Alpine Adventures – A taster – Climbing, running, racing, biking, via ferrata…..

Just about to get an early night as I am keen to have a go at cycling around Mont Blanc Massif tomorrow….May take a couple of days in fact as its a 330km 11000m trip… We shall see…

Suffice to say tho that since I arrived out here I have been well busy with running, and climbing too, ridges, glaciers, rock routes in the mountains and allsorts of adventures with a variety of friends and Helen too…

I will post more pictures and details here later in the week when I am going to try and have some rest days, the problem is its so hard to resist the pull of the mountains one way or another……..

I am now in Argentiere, having dropped Helen off at Geneva airport after a great few days Vua Ferrata, walking, and road biking and generally catching up and having fun…

Next stop the Tour of Mont Blanc via road bike, then driving down to Ceresole Reale in Gran Paradiso masif for more mountain fun and a race in early August…

Thats all for now, pics and details in a couple of days time


Review- The North Face Storm Stow Jacket

Review – The North Face Storm Stow Jacket

The North Face Storm Stow Jacket – this beauty is a super  lightweight and 100% waterproof specialist offering from TNF which is just so small when packed into its own sleeve with a super smart little draw cord concept and light and comfortable to wear all day if necessary.

It feels light when u pick it up and features a panel or two of bright colouring so you can be spotted out there without making you look like a beacon of light in the rainswept landscape.

The pack size of it and the 2 ply material making it so light weight means in disappears into ones running bag nicely and you don’t feel aggrieved at having to carry it as a matter of course “just in case” .

I have probably run around 200km in it so far over the last few weeks.

Its been tested on the Fellsman in awful weather and in a host of other mountain runs around Snowdonia recently and is seriously a great bit of kit-It doesn’t rustle, its got a near waterproof zip on it, has a great snug hood design that keeps in on your head even in the strongest winds and doesn’t restrict head movement and vision or hearing for that matter.

The jacket doesn’t flap and rattle in strong winds which means you can still hear what your mates are saying even when fully tucked up inside it, and it doesn’t suffer from that usual disorienting sensation you get when your hood is up.. I ran for hours with the hood up during the Fellsman and can attest to the comfort and waterproof nature of it for sure.

The drawstring elastic on the back of the hood is really easy to cinch up to adjust to whatever head covering you are wearing..

As it is so light however it will be interesting to see how long it lasts under heavy usage, but its worth the potential sacrifice of some durability for the portability of it. I will feed back on the jacket over the next few months but so far under lots of use ( loads of rubbish weather in N wales currently) it still looks and functions as new.

Very impressed so far and this bit of kit is going to accompany me through the season, used as a waterproof and just as a windproof layer out in the Alps for those long days out when weight and function is a premium and my legs need to be carrying as little as possible…

Verdict:- 9/10


All the fun of The Fellsman 2015

The Fellsman 2015

Having had such a great time on the Fellsman on 25th March with Duncan and Dave, I thought it about time to write up a short review of the great day that was had by all of us. The Fellsman has been running for 53yrs and has somewhat of a reputation for being over rough terrain and in generally poor weather for some reason, the 61 miles of it – 100km being over the Northern and Western Yorkshire Dales over rough ground, bogs and only faint tracks when you are lucky..

The weather forecast for the 25th was terrible after a week of solid good weather before it, typical apparently and we all met up the night before the event in Threshfield, sleeping in vans in a field next door to the Finish line which would be handy at the end of a long day.. Buses were arranged to take us to the start in the morning but due to our relaxed approach to registering, we were biletted onto a particularly early bus to the start, and after a good feed and a kit check the 3 of us retired to sleep, waking at 0430 hrs so we had enough time for breakfast and to cook the spectacular Bacon Avocado and Mushroom Pittas that Duncan suggested we take on the bus with us.. Genius food to start the day…

Anyways, after no sleep on the bus we dragged ourselves into the start, in various levels of dread/excitement and wrapped up against the foul weather outside. My TNF  Waterproof Jacket was straight on, as well as extra layers to keep warm in and a last cup of coffee nailed before we poured outside into the starter field and a “Ready,Set,Go” type of start that was refreshingly old school..

