Decoding the Body

By | Running

Unplanned Siestas I’ve just recently woken up… Nothing too sinister or alarming in that, except it was at 3:30pm in a car park in Newcastle.  Fortunately I wasn’t lying comatose round the back of the bins, instead sat in the driver’s seat of my van whilst the boys were playing away in the park, but it’s the third consecutive day that I’ve totally flaked out mid-afternoon. I know, I know, most people reading this would love the luxury of being able to crash out for a siesta, the joys of designing my own work schedule are obvious, but for me…

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Genetic Predisposition? The Skyrunning World Championships

By | Running

Solid and Dependable Looking back on the weekend just gone and amongst the fuzzy warmth of a hugely enjoyable experience is a strong sense of inevitability.  My result at the Ring of Steall Skyrace was entirely predictable, with a comfortable top forty position and a time suitably close, but never challenging previous winning efforts.  A 33rd at the WMRA Long Distance World Champs back in June whilst in similar form showed me where my abilities stand among the genuine elites of mountain running, and regardless of fitness, my total lack of knowledge of the course on Saturday was always going…

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Taking Back Control

By | Biking

Fear not, this isn’t a Brexit article! Although later on it will explore how the initial effects of Brexit Britain became the catalyst for a bold, and potentially very positive move for one UK frame manufacturer.  Keeping politics aside though, this is actually a piece about what it really means to take back control of a company, moving all aspects of production back to our shores based on a utopian vision of flexibility and employee well-being. Back To Slack Stanton Bikes have long been pioneers in the development of the modern ‘hardcore hardtail’, generating an enviable reputation for both design…

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Return of the ‘Real Boys’

By | Biking, Uncategorized

Breaking the Law… The heavy metallic door clanged slowly open, in stark contrast to the frantic barking from within.  Tony froze, already committed to the far side of rusted razor wire that littered the floor, whilst the rest of us quickly weighed up options and decided to talk our way out of this trouble.  A tubby soldier in sweaty fatigues exited the building, already waving a single hand in the classic dismissive Italian gesture.  Playing dumb is an art and fortunately few play dumber than our crew; spluttered words of broken Italian, vacant expressions and a rapid exit past several…

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Life Begins – The World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships

By | Running

Getting Wood… Was the original title for this blog, a cheap innuendo based around avenging last year’s sprint-finish defeat by Team GB’s Jack Wood, by pipping him high on the misty upper-slopes of Mount Sniezka in this latest edition of the World Champs.  But although many careers have been forged on puerile humour, it’s a poor way to encapsulate the suffering, drama and satisfaction of being part of the premier event in the mountain running calendar, particularly when Jack is young, fast and will have his revenge many times over.  And so instead, something more serious will form the real…

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Prioritising Pain

By | Running

I had an interesting conversation today with a mate I’ve not seen in a while.  He’s signed up for a half Ironman this year, and also a full Ironman next year, guaranteeing well over twelve months of self-motivation.  Like Aidy, I’m a huge believer in having future goals, reasons to drag yourself out in the lashing rain and cutting wind over the dark months beyond the simple wish to not get fat or unhealthy. I could see he regretted telling me that completing the course was his sole aim as soon as the fact left his lips, instantly realising he’d…

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Fluctuating Fish – The 64th Yorkshire Three Peaks Race

By | Running

Big Fish, Small Pond I love the Northern Irish mountain running scene, although of late I’ve been rather invisible within it.  It’s buoyant, flourishing and boasts many brilliantly organised events, from the iconic Slieve Donard race to the prestigious Mourne Skyline, with many other classics between.  With evening club races attracting over 350 runners, it’s clear to see that fell running in N.I. is no longer solely the preserve of the grizzled minority, and many new faces are being lured away from the gimmick laden world of compulsory finishers medals and garish t-shirts towards the purity of the open hills….

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The Theory of Evolution – Stanton Switch9er First Impressions

By | Biking

I love living in Northern Ireland, the people are friendly and the trails are superb, but it can be a melting pot for extreme viewpoints, from individuals who otherwise appear moderate.  A few years back I was surprised to discover how many here take a literal reading to religious doctrine, firmly believing that Earth is a mere handful of thousand years old, shunning accepted theories of Darwinism and genuinely contesting that one busy week for their deity was enough to create all we see.  These Creationists have infiltrated the upper-strata of society in worryingly prominent positions of influence, despite the…

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JFDI

By | Running

Many years ago I had a boss called Ed, a brash, self-assured Mancunian, a man both larger and louder than life.  Ed had a catch phrase, JFDI (just f***ing do it!), regularly reeled out to silence hapless staff as they stuttered out excuses over solutions.  There was no comeback, no argument, resistance futile to the connotations of the sentence, the final vowel dragged out long enough to drown the most vehement protestations… ‘JFDIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII’ I liked Ed, my kind of leader, a zero bullshit type in an industry full of perpetual talkers.  His ‘can and will do’ attitude echoed and shaped…

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Bitten On The Arse

By | Running

Sometimes you just have to let the fitness come to you… Recently, in defiance of notable leg-speed limitations I won a Cross Country race.  And not just any race, it was a national title, albeit the Masters title (for moderately more mature athletes) but still a prestigious and highly competitive event.  It was a huge surprise to me and no doubt also to the gathered experts of Northern Irish running, given that I have virtually no pedigree in the discipline barring an Ulster Intermediate team gold medal acquired several years back that owed a lot more to the strength of my…

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