Thursday, 24 December 2009

Military Challenge 2009

The Military Challenge MTBO and Long Foot-O events have long been part of the annual British MTBO calendar. I have competed for the last 4 events which are always held just before or just after Christmas and the New Year. Each year the format changes slightly, with variations between score and line courses, around Aldershot or a.n.other town in the area.

This year was no different, except for the several inches of snow which covered the SE of England and subsequently Camberley, the event location. It certainly made a change from the recent years rain, mist and extreme cold! Having been focussing a great deal of my time and efforts into my dissertation, my training frequency has declined in the autumn, taking the peak end of my fitness with it. It was a strategic move to ride the B course, 25km, which on a good day would take in the region of 90 minutes, if not a little longer. 

With the snowfall overnight, conditions were slippery, with many of the minor roads coated in ice and the puddles and tank holes in the area completely iced over and treacherous to any rider.

Game Plan: to take this race at 75% of race pace, try not to die in the snow, and get more confident at riding through snow and ice!

With 6 maps to navigate across (or around) multiple map changes were needed which was seemingly at every control, where cold fingers and stuck together maps didn’t really aid matters. 

I was having a ‘good’ race and with 15% of the course left, I was tiring both mentally and physically. After successfully finding what was argueably the most technical control on the course, my brain power was at a low. Even crossing a main road was a challenge in itself, and with the snowy leaves underfoot, the hill beyond was an equal struggle resulting in a bit of a push. Unfortunately I missed the control on the pylon here and realised a couple of minutes on. The other problem which reared its ugly head at about this time, was that every time I put my feet in the snow, the soles got caked in snow and therefore ice, which made riding difficult due to my inability to ‘clip-in’ to the pedals.

I finished 3rd after 2 hours and 15 minutes, which isn’t too bad! Looking on the bright side it is my best result to date at the Military Challenge. My placing was enough to see me win the 2009 B course in the MTBO league. Race Analysis with Dad proved interesting when we found there were 7 seconds separating us at the 14th control, where his 20 minute mistake saw him drop a lot of time.

Sitting at the outside cafe after was pleasant and bought back many memories of skiing a few years ago. What a stunning view when covered in snow!

Open 5 Adventure Race

After a friend mentioned she had entered the Open5 adventure race at Hope, I investigated what it involved. On finding it consisted of Mountain Biking and Running, and having to collect as many checkpoints as possible in 5 hours, I was keen to give it a go. With the event on my home terrain in the Dark Peak, it made sense for this to be my first and to get the hang of how to plan my time, and how to divided the 5 hours between biking and running.

I decided to mountain bike first, where the controls were north of Hope, up Mam Tor, in the Edale Valley, Snake Pass and Ladybower Reservoirs. I managed to collect all controls except 3, and in hindsight made a mistake by going up Whinstone Lee Tor to pick up 25 points, as in doing this, it took 50 minutes to get up and down. Had I stayed low and missed out the climb, I would have saved about 35 minutes. 

On to the run. After what felt like a quick transition, I was off running in some clean trousers and indoor trainers. I quickly realised my mistake in not owning a pair of XC running trainers when I hit the mud on the footpaths and struggled to stay upright, travelling in all directions bar the one I wanted! 

Given my legs were quite happy doing 3.5 hours on the bike, they weren’t so happy to do 90 minutes of running, and mud aside, I really wasn’t going anywhere quickly. Jelly legs and muscles that didn’t work saw me take a long time. Say no more.

Despite the running, I ended up finishing 3rd, and for a change, won a few prizes :-) Results can be found here 

Race Analysis followed where I think had I missed out the afore-mentioned ‘top-of-the-hill’ control and perhaps control 4, I would have had an additional 45 minutes to collect 50 points on the run, thereby gaining an extra 10 points overall. Either that, or I just need to run faster. 

For the future, I have decided to run first for 2 hours, as it is probably easier for my legs to run and then bike, as well as being able to travel further!!

Many thanks to Craft for the much needed warm winter kit and to Natural Balance Foods for the excessive amounts of yummy protein and energy bars I consumed throughout the race. Also thanks to Ultrasport for the electrolyte drink, which certainly prevented my mind from switching off as I got tired. results and route analysis.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Plane Crash Hunting

Marcell and I are really getting into this plane crash hunting malarky, so on Saturday we left Sheffield in the rain and arrived at the top of Snake Pass to find a fair amount of SNOW!