Steady away was the order of the day as we jogged and power marched out and up towards Ingleborough feeling great although full of suspense as we were all first timers, and Duncan hadn’t run further than 21 miles in training and this was his first ultra event. Feeding and hydration ( apart from the rain wetting us) is the way to keep going on the long ones so we were prepared with a plethora of snacks,gels and bars for the jolly that lay ahead.

We were creaming along happily until descending from Ingleborough towards The Hill Inn in thick cloud and instead of following our own knowledge of the route, carried on after around 20 people heading way to far East for a km or so until we ground to a halt, checked the maps and headed back on to the route – a salutary lesson in using ones common sense and not just following the pack – I hope the 20 odd people found their way back on route at some point, a bit disheartening to stray so early on….

Through rain and cloud and with some quality humour we rumbled on over whernside in much better weather than when we scouted it, even though the weather was dire anyway – cloud low and chilly wind with soothing drizzle…Wwe were all wel wrapped as we cracked onto Kingsdale, Gragareth ( a steep little climb) then rolled over to Great Coum and down to Dent for some welcome refreshments of sausage rolls, cheese rolls, hot beans and tea and coffee, the snacks at the aid stations all the way round were manned by cool and helpful people and great snackage…(Thanks everyone by the way- awesome)..

20 miles plus in and feeling OK we climbed out of the valley back up towards Whernside to engage in bog trotting again with tussock wrestling to pootle our way over to Blea (Bleak!?) Moor by which time the weather had improved and it was snowing, 4 seasons in a day. We thrashed it down into Stone House back in Dent Dale to check in and feast again at the half way station and a long climb ahead.

Duncan was feeling the burn and the distance in his legs due to a bash on the leg he sustained on Great Coum and personally I always find the few km up to the half way mark  of any big trip out pretty hard psychologically, despite feeling Ok with forward movement..The lighter skies and  crossing of the half way point drove us forward for a long section over a weave of hills and bogs again with back tracking, chilliness, bogs and tussocks with some great views back over the Dales as the weather cleared..

Checkpoints and bogs rolled on , we were now hyper aware of our bodies – alert for hunger, dehydration, cold, fatigue, psychological doubts, too fast too slow, night fall imminent, one foot going in front of the other in relentless forward progress with lashings of dry humour as we approached what we perceived as the key section of the route, across  the dreaded Fleet Moss!!!……

In fact after a fine feast and some very hander insider knowledge we headed out onto what looks like impenetrable peat bogs, and skirted sneakily along the edge of them on a really sweet little trail for miles (a long section this one, until we found a quad bike trail to contour round to a hidden checkpoint then a direct line off the feels and down to the Cray checkpoint by the road after a nifty check in at Hells Gap ahead of a large group of folks we had overtaken on our bog traverse of joy and marvel. There is nothing like a load of tussocks and bog to encourage a good sense of humour and all sorts of strange leg sensations when you are 40 plus miles into a run… Marvellous stuff …

So rocking into Cray meant another fine feast and also a standby whilst we were grouped into bunches of a minimum of 4 and also required to don full length leg coverings for night on the hills – rules are rules, but actually i t was nice to change into my compression tights and swap into a dry pair of socks ( at least they were for about 20 minutes)… Heading out with Richard to make our we group into a 4 the light began to fail on Buckden Pike as we piled up the front in as direct a line as possible once again, leaving our torches turned off for the whole travers to Park Rash bar the last 2 0r 3 km so that following teams wouldn’t see our track – we were heading again in straight lines across bogs whilst keeping in mind the restricted areas on route that must be respected..

A last feast at Park Rash and we prepared for the final hill, legs aching with every step forward to be honest but at least by now they have reached an even level whereby the get no worse and the aching is tolerable as long as you just keep moving forward….

