Welcome to the 'Challenge Hursty' Blog!

The Adventures so far!

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Abersoch RNLI Cycle Sportive ~ Done! 1 hour 57 mins

I took part in the inaugural Abersoch RNLI Cycle Sportive on Sunday... The RNLI produced a press release about it all which I thought I'd reproduce below…

It was a great day out cycling 28 miles around quiet country lanes and I can thoroughly recommend it for next year! It's given me a thought for 2016 ;-)

Rescued man takes to the saddle to support Abersoch RNLI          

Lifeboats News Release
  • Date:
  • Author: Chris Cousens
A man who said he owes Abersoch RNLI an ‘enormous debt of gratitude’ after being rescued at sea has completed a cycle challenge to raise money for the station’s lifeboat volunteers.

Dave Hursthouse after completing the first ever Abersoch RNLI sportive.Dave Hursthouse was among those who got into the saddle on Sunday (4 October) for the first Abersoch RNLI Sportive.

The event saw cyclists complete one of a number of picturesque routes on the roads in and around Abersoch – with all money going towards helping the RNLI charity save lives at sea.
It is the latest in a long line of fundraising feats completed by Dave, who was rescued by Abersoch RNLI after a serious sailing accident in 2007. He was struck in the face by the yacht’s boom and knocked overboard, breaking his nose and leaving him concussed and struggling in the sea.
Abersoch RNLI lifeboat volunteers raced to his aid and rescued him out of the water.

Dave, who lives in Sandbach, Cheshire, and is also a member of the RNLI’s Crewe, Nantwich and South Cheshire Fundraising Branch, has already completed a Three Peaks By Bike challenge, the Great North Run, the Great Salford Swim, the Tenby Long Course Weekend triathlon, the Way of the Roses coast to coast cycle route and a Scottish coast-to-coast canoe, bike & hike trek in aid of the charity. He jumped at the chance to support a new fundraiser for the very lifeboat crew which rescued him eight years ago.
‘I have always felt I owe a huge debt of gratitude to those guys at Abersoch RNLI,’ he said.
‘I needed help after what happened to me and the volunteer crew at Abersoch RNLI got to me in no time with exactly what I needed.’

The sun shone for the maiden event on Sunday, which saw riders start and finish at The Vaynol in the centre of Abersoch village and  take on one of two cycling routes – one 28 miles and one nine-and-a-half miles long. 

Dave took on the longer route, which included a climb of 2,200 feet, and completed the course in 1 hour 57 minutes.
‘It was shorter than some sportives, but it certainly was a challenge with the climbs,’ he added.
‘It was a fantastic day, the weather was beautiful and the scenery along the route was breath-taking. I can’t recommend it highly enough and I can see it becoming a really successful event in the future.’

The event raised over £1,000 for the RNLI charity.

Abersoch RNLI Chairman Phill Brown said:  ‘I am really pleased that we did so well today and am
pleased with the foundations that we have laid for future events.’

Notes to editors:

The attached picture shows Dave Hursthouse after completing the first ever Abersoch RNLI sportive.

For more infornation please contact Chris Cousens, RNLI Press Officer, on 01745 585162 or 07748 265496 or by email on Chris_Cousens@rnli.org.uk.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Manchester 100mile Sportive ~ Done! ~ 6hours 11mins

Having been debating whether to enter this or the Nantwich Sprint Triathlon which clashed on the same day, I opted to do the Manchester 100 when I found out a few friends from work and the Sandbach Cycling club were also doing it. I entered the week before but had been keeping the training up since the Long Course Weekend earlier this year so felt good :-). We set off as a group at 7am from Wythenshawe park in Manchester with Dave (who I've previously done #3PeaksbyBike & #BikesBoatsBoots with) & Brendan from EGL and their friend Andy, Paul from Findel and Steph from Sandbach Cycling Club in glorious Indian Summer weather (if a tad chilly initially).
The route took us out through Knutsford and quickly onto the regular Cheshire lanes I now cycle frequently with the Sandbach Cycling Club... Home Ground! The route signage was good as too were the Marshall's but the pit stops left a bit to be desired! A 20minute queue for the one loo at Norley where we made our first stop and had to pay for water!? A recurring theme on the drinks at every stop!