It was a trek across the top of the ridge on the Pennine Way to get to Mill Hill, the site of the first crash, which can clearly be seen from Google Earth. This site is right next to a footpath and is thus popular. It was eerie walking the several kilometres to get to the site in the snow with the mist down, and suddenly looming out of the mist, covered in a sprinkling of snow was the plane.

This is the crash of a Liberator B-24J from 310 Ferring Squadron which crashed on 11.10.44

This site is spread over a small distance with two engines and some fuselage at the impact point and some more fuselage to the South which can be seen from the path.

From here it was a walk up 'Stairway to Heaven' and the top of Kinder Scout. The hill climbs steeply and the mist thickened at the top, which was incredibly spooky once we left the path and wandering to the 600m point through the deep Peat gullies caked in snow.

It was then a quick hunt on the top to find nothing before walking/bum sliding down the steep hillside. In one stream, Marcell's Hawk eyes spotted a large piece of twisted metal. My navigation (minus compass) took us further down onto the flatter moor to find the next main site, which again Marcell spotted making increasing his lead to 4:1. Not a happy Emily!

This is the crash site of two Sabres from 66 Squadron which crashed on 22.07.54

This site was just above the snow line and by the time we got down the hill to it, the mist was clearing and we could see down the valley to Hope Forest and Snake Pass.

The whole walk took us 4 hours, and perhaps we were walking slower because of the snow and mist, but it seemed a long way back to the car!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Saturday 21st November

Being unable to think of a title for yesterday, the date will have to do!
A brief 60 minute bike ride in the morning, which took me on some sort-of new routes in the rain, meant I could get back and into town as soon as possible to see my family. I've haven't seen them in 4 months since the Scottish 6-Days, and given that they were heading up to Newcastle for the British Schools Foot-Orienteering Championships, they had decided to come to Sheffield on Saturday, run the ShUOC City Chasing start.

After a nice drink in a cafe in the centre, they had to head back to get ready for the second race, whilst I and my sister nipped to the High Street for some shopping. I needed some flat shoes, and came out having spent £70..... not on shoes!

Unfortunately it rained in the afternoon, so standing around watching the finishers come in meant I got pretty wet jeans. A nice meal in the evening at Felicini's before my family left Sheffield and went north!

All in all, a really nice day, albeit a brief amount of time spent with the family. Can't wait for xmas now when I get to see my gorgeous doggie :-)

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Dark Peak Plane Crashes

After a friend mentioned that since before WWII there have been over 50 plane crashes in the Dark Peak with the wreckage left at the sites, it was natural for me to be inquisitive since this was new information to me!

After doing some serious google'ing and plotting the grid references on an OS map, we planned Walk Number One which we hoped (grid references correct) would lead us to find 3 crash sites. We drove out to Edale before heading up the valley and turning right off the beaten path just before the scree slope/footpath. This what-felt-like-near-vertical climb took us to site one.
Above is the crash site of the Wellington W5719 of 150 Squadron RAF which crashed at Far Upper Tor on 31/07/41. On the internet are pictures of this site, which make this pile of metal look bigger than it was, so it was pure luck that we stumbled across this one, incidently, where I had marked on the map.

Next up was a brief path section in the very gusty strong winds which saw us blown over a few times, before walking past the water up and out into the Peat Moors of Kinder. Given that someone (ahem, not me) had forgotten the thumb compass, this was hardcore navigation! Picking a route around the gullies and ridges of the peat moor to avoid wet feet, whilst trying to maintain some sort of bearing wasn't too difficult. Navigating the area was easy, finding the crash site was harder. Firstly we headed to far south before being too high and wandering to far north. After a quick discussion, we decided to head on to our planned third site, before seeing if we could pick site 2 up on the way back. Finding site three was easy! Down into the valley and up the gully to the rocky knoll, where a quick hunt and following some old footsteps in the mud lead 'Marcell' to find site number 3, slightly to the south of the grid reference and in the same rocky flat gully as the rocky knoll.
Site number 3 is an Avro Anson N185 of Halton HQ Flight RAF which crashed on Edale Moor/Kinder on 23/11/45.