A heavy Frost, beautiful starry night and great views back across the Dales fells awaited, with a distance string of torch light beams dotted hither and thither across the fells to remind us of the other people who were going to be out for way longer than us … Hard core indeed!!

Descending from Great Whernside brought with it the usual spills and thrills of frosted bogs and waist deep mud at times , all great on fully battered legs – not at all a struggle – but the end is calling one onwards now and we all new that we would make it as a team…

Epic track from Capplestone Gate that just went on forever following mysterious flashing orange beacons to guide one across the empty and quite featureless moorland  until one rocks up to Yarnbury behind Grassington… Ans is it all over  – Not Yet – There is a load of tarmac which by now was playing havoc with legs and providing much entertainment for us as we hopped and skipped slowly down on delicate quads into Grassington, maintaining our fine sense of humour until all of  a sudden ( actually another hour or so later) we rolled up towards the Finish Line at Threshfield School and Daves Partner Mel awaiting to lead us into the finish – Awesome day out in a great place, with good mates and great views, lovely weather and a simple task to occupy us for the day:-

Start at A and Get to B via such and such… Simple and elegant and such fun to complete the trip. A great mision and I am really pleased that we all made it together…. Looking forward to more of these type of adventures this summer and glad that I have got a 100km trip into my legs early season to hopefully set me up for some more adventures both in races and just out in the hills…

Goals for the Summer:-

The Paddy Buckley Round

Gran Trail Courmayeur

Royal Ultra Sky Marathon – Gran Paradiso – Piemonte Italy

And to have loads of fun, run and bike lots and make the most of life generally.

Keep pushing on and enjoying the mountains….


Review – Hoka OneOne Rapanui 2S Fell running / Trail Shoe

Hoka OneOne Rapanui 2S trail shoe - light nimble and plush with great grip

I gave the Rapanui 2S a good testing when I headed out with Brian Wills, from Capel back to Llanberis over the Glyders, a real broad mix of terrain from bogs to tussocks then good rocky terrain across the tops of the glyders, onto rolling singletrack across Y Garn and Elidir, with a grass descent running onto hard packed slate chippings track descent through the Dinorwic quarries

First of all I must thank the Hoka Rep for providing me with these shoes to test out and also thanks to V12 for getting him over to the shop to check out the range of shoes. V12 are planning to have  a number of the shoes in stock, both mens and womens, technical trail fell running shoes and some more all rounder trail running shoes , and so I was keen to be able to test a pair of Rapanui 2S shoes out and give some feedback.

The shoes are something I would not ordinarily have considered as I prefer generally more minimalist shoes, but the fact that these were pure cushioning and still low heel to toe differential meant I was ken to try them out as theoretically they would be great for long distance stuff…

The actual super technical fell shoe that will be stocked by V12 will be the Karl Meltzer signature Speedgoat Shoe which is an amped up version with more stability on technical terain than the shoe I tested. It will be a lower profile upper and really dialed into the UK Technical fell running market… There is a Youtube video here to check them out….

So back to the review of the Rapanui 2S:-

Technical details first – the Rapanui has a 6mm heel to toe drop, which is comparable to the technical fell running / trail running shoes of Salomon ( Sense SG and Sense etc) and the Adidas Adizero Trail XT4. The low heel drop means that they are good on technical terrain and encourage a natural rolling running style. The overall shoe is of a neutral design but the amount of cushioning / padding in the shoe would compensate for a small amount of over pronation it seems.

Hoka One One Rapanui 2S - Big stack height but the heel to toe drop for these beauties is only 5mm meaning the shoes still feel natural to run in and are great in rough terrain. They feel dialled in and nimble whilst being super plush and are wicked for straight line descending on steep terrain - the heel to toe drop is similar to the Salomon Sense SG at 6mm. The uppers are lightweight and don't stretch in the wet, draining quickly on the run and maintaining support.