We cycled on around Beeston Castle and through Nantwich were the route combined with the Triathlon cycle route which was also in progress and it took a bit of concentration to ensure we stayed on
the right route (many didn't!).

On through to Winsford where we stopped for another 20mins or so to attend to a mechanical on Dave's bike and then continued through Church Minshull to Middlewich (a stone's throw from where I live but 25 miles from the finish line!). Continued on through the again familiar lanes of Mobberley and Wilmslow and on the home stretch through the outskirts of Stockport and Manchester to the Finish Line.

A good group photo at the finish line meeting up with Pete from work too which was great!

All in all a good ride on a great route let down a lot by the pit stops... At the very least I'd expect free water if not some top up sustenance of cereal bars and bananas!? A finishers medal would have been a nice touch too!?

Here are the stats from Strava...

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Long Course Weekend, Tenby, Wales ~ 3rd to 5th July 2015

The Long Course Weekend is something I’d been thinking about doing for some time now. It’s an Iron man distance event of 2.4mile sea swim, 112mile bike ride and a 26.2mile marathon run but run over a long weekend rather than back to back as in the full Ironman. It has the same cut off times for each of the disciplines and I thought this would be a good tester to gauge the feasibility of an Ironman which for some time has felt like unfinished business for me!

Centred in Tenby in South Wales it runs over the Welsh Ironman course and takes in the stunning Pembrokeshire coast and National Park. Running alongside the Long Course Weekend are the separate events of The Wales Swim, The Wales Sportive and The Wales Marathon, Half marathon & 10k… involving over 6,000 athletes in total, 650 of which were doing the full long Course Weekend like myself.

Friday 3rd July
The swim kicked off at 7pm on the Friday evening. Two laps of a 1.2mile circuit in Tenby bay with an ‘Australian Exit’ between the laps involving a run up the beach around ‘Goscar Rock’, over some timing mats and back in for the second lap. The swim start itself was brutal! A mass beach start of 1,800 swimmers!? The first half mile was shoulder to shoulder, nose to tail swimming in a froth of water. It took some deep breaths and calm thoughts to settle in to but once around the first marker buoy at 0.5miles (which was like getting pushed around a fairground ‘hook a duck’ attraction) thinned out to a more manageable and comfortable swim. I never had any doubts about being able to swim the distance but was anxious about the cut off times of 1 hour for each circuit and 2 hours for the total swim, even though I’ve previously swam mile events in a comfortable 35 to 40 mins… I exited my first lap and noted a time of 52mins on my Garmin watch which indicated a comfortable second lap.
The second lap seemed to go much without incident. It was difficult to gauge the time without really being able to see my watch but felt ok. As I approached the beach for the finish though and caught snips from the event P.A. system and could hear shouts of ‘come on’ and then a countdown as I neared the beach!? Surely not!? As I scrambled out of the sea in a bit of confusion & bewilderment the countdown was counting down 5, 4, 3, 2… 1 ??? I ran up the beach, across the line, stopped my Garmin ~ 2hours and 20 seconds!? How on Earth!? I was gutted! Having covered the distance it seemed I’d missed the cut off ending the chances of the LCW medal even though I could continue and do the other events… It was an evening of very mixed emotions but I tried to console myself that I’d still done the distance… In fact by my Garmin I’d covered 2.78miles even though I thought I’d swam a pretty good line…
We forced down something to eat that evening (with my good friend Dominic who was also doing the event) and got an early night for the 7am Bike start the following morning.