After following our own footsteps back the way we had come, it was easier to see how high we had been. I decided to play 'Ray Mears' and followed the old faint footprints which lead pretty much straight from site 3. Marcell was wandering somewhere to the East of me and occasionally caught a glimpse of him when out of the gully. As it turned out, the footprints lead me straight to the top end of site 2, and initially I thought the scattering of splintered wood was it. Fortunately, after shouting to Marcell, and wandering down the gully from the flatter section of marsh, I stumbled across the first engine, stark white against the peat, but no way to see it without either being in the gully or standing immediately on top. Further down is the other engine.
Site number 2 with the first engine in the foreground and just a bit further down the gully is the second. This was a De Havilland Dragon Rapide G-ALBC which crashed on 30/11/63. It is a strange feeling coming across these wreckages in the middle of nowhere and to see it surrounded by mud and
So from here it was back to the footpath, scrambling down the rocky scree/waterfall/stream/footpath thing, and heading back to Edale.

We were very lucky to find these sites, and with the weather, which, although was rather windy, the sun was partly out and it didn't rain! Looking forward to finding the next lot up the top of Snake Pass :-)

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Dalby Forest

Plans changed. So late of Friday a group of us were sorting transport to go biking in Dalby forest on Saturday. I mended my brakes on my Merida so I was ready to tackle the 25mile loop, all XC, all rocky and technical, with minimal relief on my arse!

It was a fun trip. Lots of jumps :-), lots of berms and lots of hills! The problem with riding the Red loop at Dalby is the course (despite its attempts to contour the dales and riggs, still seems to be all up-hill....

Four hours after starting out, we made it back to the cars slightly worse-for-wear, plastered in mud, getting on the cold side, and absolutely shattered! Everyone had a great time and we are contemplating a trip down to Cannock in 3 or 4 weeks time to ride on the 'secret' tracks I've been told about in Sherbrook and Abrahams Valley. May even do some MTBO while I'm down there!

The trip home involved a detour to Brighouse and then a more exciting detour to Domino's pizza. On walking/staggering in my front door at half 7 (12 hours after I left) it was a quick shower and straight to bed, which was then subsequently disturbed later on in the evening but a lot of yelling and screeching from the lounge!

I am thinking about buying a Full Suss Carbon frame and build a really kick ass bike.... :-)

Firework Night

I was meant to be going to Don Valley to watch the fireworks on Thursday, but plans fell through so things ended up with all my housemates going out, and I was left twiddling my thumbs.

Having never been to After Dark before, I was keen to go. A mate and I drove out to Don Valley found a bridge over the railway facing Don Valley just as a crowd of people was starting to gather.
As it turned out, our bridge was in a prime location for watching the After Dark fireworks (without paying). There was a great community atmosphere which was really nice, just my sort of thing. Perhaps it was better than Don Valley without the 18,000 people there, no need to look directly up all night and end up with a sore neck in the morning like my housemates!

Monday, 2 November 2009

A weekend of biking fun

This weekend I headed up to Peebles in Scotland, just south of Edinburgh with Hallam Cycling. Plan: to ride bikes!

After leaving Waitrose car park 'on time' at 1820 we faced the four hour minibus journey up north. I say on time, but for a bunch of lazy cyclists, 20 minutes late is the best I have ever seen with our usual departure time 60 minutes later than planned. The trip began with a quick visit to Waitrose for beer, and diet coke, as well as a quality comment from Jody... 'What's your name mate? Did you say it was Marcell?' Mike: 'No, it's Michael!' Unfortunately for Mike the name Marcell stuck like glue, and calling him Mike now doesn't seem appropriate!

As per usual I fell asleep laid across 3 chairs in my sleeping bag for most of the trip, and awoke when we hit the bumpy gravel track up to the car park at Glentress which was to be our campsite. We arrived shortly before midnight on friday, and after some more beer, the boys proceeded to search for a suitable place to pitch the tents, which wasn't on the car park gravel nor on the wet and sodden banking! I didn't have an invested interest in putting up tents given that I had opted for sleeping on the minibus floor, so instead, I held the torch.