Hoka One One Rapanui 2S – Big stack height but the heel to toe drop for these beauties is only 5mm meaning the shoes still feel natural to run in and are great in rough terrain. They feel dialled in and nimble whilst being super plush and are wicked for straight line descending on steep terrain – the heel to toe drop is similar to the Salomon Sense SG at 6mm. The uppers are lightweight and don’t stretch in the wet, draining quickly on the run and maintaining support.

The front of the shoe has 29mmm of cushioning and the heel area has 35mm so the shoe is well cushioned up. These are what seem to be termed as maximalist shoes rather than minimalist, but are still designed with technical trail, fast movement and long distance in mind.

 

The weight of the shoes is still low and surprising (given that they look kind of big and heavy) – a pair of  size 8 – 43 European size comes in at 292g per shoe  – they feel very nimble/ agile and precise in use too and any weight issue is offset by the premium amounts of cushioning and the way ones feet feel great even after hours on the go….

The lacing system is god and the speed lacing system works very well, being secure and clog free during hours of bogs and mud on the recent Fellsman I completed ( 101km, 16hrs 48 minutes ) – the shoes remained securely fastened . There is an elastic strap halfway down the tongue where one can tuck the extra laces when they are cinched up, and this works well, especially if you fed the end all the way through this and back up to the top elastic right by the speed lace system.

Hoka One One Rapanui 2S - V12 will be stocking the Karl Meltzer Speedgoat Shoe which is an amped up lower profile upper version of this shoe which is even more tuned for the UK fell running market..

Close up of the speed lacing system on the Hoka One One Rapanui 2S. This seems to work well, and doesn’t slip during long runs, once tightened they stay put and seem to keep free of clogging mud on boggier ground. Simple but effective. On the new Karl Meltzer Signature shoes that will be ariving to V12, there are more eyelets for the laces and I would expect an even more dialed in fit with a slightly lower profile upper to really dial the shoe in to a UK style of fell running terrain. There are another pair of eyelets above where the laces go, that could be utilised. This would entail cutting the laces and re threading them through the eyelets but to be honest I found that this was not necessary.

If ou really want to lock yr heels into the shoe then there are an extra pair of eyelets that you could further thread the laces through after cutting then rethreading the speed system, but I felt this was unnecessary. Again a surprise as I usually like my feet truly locked in at the heel. The shoes fit well enough not to require any fiddling like this…

The soles feature a set of 6mm lugs well spaced out over the generally flat and wide profile sole with some indentations, the rationale being that this will shed mud and debris easily, avoid clogging on poor terrain and maintain grip. The spacing of the lugs also seems to allow the shoe to grip brilliantly on uneven rock surfaces too . The lugs seem to be hardwearing so far, on other shoes with similar lugs, I have seen more wear than that which I see on the shoes so far for equivalent amounts of use.

Being that these are a continental / US style shoe I was concerned that the grip on them may be substandard even with the lugs on, but I was definitely wrong about that. So far I can’t fault the grip in a wide range of terrain and technical situations – super steep wet grass descents and traverses, they definitely compare with the Salomon SG Sense series and the Adidas Adizero XT4 shoes which I rate highly for grip and have spent many a mile in on all sorts of terrain….

Hoka One One Rapanui 2S Review - Tread Pattern

Open Tread with great lugs on the Rapanui 2S, the lugs are brilliant on all the different terrain I have tested them on so far. I was very surprised at the good grip and seemingly hard wearing tread so far after probably 230km use in a few weeks.

The Speedgoat shoe that V12 will actually stocking has a more shaped sole with some cut outs along the front foot area and in the back heel, to give the shoe more adaptability on steep side traverses and really uneven ground, and I suspect this will be a really good – I did find on a couple of occasions, especially early on in a run, that on a steep side traverse the she felt a little unforgiving and slid around the foot, pushing into the ankle. However with use and further running this seemed to lessen and I didn’t notice it at all on the Fellsman, where my feet remained feeling great through bogs, tussocks, rocky and grassy trails and non trails….