Saturday 4th July
Arrived at the Bike start course having not had time to grab any breakfast but stacked up with energy gels and bars. The disappointment from the previous evening had waned some and we were both looking forward to the start (with my start time 15mins ahead of Dom’s).
I’m now very comfortable on the bike, getting out with the ‘Sandbach Sunday Cyclists’ most Sunday’s for regular 50+mile rides and cycling to work once a week (40miles), so soon settled in to my own comfortable rhythm and was pleased to find my hill climbing good, passing quite a number of folk on route.
The route took us out from Tenby, cycling West along the coast through Penally and Manorbier, through Pembroke and out to Angle before heading back to Pembroke, through Lamphey and a long, steep hill climb into Narberth and then back down to Saundersfoot to return to Tenby… A 70mile first lap and then a repeat partial loop of 42miles through Lamphey and Narberth again to make up the total 112mile distance.
There were plenty of opportunities to chat to fellow riders along the way which helped the miles pass… A conversation with a guy called Stuart from Harrogate at around the 20mile mark though made my day! It was him that passed on the news that the swim cut off times had been extended by ten minutes due to the course being inadvertently set out at 2.8miles rather than 2.4miles (meaning that the second lap was also out against the tide). It was amazing the energy that news put back in my legs!
Even stopping at most if not all of the ‘pit stops’ including taking a ‘bacon butty’ stop at the 100mile mark when energy gels, bananas and cereal bars were no longer enough! I made a fairly respectable time of 8hours 12mins with an average moving speed of 14.5mph. All in all a really good ride. Not an Earth shattering time but comfortably within the cut off times and leaving something in my legs for the following day’s marathon run. Unfortunately Dom had a mechanical which explained why he didn’t pass me on route (but he too still finished within the cut off).

Sunday 5th July
A 10.00am start in Tenby town centre for the discipline we’d least been looking forward to… The Marathon.
Dom and I had decided to start together, run a fairly steady pace of around 10minute miles with thoughts of dramatic finish times set-aside and look to get around as best we could! The strategy seemed to pay off well. A mile looping around town and a descent out of Tenby and then a 2 mile climb up a 16% hill to Penally in a shower of rain that turned into a full blown downpour! Actually this kept us relatively cool and fresh on the run out through Freshwater East to Pembroke. More runners joined us at the halfway mark to run the Half marathon back to Tenby and similar for the final 10km so the atmosphere on the return into Tenby in improving weather was pretty good! The last couple of miles back up to Penally were very tough involving our first bit of walking! The steep descent down from Penally to Tenby not as good as we thought with the pressure on tired shins on every step. The Compression sleeve leggings that had been given to all LCW eventers at registration really paid off though and despite not looking great, worked amazingly well! I won’t do distance runs again without them!
The atmosphere as we returned into Tenby was euphoric! Truly overwhelming! Tenby clearly loves Triathlon with even the local mayor greeting every finisher with a handshake! A finish time of 4hours 46mins. Nothing to set the world alight but again well within the cut-off time giving me a total LCW time a smidge under 15hours at a very respectable 14hours 59mins and 06seconds!

We had time for a couple of well-earned beers and a pasty (rehydration and nutritional choice of elite athletes!) before the Long Course Weekend medal ceremony at 4.30 that afternoon… The ceremony itself was like the celebrities coming out of the jungle! Full of pyrotechnics, streamers and pumping muzak! Fantastic!!! All in all a superb event in a stunning area of Britain! And for anyone wondering… A full Ironman is definitely not off the cards… Watch this space! ;-)


Tuesday, 9 June 2015

#BikesBoatsBoots for the RNLI ~ 4th to 8th June 2015 ~ £5,176 raised for the RNLI!

The #BikesBoatsBoots Trek was once again inspired by a chat at the coffee machine between myself and my now good friend Dave McDonald as to how we could beat last year's #3PeaksbyBike trip and we came up with the plans for a 190 mile coast to coast adventure trek across Scotland... Cycling from Oban to Fort William, Hiring canoes and canoeing along the Caledonian Canal and through Loch Lochy, Loch Oich and Loch Ness, climbing the Loch Lochy Munro’s of ‘Sron a Choire Ghairbh’ and ‘Meall na Teanga’ on route to Inverness, cycling back from Inverness to Fort William & finishing off with a climb of Ben Nevis... Joined again by Paul Cunningham and this time also accompanied by Stu Thompson who with the most canoeing experience would look after us in the boats (something the rest of us had to take some basic training for including rescue skills).