The boys tents pitched well within the fire zone our Health and Safety officer approved (whilst not quite sober, nor really caring about the closeness of the tents given the rain and late hour)!
Most of the guys didn't sleep all that well, and woke in the morning to find the 'soft' patch of ground was actually mud covered rocks. I couldn't help a small smile at this given that I had slept like a baby for 7 hours in a space barely big enough for my shoulders!

So in the morning it was off for a glorious day of MTB'ing at Innerleithen. We rode up the mountain, down some beautiful sweeping singletrack with bitchin' jumps and berms, turned around and did the top section again because it was just awesome! We then carried on down the mountain with some more berms, rock gardens, big dippers and jumps. Two and a half hours later we arrived happy and muddy in the car park for lunch, before heading back up, but riding up the Downhill push up route and attempting some DH tracks. I passed on this after seeing the beginning of the Matador and the vertical drop and so Bob and I headed around the mountain to find the XC track again. The XC descent was a million miles better the second time around and I made it to the bottom feeling fairly pleased with some of my jumps!
It was then back to Glentress for showers before pitching our tents at Innerleithen on the grass and walking into the village for fish and chips. A small (5 hour) stop at the pub saw the boys getting progressively worse for wear and playing with the two dogs, and me falling asleep curled up on the sofa! Another quality comment from Jody took the boys into hysterics again 'What's your name mate?'
'What did you do when the Darkness split up?'!!!! I suppose if you saw Lee, this comment might make more sense, but a tall thin guy with shoulder length messed up hair might help!

Sunday saw the boys wake up late, and due to missing our minibus driver who had disappeared all weekend with some other mates and decided not to hang out with us, we were a bit stuck on how to make the 7 mile trip to Glentress. I'll just say we made without mishap and leave it at that!

Well....on sunday the 1st November, it rained, and rained and rained some more. My back disc pads wore down to the metal and the cage imploded so I couldn't use the brakes. My waterproof leaked and I was wet through and frozen. The boys drove off to the cafe so I had no dry clothes and got colder. Rode down the hill to the Cafe but somehow missed them and got even colder. Thanks to Bob for the hot chocolate. I was pretty much dripping water by this stage as my kit was so sodden. The boys dragged me out of the cafe and onto the bike where I subsequently couldn't get my hands onto the handlebars without a great deal of concentration, and made me ride back up the hill. At the top my legs were just warm, and I managed to get into dry things before curling up in my sleeping bag. Marcell was good to notice I was non-responsive and hypothermic. I think he got a bit concerned when I stopped shivering, lips went blue, my breathing rate dropped and I stopped waking up to being prodded. Fortunately, knowing the signs of hypothermia, he somehow forced me to drink a bit of tea (yuk) and got the minibus heating on.

Today at work was a bit of an epic. I felt shattered on waking up this morning and felt sick and dizzy at work, as well as feeling pretty vacant. I made it to lunch before heading home for a 3 hour much needed sleep.

That pretty much sums up the weekend. What a great time!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Camera Fun!

I really fancied a walk today so G and I headed out to Stanage Edge and wandered up to the trig point in the dark. Was a little scary as we couldn't see much, and slipped in a few puddles!
An eerie green traffic light!

After taking a few snaps of us, I found the long exposure function and had great fun taking pics of cars at night!! I don't think G was too impressed :-)

I suppose its pretty sad that I can entertain myself just taking pictures of the the lights at night, but there is a certain technique to it. Just wave the camera around and pray to God you get something good! Not that I'm religious in anyway ;-)
I like this one, it's of the 88 bus to Bents Green....

Saturday, 24 October 2009

A very wet and rainy day..

Top end of Ladybower with the clearing mist

Today was supposed to be The Mam Tor ride, legendary in it's own right... however, with my friend cancelling on Thursday and me going on my own, I decided it was a silly idea. Once you get started on the ride, there are no short cuts and no roads or train stations near by.
Picture of the reservoirs......