My legs seem to have recovered better than I would have thought too and I have no where near the amount of Muscle soreness I would usually associate with a long run like the Fellsman.

 

So to summarise:-

I was originally skeptical but fascinated by the concept and after having doubts about the shoes I am pleased and surprised to report that I really like these Rapanui’s and am really looking forward to getting my hands on a pair of the Speedgoat 2015 shoes when V12 get them in – This years version of the Rapanui will be an amazing dialled in version of the shoe, ideal for UK fels and trails.

The ground feel is still good, the stability on technical terrain is great and the nimbleness and lightness is really a surprise to me. I really am liking these shoes, contrary to all my original ideas and I am looking forward to getting more miles out of them on a wide variety of terrain. The way they feel when descending is great and they climb well too.

I have some more races lined up for the summer – The Cadair Idris Race, the Courmayeur Gran Trail 90km ( 5400m ascent), Royal Ultra on Gran Paradiso Northern Italy ( 54km 400m ascent) and hey who knows, even the Paddy Buckley is still under consideration as I am beginning to feel stronger and confident currently… Non of these will be done in anywhere near winning times etc but hey its about having fun out there, and as such the Hoka OneOne’s are going to be a large part of those fun times I reckon. I would recommend giving them a go – it may well be a hugely positive surprise….

Oh and by the way V12 are also going to be stocking a more trail oriented version than a techincal fell shoe, more suitable for mixing it up on roads and trails, and also 2 womens versions of the shoes, which all look amazing….

Tryfan, Glyder Fach and Y Garn in the distance - Hoka One One Rapanui Tread view

Done about 250 plus km in these shoes now and although at first I was skeptical due to the thought of the thick cushioning, I’m well pleased with how they feel. I was concerned also that they may rub on my outer ankle on a long run but having completed the Fellsman last weekend in them (101km and 16hrs 48 minutes later) I can attest to my feet feeling great at the end and also the Delayed onset muscle fatigue pain that I expected has failed really to materialise again a positive result of the cushioning in the shoe. Living the Dream as ever………..

 

 

 


Mountain King Trail Blaze Poles 2015 Review

I completed the Fellsman this weekend ( 25th April) and was lucky enough to have got my hands on a pair of Mountain King Trail Blaze Poles – Ultra Light Fast Packing / Trail Running Poles that are made by a British Company.

The Camera got wet hence a bit of a bur in the midle - The Trail Blaze Poles were great

Mountain King Trail Blaze Poles at Fleet Moss Checkpoint on Felsman 2015 with Dunc and Dave. A wet windy cold day that included snow, turning to clear skies with frost later. The majority of the route is on boggy ground or tussocks, with minimal amounts of hard paths and trails..

I have previously had a pair of BD Ultra Distance Poles so it was going to be interesting to  test these Mountain King Trail Blaze ones out (I snapped my BD ones a few weeks back whilst scouting for the Fellsman event)

The poles are certainly minimalist. They have a small but comfortable cushioned hand grip with a non adjustable wrist loop, again comfortable on the wrist. A small cord runs through the centre of the 4 sections and when pulled hard out of the top of the poles allows the poles to slot together then locked in place by slipping the manufacturers pre fitted knot into the little groove at the top of the pole. The Poles come with 2 detachable baskets (screw fitting so don’t just try to rive them off), and also 2 rubber type covers for the carborundum/tungsten tips of the poles if you dont want to click on rocky terrain. Personally I leave the rubber tips of all the time but would be likely to use the baskets on the poles in winter or in the alps.

Trail Blaze Pole Mountain King 2015 Review

Metal tips showing detail of the screw fitting thread for the light weight but effective and sturdily attachable baskets in case you require them

The poles are made up as an aluminium centre overlaid with a wrap of carbon fibre, and I imagine that this is what has given them their strength without compromising on weight – especially at the joins between the sections on poles

120cm long - weight 250gms the pair - 40gm lighter than the BD Ultra Distance Poles at 120cm

Trail Blaze Poles folded up with velcro straps in view, tidy and compact and very light

The poles arrive with a small mesh bag to hold them in and they are both fitted with a small but ideally sized velcro loop to keep the poles under control when they are folded away and stashed on or in your bag.

