30 November 2014

Bakewell BDL

Being silly pre-race

Race reports are funny things, you (or rather I) need to get them written while they are fresh in your mind, hence there not being one for the Chaddesden Park cross country race earlier in the month which is a shame because it involved several very cold stream crossings and me taking a wrong turn.

Crossing the stream at Chaddesden Park

Today as you may have surmised from the blog title was the league xc race at Bakewell which is new to the schedule.  Bakewell, for those not familiar is a very picturesque market town that is famous for the Bakewell Pudding--we've driven through many times but because it is so incredibly popular with tourists we've not taken the time to actually stop so I could sample the dessert.  That was remedied today...as part of our warm-up a couple of us walked over to The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop so I could buy one for after the race.

Bakewell Pudding!

Wasn't I supposed to be talking about a race??? Today we were fortunate to have a beautifully sunny and dare I say it--almost balmy temperatures for the last day of November.  Didn't mean the course was any less muddy though! There were 3 laps which meant going up a big damn hill 6 times, in reality the hill wasn't terribly huge but it sure does feel like a monster when you're clambering up it.  

Is it a grimace or a grin?

There was also a water crossing but the course designers very nicely provided an alternative route around. It was shorter going through the water of course and the first two times round I took the high ground to bypass it but decided on the last lap that I HAD to go through it just to say I did, there was a second or two gain but alas my legs were too trashed to take advantage of it.  My favourite sections were the massive downhills because I was confident enough in my shoes and ankles to take advantage of them and just let gravity do the work.  The flat sections around the bottom of the course over the plastic gridding were slightly soul-destroying though, not quite sure why but for some reason that area just felt odd, almost like it was sucking the energy out of me through the soles of my trainers.

Definitely a grimace.

I made it almost all the way through the race without any mishaps (yay me!) until the last lap and instead of leaping over the wood creating the steps on the first downhill I caught the edge of it and my right leg shot straight out to the side along the very slick wood (Miss Oops is back!). Imagine a very deep side lunge and you have what I ended up doing while trying to leap past an obstruction. OUCH!!!!!!! It's not good when the marshall audibly gasps and asks if you are all right. It certainly put an end to me being able to muster up any speed.  

Hmm, speed. There wasn't any for me today except for the aforementioned downhills but I'm not whinging about it--no, really, I'm not!  I've come off a hard week of training mileage wise and I am just happy to have gotten this one done for the club.  There was absolutely nothing left in me at the finish line, couldn't even muster up one last minute sprint so if anyone had charged by me they would have taken it easily.  No clue about my finish position, I couldn't even talk when I was handing over the token much less think to look at the number.  Would I do it again? Of course I would!

P.S. The Bakewell Pudding was delicious. However the after-race homemade flapjacks provided by Catherine were even more so!  

22 November 2014

Major Oak in the Sherwood Forest

Major Oak

Did you know that there is a list of Great British Trees in the UK? Neither did I until very recently but apparently 50 major trees were designated as such in honour of the Queen's Golden Jubilee.  Yes, I am such a geek that I want to visit all of them now!

We visited Major Oak in Sherwood Forest Country Park, Nottinghamshire last month as the start of this tree visit quest. The age is estimated to be between 800-1000 years old and the tree now has to be supported with scaffolding and is fenced off to keep people from causing any further damage. To be fair the fencing isn't terribly obtrusive and certainly wouldn't keep anyone away but most visitors tend to be on the respectful side.

One thing we didn't expect on the trail to get to the tree was a statue of Robin Hood that looks uncannily similar to Robin Williams! Kind of a sad moment but puzzling as to why the sculptor based it on the actor to begin with (or was it even intentional?).

See the resemblance? 

Even if you aren't into old trees the area is well worth a visit, we didn't stray from the main path but there looked to be several interesting smaller ones that I would love to go back and explore, preferably while running.  Now which tree should we plan a road trip to visit next? 

*Update since writing this I've learned that Major Oak was voted England's Tree of the Year, cool, eh?