I got a train out to Edale and rode back from there. Up the hill to Hollins cross initially, and then back down before heading up and over towards the Enchanted forest. At the top I headed off down 'the beast' (which was awesome fun to ride!), and then back up past Rowley Farm behind Hagg hill. Rode all the way around Ladybower before heading up to Win hill and down to the A57. From there it was back to Sheffield via Redmires and Endcliffe Parks. 6 hills. 4.5 hours.
Unfortunately I wasn't allowed in the house covered in mud....

Unfortunately, it rained throughout the ride. The mist was down and it was rather spooky around Ladybower....with the pine trees and the mist it was like something out of Twilight! haha. I'm just obsessed with Twilight at the moment. Less than a month until the sequel, New Moon... :-)
Dam disappearing into the mist....

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

New Sponsor

I am proud to announce that my new sponsor for 2009/2010 are Natural Balance Foods with their Trek, Nakd, and fruit infused Raisins.

I first tried Natural Balance Foods in November last year at the British Athletes Commission conference in London, and the company have agreed to sponsor me for this year. The food bars are described as 'natural fruits and ingredients, mushed together with no additives or sugar' so they make the perfect food for those long winter bike rides.

Trek bars are full of protein and are good for recovery after a session and during a ride. Nakd bars are smaller and contain more carbohydrate, whereas as the raisins make a perfect healthy snack!
Box full of yummy tasting goodies :-)

Monday, 19 October 2009

Busy Bee

This weekend has been really manic. Helping out at both the Hallam Uni open days (£100 in my pocket, thank you very much!) so my voice has been hoarse all day from the excessive talking I did!

Didn't get much opportunity to head out on my bikes this weekend, but I did go to the cinema with GG to watch The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, which is very surreal, but a very good film! Looking forward to the Twilight sequel in one months time... :-)

Have finally managed to book a physio appointment for this week. I have been unable to get in to see my physio due to working at the Hallamshire Hospital on placement so it will be a good opportunity to make sure that my current issues are hopefully nothing major! I should be able to diagnose myself by now, but the advice I would give a patient, is go an see you GP, which I absolutely hate doing! haha.

Today at work went really quickly :-) Made a complete arse of myself of 5 occasions, the worst being when I went faceplanted the floor in ITU, and then accidently kicking a patient's crutches from them when they were walking :-s I was convinced my foot would land a couple of feet away but I somehow managed to kick it as I walked forwards! Still doesn't beat my disaster day at Grimsby though!

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Stanage Edge

View of Lodge Moor, Sheffield

Went out this morning for an XC ride with the gang! Beautiful sunny day, that was rather warm once we got riding :-) wore a few too many layers.

Sheffield, my home.

Rode out through the Parks and over Redmires to Stanage Edge. Unfortunately my brakes need bleeding, and without any money I can't buy any brake fluid, so the descent was a little scary.

I really enjoyed this ride, felt relatively strong, considering my injury problems at the moment. Looking forward to tomorrows road ride with the boys, and then headache allowing, I might go and play in the parks on an evening next week.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Work, Work, Work!

This week has been pretty manic! I've just started my Neurosurgery placement, which is intense. There is so much to learn to do with the brain and different pathologies, it is information overload. At least my respiratory physiotherapy is good :-)

Training wise, I'm still in the gym at 7am Monday, Wednesday, Thursday. I even went for a run (oh. my. god!) on Tuesday morning at 0630!! With Friday as my rest day I get an extra 1hr 15 of sleep, which was rather pleasant this morning. I have been feeling tired during the day, especially when I'm left on my own to do some reading....heavy eyelid syndrome :-)

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Hallam Freshers

Hallam Freshers XC ride today.....great group that went out :-) We rode out through the parks in Sheffield turned around at the top and came down the singletrack which was really nice. Everyone that turned up was really keen, so it looks like the social will be good on wednesday.

Got some great ideas for the Cycling Club this year, so will be looking round for some team sponsors.

Bled my brakes yesterday so that a mate could borrow this bike. Spot the mistake (above).....