Pull the cord whilst dangling the sections of the pole and they pull into place, and then clip the knot into the slot on the top of the handle for a light weight locked out pole.. Quick and easy. The handle is well cushioned and is not noticeably les comforrtabe when ts soaking wet (as it was for most of the Fellsman event)

Pull the cord whilst dangling the sections of the pole and they pull into place, and then clip the knot into the slot on the top of the handle for a light weight locked out pole.. Quick and easy. The handle is well cushioned and is not noticeably les comforrtabe when ts soaking wet (as it was for most of the Fellsman event)

At first glance look and feel very fragile, but after having used them a number of times and trapped them between rocks on trails or had them stuck in a bog and get unfeasibly pressured as I bent them over whilst stopping myself to extricate them, they seem to be robust enough to last – this has dispelled any worries about fragility.

Aluminium ferrule slots into carbon sleeve on each section of the poles - Mountain King Trail Blaze 2015 design change apparently

Aluminium ferrule slots into carbon sleeve on each section of the poles – Mountain King Trail Blaze 2015 design change apparently

The joins in the poles feature an aluminium ferrule one end and a carbon sleeve at the other side. As far as I understand it this is a part of the poles redesign since last years model, to improve strength without compromising on weight, and so far so good, no splits or cracks despite rather a lot of abuse in a short time…

I intend to use these poles plenty over the course of the summer, both here in Snowdonia and in the Alps. I plan on a number of longer runs hopefully including the Paddy Buckley Round here and some other Sky Races out in Northern Italy  and have loads of confidence in these poles.

They have proved themselves so far – lightweight, easy to fit together and quick, comfortable hand grip and an perfectly adequate wrist loop that is also comfortable. Very impressed and would recommend them for sure. Oh and by the way as far as lightness goes, they are 40gms lighter per pair for the 120cm length than the BD Ultra Distance Poles – Perfect…..

For future reference and if I would suggest any improvements that could be made then I would suggest a slightly less stretchy or a tighter fit for the centre cord, as a number of times the poles were pulled significantly apart when pulling them out of sticky turf terrain whilst running and this caused me to be a little concerned that they would pop apart.

I would also suggest that the padded section on the handle could be made another 4 cm longer to be really sweet when ones wrists are engaged into the loops and to give a bit more flexibility to hand position and comfort.

However both these issues are minor tweaks and should not put one off these amazing poles

VERDICT:- 9 /10 – EXCELLENT

 

 

 

 

 

 


Fellsman 2015 Weather Forecast and TNF Storm Stow Jacket

Now then true to the usual weather patterns around the Fellsman weekend (according to folklore built up from over 50 yrs of the event being run) the weather is going to be a bit grim:-

The Met Office Weather Forecast for the Fellsman 2015 Saturday 25th  – Click here

This means navigating will be fun in the rain and low cloud with winds upto 50mph gusts, plus a bit of rain..

Lucky I have got my North Face Storm Stow jacket – a super lightweight waterproof for travelling fast in grim weather – 100% waterproof and taped seams. It packs down to almost nothing, stashed inside the end of its own sleeve with a little drawstring – very neat and tidy (plus very small and light).

V12 has these in stock for £150.. I have used it loads in the rain and snow so far earlier in April before the weather got better and it performed excellently.. Even the zip is water sealed to reduce the damp patch down ones front and the hood has a built in drawstring to tension it brilliantly onto the head to stop it blowing away… Action shots of the jacket, plus poles and my shoes will inevitably find their way onto this blog shortly, there is just the small matter of 61 miles to run in the meantime….


The Fellsman is upon us and I have my new Mountain King Trail Blaze poles to test!

OK so I have had a quiet week or so, tapering ready for the weekend – The Fellsman 2015 kicks off at 0830hrs Saturday morning 25th April.

