs

The transitions were all quicker than last time but with the exception of the run my other disciplines slower. Perhaps the 14mile 'dry run' bike ride the day before (which turned into a race pace sprint for the last 8 miles) followed up with a couple of pints of San Miguel and burger and chips the night before weren't the best pre race preparations?! ;-)