Finally managed to get hold of my supervisor for placement next week, after a day of ringing every number possible at the Hallamshire every 30mins or so. Had a stinking migraine yesterday, so I was pleased to wake up this morning without.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Sweden Training Camp

The Sweden Training Camp in April has been confirmed today that it will be on the 8-11th April so as not to clash with the WRE in Portugal :-)

After being kept awake for 3 hours until 0430 this morning by drunk housemates playing drinking games, I was pretty tired when in the gym training. Yesterdays long day at the sports fair didn't help either, so I'm feeling whacked out today. Just wasted 2 hours of my life in a lecture and have another 4 this afternoon..... :-(

As it turned out, the lecture this afternoon was actually great fun (I got to be a team leader for the group!) and I enjoyed being in control and directing the discussion. Spent most of the evening chilling on the sofa, and watched Dragon's Den: Peter Jones' Story, which has got me thinking about the best way to earn as much money as possible when I graduate! I've been mulling over a few ideas for the last 4 months, but not sure how to go about getting them going and also whether there is enough demand to make a profit etc etc!

I've started to implement my skills with organising my training and racing into Physiotherapy and the rest of my life, and I'm enjoying having a lot more control over everything I do... plans for the future are still very open and subject to change, but I'd like to think I am ready to get a job (mum and dad will be pleased!!) ;-)

Ciao x

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

World Ranking/Cup MTBO list UPDATE

Just received this list in a very round-about way from the IOF! This is the list for the 2010 MTBO World ranking and World Cup races.

?8-11 April - Sweden Training Camp
17-18 April - WRE Portugal
23-25 April - WCup Hungary
13-15 May - WRE France
22-23 May - WRE Denmark
3-6 June - WCup and WMOC Poland
3-4 July - Finland
3-4 July - Pre Woc event in Chaves, Portugal
2-8 July - ?GB training camp Pre WOC
9-17 July - WOC Portugal
5 August - WRE Estonia
4-5 September - WRE Austria
23-24 October - WRE Australia

List accurate as at 20.00 on 22/09/09 :-)

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Sunday Training

It was a bit difficult to drag myself out of bed this morning, but the view from the Peaks was worth it. Cloudy in Sheffield and beautifully warm and sunny out on the tops :-)
It's day's like today when everything brightens up, you can see for miles, that make me remember why I get up early to train.

I had a headache after 10 mins of biking, so I did 80mins instead of the 3hours I had planned. But no worries....these 3 weeks are my pre-training phase of the season and its my first week back after 4 weeks off.

Decided to pop over to my old house and see if there was any post. Found a big box full of my new Craft kit which was particularly pleasing! :-) Lots of lush kit in this seasons colours: browns and whites.

Saturday, 19 September 2009


Oh. My. God.

Best film ever....! Twilight is absolutely beautiful, stunning.

Watch this even if it's the last thing you do.

Mountain Biking

After a late night last night (due to friends coming round and having a film fest) an early start this morning was out of the question! Headed out on my Merida for a few hours of MTB'ing in the Peaks which was rather enjoyable. It hasn't rained (touch wood) in Sheffield for a few weeks, as per usual in the Autumn, so everywhere was wonderfully dry and fast. It's surprisingly warm, and I didn't really need my thermal, but sometimes it can be warm in Sheffield, and windy and cold on the tops.
This picture was Stanage Edge a months ago.

Sheffield City Council/National Park people really should consult the cyclists before re-laying the bridleways and paths. The first one they did was the bridleway up the steep hill at the end of the parks, so it now isn't a challenge to ride up it, and they've just started on the Yellow Brick Road (Lady Cannings-Fox House) which is one of the best bits of biking close to Sheffield. Fortunately they've only done the initial hill heading south from Ringinglow, but if they do the whole it will be very upsetting. It means that all the best mountain biking will be the footpaths which, if you get caught on them, you get a hefty fine! It's not fair! They'll be doing Burbage Moor next or Blacka Woods. Grrr....At least my rant in my head got me over the big hill when biking, so by the time I hit the nice stuff again it was all down hill!

It's moving in day for the Freshers today, so Eccy Road was jammed, which was fun trying to dodge the traffic all the way down from the top. Had 4 near misses (sometimes I think cars try to hit you on purpose) in the space of 1km from Hunters Bar to Cafe Rouge, and I had a close call when track standing at the lights and nearly over balanced! Saved it in time :-)

That's about it really. Physio has decided that my nerves are pretty jammed up so it will take at least 2 sessions to complete the full assessment she needs to do, let alone think about exercises to give me! It tends to be sitting on a bike for a long period of time that really sets my problems off, but tomorrow shall be the big test when I head out with Clive and the Hallam team for 4 hours.