Its 61 miles over the Dales with 10 000 ft ascent and plenty of bog and fells to cross with navigation, plenty of rain forecast and did I mention it has lots of bog!!

I shall be doing this with my mates Duncan and Dave so it should be a fine adventure…

I must say thanks very much to Mountain King for the ultralight  Trail Blaze ‘z’ poles they have sent me to try out, they will certainly get a good testing…

These poles look amazing – they weigh 125g, are easy to pop together with a small cord running down the centre of them that locks into the top of the handle with a tiny knot (pull the cord hard and the knot appears, whence it is slotted into the groove on the handle top – very simple and very effective…. Expect a full review after the event

My Hoka OneOnes will be tested on this event too and again a full review to follow…. I ran the Moelwyns race last weekend and found them great again….

 


Ras y Moelwyn 2015

Just completed the 2015 Moelwyns race , on a beautiful sunny and windy day…

A great race, with great marshalling and a really continental atmosphere, starting in the main street of the town and taking in the Moelwyns  and Moel yr Hydd via Tan y Grisiau.

I have no idea where I came in the race as yet but finished in 1hr38 minutes, so am pretty pleased after an entry on the day. Good speed training for the Fellsman next week..

The Hoka One Ones were good too, great grip and plenty of cushioning but still with some ground feel. just need to heal the cut on my ankle as this rubbed a little for a couple of steep traverses, but other than that the shoes were great and super reliable on steep descents…

This week before the race was spent  with early morning shortish runs before my management / Leadership course down in Banbury, a good fun and exceptionally handy course….


The week to 12th April

Well a quick summing up of a fantastic week out on the hills and trails around North Wales again.

Managed another quality week of 90plus km running plus a good 90km solid bike ride yesterday and feeling strong. Time to start tapering  bit for the Fellsman. Thee next week or so is featuring a management training course for me for a few days and I will be scaling back the mileage now, with some Tempo runs and some sprint sessions instead of long days out… This should get my turnover up and my cruising speed/ efficiency  improved.

I have been using both pairs of shoes that I have been given recently, the Hoka OneOne’s and also the Salewa Speed Ascents and again whilst these shoes are very different types of trail shoe I am really enjoying running in both pairs. A review will be forthoming in around 2 weeks after the fellsman.

The Hoka’s will be the shoe to use on the Fellsman for sure.

Cadair Idris afternoon

Hoka OneOne’s on Cadair Idris

 

The Salewa Speed Ascents are feeling speedy and will be featuring in my faster run sessions. They are firm and snappy with remarkable good grip and good ground feel and suited to this type of running.

The Salewa Speed Ascents out on a great 22km circuit on Y Diffwys in the Rhinoogs, a quiet morning with noo one around and remote hills. The shoes felt snappy and precise

The Salewa Speed Ascents out on a great 22km circuit on Y Diffwys in the Rhinoogs, a quiet morning with noo one around and remote hills. The shoes felt snappy and precise

This week featured

Cnicht and the Moelwyns beautiful sunny day

Clegyr Road, Fachwen and quarries to Nant Peris

Glyders in really foul weather with Duncan

The Glyders from Capel

Heading from Yr Ogof towards Glyder Fach and Tryfan, amazing views and so quiet here

Heading from Yr Ogof towards Glyder Fach and Tryfan, amazing views and so quiet here

 

Brian Wills heading up Yr Ogoof on the Glyders Traverse

Brian Wills heading up Yr Ogof on the Glyders Traverse

 

Heading up onto Y Garn

Heading up onto Y Garn

Looking down Ogwne Valley and Llyn Bochlwyd. We were scoping out scramble routes for more vertical days out in the hills from the village. The more ways to go up something the better...