The plan was to start at Oban Lifeboat station, visit Loch Ness Lifeboat station at the top of Loch Ness and also call by the Kessock lifeboat station in Inverness. The trip was going to be very weather dependant but unfortunately we didn't envisage it conspiring against us so much!
Thu 4th June, Day 1 ~ Went well with an amazing and very humbling reception at Oban Lifeboat Station to start us off where 6 of the crew made time to have a coffee, chat & photo's with us before we set off on our 50mile bike ride to Fort William.

From there we picked up the canoes and paddled onwards for
another 14 miles to wild camp overnight on the banks of Loch Lochy which made for a total of 13hours of Trekking.
Fri 5th June, Day 2 ~ We set off at 8.00am from our overnight camp up through the woods to climb the Munro's with a very steep scramble before getting caught in a storm and 'white out' after 1.5 hours that we had to take shelter from for 40 mins. After much deliberation we decided to turn back at that point as further storms drew in...
This delayed the canoeing for an hour because of the rough water before carrying on and finally getting to the banks of Loch Ness after a total of 15 hours to make camp for the night at 11pm!

Saturday 6th June, Day 3, Saturday was a write off :-(. 50mph winds on Loch Ness brought up 2m high waves, much too big for our laden canoes. A huge disappointment but the wise and safe choice advised by Loch Ness RNLI team who told us afterwards they were quite relieved at our decision...

Sunday 7th June, Day 4 ~ With winds still against us and to claw back some of the distance we were aiming for we decided to pull the canoes out and amended our plans to cycle 20miles up the Loch from Fort Augustus to Loch Ness RNLI at Dromnadrochit rather than canoe up to say hello to the crew (and reluctantly skip the final 10 miles from there to Inverness). We received another overwhelming reception by the Loch Ness crew and then had the return cycle back to Fort William seeing us cover just over 75miles that day on the bikes.

Monday 8th June, Day 5 ~ And another early start for a 5 hour climb of Ben Nevis with the last mile to the summit in snow!? In June!? Altogether it was about 8'deep at the summit with many of the usual landmarks buried deeply with only the storm shelter and Trig point visible!

We didn’t make the full 190miles due to having to sit out the full day on the Saturday but it was still an amazing and exhausting few days meeting some 'ordinary people doing extraordinary things for the RNLI' and a lot of other lovely folk on route too!

 Here are some of the stats from our Trek...
~ 170miles covered
~ 33hours 47mins on the move over the 3.5 days we could make progress
~ 7,542 calories burned
~ 3,986m elevation climbed
~ £5,166 raised in donations from our trek for the RNLI

Sunday, 5 April 2015

2015 Pwllheli Sprint Triathlon ~ 1:26:45

My third outing at the Pwllheli Sprint Triathlon and as on previous occasions and against the weather forecasts, the sun shone brightly on the day! 
This time I was joined by my wife Karen (swim), Sister-in-law Bev (bike) and brother Kev (run) as ‘Team Hursty’ and my nephew Kieran bravely tackling his first Triathlon…
With my daughters Zoe & Lucie cheering from the side lines it turned into a real family affair!

Really pleased with my times and splits which at 1:26:45 were my best so far at this event  J

The pool swim at 9mins 50 was better than expected with no real hold ups. T1 transition fairly smooth. A really good bike ride of 44mins 37 secs averaging 17.5mph over the course which includes the steep climb out of Pwllheli and another smooth T2 into the run where I soon regained my legs and got into a good stride to do a fairly respectable 27mins 20secs.

The best part as always was the well-deserved post event beer in the sun on the terrace of Pwllheli Sailing club!  J