Ciao for now :-)

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Early Morning Training

As part of my new training regime, I am going training at 7am monday -thursday, so that my evenings are clear for me to do Uni work.
This morning it was out on the Road bike for an hour, up Ecclesall Road and across to Ringinglow and Lodge Moor. The road that traverses the edge of the Peak District was just at the cloud line which made for a fitting sun 'rise' which was rather nice to look at early in the morning.

Sunday, 13 September 2009


Question: How does it take four people, 90 minutes to get around Tesco spending £200?
Answer: When you go shopping with housemates who will struggle to make a decision between two kinds of soup, with 1p difference and spend 30minutes making a choice of fruit and veg!

Yes, we did spend over £200 between the four of us, and yes, it did take 90 minutes (it's only a Tesco Express too!). My shopping filled 3 bags, but between the four of us, it was two trolleys full which we then ended up taking from the supermarket, walking 500m down the main road to home :-)

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Training Season 2009/2010

Monday 14th September will see me start 3 weeks of pre-training to re-build the fitness I have lost over the last 4 weeks of doing nothing!
I will be starting my actual training season on 5th October whilst on my next placement! I have some cunning training ideas, most of which are going to be tough sessions :-)

Friday, 11 September 2009

Finished placement

Today was my last day working in Grimsby on placement. Had to do a presentation in the morning, which was a case study of a patient with COPD, and a current chest infection. Presentation went well, got absolutely grilled by my supervisor at the end, who knew that I knew all the answers so was quite happy reeling off this huge list of questions! I think the questioning took longer than the presentation and it went through everything I'd learnt on the placement.

Passed the placement which I knew I would anyway. Really sad to have left, but I will be going back in November/December to run my dissertation work by them. The clinic is the leading place in the UK at the moment, and my supervisors set it up, so they really know their stuff. Might be going on the christmas party too..... I will become a permanent fixture at this rate :-)

I miss it already :-(

But there are only 9 months left until I graduate (which is a cert now I have got through my 2nd year, 4 months after everyone else!). Bit scary really...

Saturday, 5 September 2009

MTBO Races 2009/2010

Here is a semi-complete list of upcoming MTBO races both in England and internationally. A list of the British Series will be available soon.

26th Sept - Hurn Forest, Dorset
Dec-Jan Around Aldershot date unknown
8-11th April - MTBO Training Camp, Kristiansand, Sweden (scheduled date is 15-18th April, but is likely the camp will be moved.)
17-18th April - World Cup, Leira, Portugal
24-25th April - World Cup, Veszprem, Hungary
3-4th July - Pre World Championships, Northern Portugal
2-18th July - Team GBR training camp, Northern Portugal
9-18th July - World Championships and Junior World Championships, Northern Portugal

Friday, 4 September 2009

Finally Passed Year 2

I had a bit of a 'mare in Jan-April where I was training 20 hours a week, on placement and writing assignments. One of them was the disseration proposal, IEPP1. I failed this the first time due to it being a very bad piece of work. Failed the second time, due to being on placement, training, an acute neural injury, and grandparents in hospital. This stress from this meant I just didn't write well enough.

I went to Board on June 21st to get an exceptional 3rd attempt at the module. Being a Health Professions course, you get your 2 attempts plus a 3rd in exceptional circumstances. I got the extra chance at the module due to the Physio team understanding my circumstances, and excellent marks in the other modules.

Got the marks today..I last 9 months later! Stressful year. This basically means that once I get the marks for my placement next friday I will have finally passed my second year! I got good feedback today from placement so I should imagine (touch wood) that a pass for this is in order. It doesn't mean I'm a bad physio though!


Another fun day :-) Spent the day with the respiratory physiotherapist so I got to carry out some initial assessments of patients, asking them questions about their lung condition and listening to their chest. Normally my supervisor will listen to the chest, find an interesting noise and let me listen. This time, I was doing it first and telling him what I could hear :-) Awesome. It's amazing how many different noises there are: Coarse and fine crackles, inspiratory and expiratory wheezes, abnormal, diminished, pleural rub, and each one means or implies something different.