Looking down Ogwn Valley and Llyn Bochlwyd. We were scoping out scramble routes for more vertical days out in the hills from the village. The more ways to go up something the better…

Cadair Idris and neighbours – beautiful sunny day

Looking back upp at the descent from Cadair - I went up the pony path then ran around the various summits before descending the riidge on the left - a really steep loos scree/rocky stepped descent, where I was well pleased by the performance and grip of the Hoka OneOne's

Looking back up at the descent from Cadair – I went up the pony path then ran around the various summits before descending the ridge on the left – a really steep loos scree/rocky stepped descent, where I was well pleased by the performance and grip of the Hoka OneOne’s. I meet Paul Jenkinson in the car park after he returned from a blast up the hill and shared a coffee. Good to catch up. Then I headed over to Dyffryn Ardudwy to camp the night and have a couple of beers

Y Diffwys and Pont Scethin – Rhinogs – super wild and remote – sunny day. The day after the Cadair run I decided to run a ridge I have looked at a few times when on an MTB route that we like a lot – The Pont Scethin Loop. The hills above and behind Pont Scethin are so quiet and remote and are a lovely ridge with great views of Cadair, the Barmouth Estuary and up towards Snowdon Massif and the terrain is a great mix of technical rock and dirt tracks, often faint and moorland with some cart track descents back down to the village of Tal Y Bont where I had parked. The run took me up through woodlands and vallleys oon the the ridges for a great trip out in  my Salewa Speed Ascents, which felt great on this run. Snappy, firm, forefoot encouraging and plenty of ground feel

The Salewa Speed Ascents out on a great 22km circuit on Y Diffwys in the Rhinoogs, a quiet morning with noo one around and remote hills. The shoes felt snappy and precise

The Salewa Speed Ascents out on a great 22km circuit on Y Diffwys in the Rhinoogs, a quiet morning with noo one around and remote hills. The shoes felt snappy and precise. I felt pretty fast and light legged today and am increasingly happy with the place I am with regards to fitness currently. It seems the struggles for running in Cambodia in the heat have helped me on my return to the UK

Looking back towards Y diffwys from the ridge up on the Rhinogau. Not a soul about and the weather was great

Looking back towards Y diffwys from the ridge up on the Rhinogau. Not a soul about and the weather was great

Atmospheric Views from Y Diffwys towards Cadair and the Mawddach Estuary

Atmospheric Views from Y Diffwys towards Cadair and the Mawddach Estuary

Road Biking over the Llanberis pass to the Crimea and back via Rhyd and the Nant Gwynant

Its now blasting rain and wind outside and I am cooking some rocky road for supplies for the Fellsman and a 24hr Pork Belly is in the oven for dinner tonight. A day off ( Sunday it is this week…)

I have managed 256km since 22 March and 11500m ascent running so feel that I have put some good miles into the legs and hope that its going to be enough for a solid Fellsman finish – The Fellsman aim is to get round in around 14hrs and not be a total mess for months afterwards….I am keen to recover and start working on some other missions that are starting to take shape… A successful fellsman will hopefully springboard me fitness wise this year and open some challenges up that I have been thinking about for some time…


Trail Running Poles – just in time for the Fellsman 2015

A couple of weeks back I broke one of my carbon running poles after a few years of plenty of use and abuse, leaving me without poles with the Fellsman 2015 looking large on my Calendar.

Chatting with Bertie at v12 who then contacted Mountain King ( A UK Manufacturing Company) who make superlight running and walking poles up in the North East of the UK. See here for some more details :- Mountain King Ultra Light Weight Poles

The long and short of it being that there is a pair of the ultra lightweight Trail Blaze Poles winging their way to me in time for the Fellsman event

I am really looking forward to trying these poles out as they look great and they are also amazingly a bit lighter than the BD Ultra-distance Poles that I had previously. I find poles help enormously on long runs especially when you begin to get tired and end uup using them as handholds to pull ones self up the steep ascents, but they also help on descents and on the flats…

 

A full review of the Mountain King Trail Blaze poles will be forthcoming after the Fellsman where I reckon they will get a thorough workout……


Snowdonia Weather

Archives