Posted by: Bruce Duncan | December 8, 2011

Winter Arrives

Following on from the Kendal Mountain Festival my life has calmed down a bit, which has been brilliant.  As much as I like flying all over the place having lots of mini adventures, it has been great to get into a settled plan of training and planning of what is to come.

I have got right into my winter training, a few niggles are hanging around, but with some stretching and rolling on a bottle of water (to self massage), I have been going well.  The ride over to Scotch Corner to get my car was the start, and since then I have been out almost everyday.

The weather hasn’t exactly been overly pleasant though, howling wind and rain on many days, with the odd bit of sleet and hail thrown in for good measure, but so far I have managed to get out either in the dry patches, or thrown all my clothes on and had loads of washing to do on my return!

When I’ve been sheltering from the weather, I came up with my top 10 adventure races in the UK and Ireland for Planetfear, you can check out the list here.  There is some bias, as I’ve been involved in some of them, but I do think they are some of the best races out there you can do.

Loch Garten

The highlight of the past few weeks was a mountain bike trip to Scotland, organised by my good friend Peter Strong.  I’m not sure how many years it has been going on for, but this was my 3rd time up to the Aviemore area with a whole bunch of hardcore mountain bikers from Cumbria and Matlock.  Last years trip was postponed due to snow, and the rescheduled trip got hit by snow too!  This time the forecast was looking alright.

We all arrived up at the Lagganlia outdoor centre, and Saturday started ok, but after a few minutes a sleety snow shower blew through.  On the whole the weather was great, and we got a cracking 90km of riding in, heading up towards Carrbridge, and back over the Ryvoan pass.  We had a heavy snow shower as we rode up to the pass, but once that had passed it was gorgeous riding in the fresh snow, and we almost didn’t need lights.

We were pretty tired as we rode the last sections of single track back to the lodge, but we’d all had an amazing day, it was now time to warm up and refuel for Sunday’s ride.

It snowed a lot more overnight, luckily not too much to necessitate anyone trying to leave early, and we set out on a 4hr classic ride up Glenfeshie.  Singletrack almost from the word go through Inshriach forest, up the glen in glorious sunshine with the odd shower blasting us.

It was an awesome weekend, the mountain biking up there is amazing, with single track all over the place, and we were all lucky enough to have Pete Strong and Bryan Singleton to guide us around.

I stopped off near Perth on the way south to catch up with Mark Beaumont, who was fresh back from a small speaking tour in China, and about to head off to row the Atlantic Ocean.  It was good to see him and his fiancé, and we had a great afternoon of mountain biking, well mountain bike pushing for quite a lot due to the deep snow!

Back in Kendal and the wintry weather continues, but more with strong winds, sleet and rain at the moment, not very appealing for getting outside and training, but this weather toughens you up, and come race day when its like this it makes things much easier.  I’m off to Ravenglass and Eskdale this weekend to do a run with Trail Running Magazine.  I love Eskdale, so will be a pleasure to be over there whatever the weather, and the best thing, we are coming back on L’al Ratty! Awesome.

The next event for me is the Tour de Helvellyn, which on the 17th December could be a wild day out, a 38mile ultra run, with all your own navigation.  It’s going to be a great day out, and will be perfect training for other upcoming races.  A few of us got out and did a training run on the loop around Helvellyn section a few weeks back, it was another wild day, but was good to get out and get a blasting from the weather so we could enjoy our tea and cake afterwards even more!

Lets hope that the rain and wind disappear and we get a load more snow on the hills for some great winter running, and maybe even some skiing…

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  1. Hi Bruce – May I ask what camera was used for those photos in the slideshow? Some of them are stunning, especially the ones with a skyline and forestry in the distance. All the best with your next adventure race too! Best, J

    • Hi, the camera I use in almost all of my pictures is my mobile phone! Its one of the reasons why I chose that phone, its a nokia N8, not the best for other things, but great for pictures.
      Thanks for your comments.

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