Another part of the assessments was feeling secretions in the lungs, simply by placing your hands in certain points and applying a firm pressure. It's pretty cool as you can feel the sputum and secretions moving under your's rather soothing for the therapist!

In general, I definately feel like my skills have improved in 3 weeks, I know so much more than when I started! :-) Happy Happy Happy!

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Interesting Day...!

Craft and Ultrasport will be continuing their support by sponsoring me once again for the 2010 season.

As for my day today... well, it has been something of a very good day, but also a bit of a ditzy one!
I am on placement in Grimsby, so am commuting from Sheffield everyday. The placement was deferred from May due to my racing commitments so 17/08 to 11/09 is the only time I can do this 4 week block. It is just my luck that my placement coincides with the rail from Doncaster to Cleethorpes being out of use.....! I am awake at 4am, and get home at 8pm, 8 hours of Physiotherapy work for 8hours of travelling. I am really enjoying it, and will be upset to leave next friday.

I usually do one stupid thing per day, but today I had 3 moments. Firstly, I managed to get my feet tangled up in the desk chair , and both the chair and I went flying. I didn't think anyone had heard, until my supervisor walked out of the office next door 5 seconds later and saw me sprawled across the floor! Secondly, shortly after the chair incident, I managed to throw a cup of water all over myself and the floor (how? I have no idea!). I suppose I am getting old before my time....either that, or working with elderly people for the last 3 weeks is starting to rub off on me!

And finally, whilst taking a patients Blood Pressure, I dropped the screw that lets the air out of the cuff. So I have a patient in a chair with the cuff up to 160mmHg, cutting off the blood to their hand, and myself, 2 other physio's and 6 patients are crawling around on the floor looking for this small black cap! Fortunately the cuff went down by itself, so this wasn't a problem. Between the 9 of us, we couldn't find it. I know I saw it bounce on the floor, but where it went was a mystery as all the tables and chairs made it difficult to see. We decided to give up after 5 minutes and get on with the pulmonary rehab class. As I walked in the gym I put my hand in my pocket of my physio uniform, and felt a small round object..... Needless to say I had the p*ss taken out of me for the rest of the day, and felt pretty stupid too.

I also have at least 3 old men per day, make comments about not having had 'a young girl on their knees in front of me for years'! Perhaps I should explain that when taking the BP, its easiest to crouch down its easier to chat to the patient!

Sunday, 30 August 2009

2009 Season

Back in January I was going to set up my own website, but never quite got around to it for various reasons! So this blog is something of a substitute where I shall aim to post training, results from races, and a calendar of the 2010 MTBO World Cup races.
The 2009 season for MTBO has been a mixture of success and disaster. It started with a training camp in Denmark in April, before World C
up races in Hungary, Switzerland and Italy. I was also in Portugal sleeping on a table in a huge basement type room with a concrete floor on my 20th birthday! But the hot sunny weather, and four 1st places more than made up for the accommodation.

A training camp with the Austrians and Swiss between the Switzerland and Italy World Cup races taught me how to ride a bike properly downhill, as well as a trip to a chocolate factory....I shan't say how many Euro's were spent on chocolate!

The Junior World Champs in Denmark at the end of June saw me miss my goal of winning, and instead I was 4th, 5th and 6th. A huge disappointment for my e
fforts in the year. A quick trip post-Denmark back to Sheffield to move house, before heading out to Pilsen, Czech Republic. This was an awesome week, and I had a lot of fun :-)

I lived in Sheffield in the run up to the World Champs in
Israel, and put in some hardcore quality training. Four weeks later Team GBR were off to Tel Aviv and 40+ degree heat. After the rain in England, the hot weather was an absolute delight! I finished in 8th place in both the Sprint and Middle distance wh
ich were both less than 30seconds to a top 6 result. Something to work on over the next few years. The banquet at the end of the week, was a particular highlight, with several GB team members being thrown fully clothed in rather nice dresses, into the swimming pool (high heeled shoes included!).

That sums up the 2009 season for me. Many thanks to my sponsors: and as well as Sarum, SCOA, SWOA and TASS for their financial support.