Before my good friends at the Framed Bicycle Company in Snowdonia get excited… no, I haven’t bought a bike! You would have seen it already… before I had picked it up from you!
Rather, I have been racing cyclists, rather successfully as it turns out!
Kim and I have had the pleasure of Karen’s company this weekend and I capitalised on this by getting her to take some new photos of me for my various on-line personas… chief amongst which is the relaunched Rally Strategic site. What was funny was that she really liked the photo that I have used as a placeholder on there… not realising that it was one that she had taken five years ago with a little extra background added in by my good friend and website designer Simon! The updated photo won’t appear there straight away, but I welcome any comments on the site itself.
The recent wet weather has finally returned the brown summer stubble to green grass, such that I spent yesterday cutting & edging the green and the verge in the Close, sweeping the roadside etc… the grass was long despite me cutting it only last weekend! A quick glance today at the other local green spaces, which are looked after by the either Burgess Hill or West Sussex County Council (which involves neither of them cutting, let alone edging them!) reminded me why my neighbours are so happy that I make the effort.
It was a beautiful morning, but with a chilly edge, so I didn’t hurry to get out for a run. When I did finally get out, I wasn’t really sure where to go or how far and this was exacerbated when I went to take my first picture of the day… the iPhone was FULL, despite deleting more than half the photos from it a couple of days ago. Since part of the reason for running & blogging is to keep my folks looking at places they’ve not been lately, this put a considerable dampener on proceedings. As a result I meandered and eventually stopped at a stile to sort the phone out. The temporary fix was a brutal cull of apps, though later I realised that when you delete photos from the iPhone, it assumes that you don’t mean it and keeps it around for another 25 or so days just in case.
The stile was out by Ridgeview and thus it was natural to head in the general direction of Ditchling, even if I didn’t have the energy for a Beacon run. As I crossed the Ditchling Road I had to wait for a load of cyclists to pass… it was strange to see so many outside of the middle of June.
I was expecting it to be really muddy going this way, but it was just soft… the parched ground had clearly mopped up all the water that the weather had thrown at it. All the meadows were lush and the various livestock (mainly sheep & chickens) looked well-fed. As I reached Ditchling I took a path that led me out onto the High Street and found a lot more cyclists. I asked a couple of cyclists what was going on… it was a second London to Brighton bike ride, focused on raising money for charity.
I followed the cyclists up towards the bottom of the Beacon and decided that, in view of the comparatively low numbers, it would be safe to run up the road for a change. This is a rare treat and I think I’ve only done it once before… it’s normally too dangerous and even during the normal London to Brighton there are too many cyclists on the road.
I started to climb and quickly realised that most people were walking rather than cycling… I should have counted how many I passed, but it was easier to count the number of cyclists who passed me. One. A second one (number 705, I think) caught up with me near the top and we chatted as we finished off the ascent.
I then ran the short distance to to top of the Beacon.
On a whim I chose to descend the really steep way (Cliff’s route) which basically drops down a steep spur and then goes straight down the rest of the scarp slope. I then followed the road back through Ditchling, smiling at all the cyclists as they chatted about stopping at the top of the Beacon.
Towards the end of the village I turned left and ran up to the ridge and then along to Oldlands Mill, where they clearly had an open day… the smell of food cooking was amazing and made me want to stop, but I had no money with me so I would need to have done a runner afterwards!
My legs were starting to complain towards the end of the run… quite fair really, given that I didn’t plan to have a long run, nor to race so many cyclists! According to Strava I completed 10.5 miles in 108 minutes, an average of 5.83 mph… not quite as quick as last week, but not bad Foster.
Since then I’ve had a cold shower & a hearty breakfast, said goodbye to Karen and washed Kim’s car… I can still smell the food from Oldlands Mill so it MUST be time for dinner soon!