Favourite blogs for No I said DublIN marathon
November 10, 2013
June 12, 2012
Writing about web page http://www.fredwhittonchallenge.org.uk/
OK so I love my cycling, it has to sneak into the schedule between a few other things ;-) but it hurts my legs much less than running :-) One of the best motivations for getting out there is to see new places with great views. So when following the lovely Leon conquering 10in10 FWs last yearI *may* of got the idea that it would be great to have a go at *one* of those :)
...of course in May last year I had no experience of cycling in the lakes :-O So initially the FW idea stayed quietly inside my head... then in June during the most fabulous Dave A BG weekend :) when I *may* have gently twisted someones arm to head north for weekend support crew ;) we didn't quite have space in the car for my bike :-O however a most lovely Fetchie (who I'd never even met before) lent me a rather shiney bike *squeeeeee* on which I rode a mini-tour of lakes seeing lovely new places, Honister Pass *ouch* and a bit of a BG round :) :) :) *heart* FETCH for making such a fabulous get together possible :) :) :) :) :) xx
Roll forwards to August... holibobs avec Alix & Dave :) knew I was *never* going to keep up on running pace :p and sometimes 3 is a crowd ;) so I had my truck so the road bike could play too :) explored Newlands Valley, raced Lakeland Tri and the highlight was a guided mini-tour of North Lakes avec eL Bee! finishing over Newlands Pass :) :) :) So FW attempt began to get chatted about and decision made that if I got a place ;) I *would* get myself fit enough to get round :-O
Of course ideally training would have been to plan (A) multiple trips up north with careful reconnaissance checking out all the passes - passing as much attention to the descents as the accents *pause for reality check* never able to invest that sort of traveling time/time away from home so onto plan (B) start building climbing miles during January Lanza trip, build up weights sessions, build up the ride times and throw in a couple of local 75 mile Sportives, the ones with hills in...
Plan B got me strong, I worked mentally on known unknowns but felt massive *wibble* about the unknown unknows :-O
So, Saturday 12th arrives and after a clear trip up M6 with fair weather I drop into the massive bike warehouse at Staveley to purchase a new set of brake blocks, can't think why that seemed like a good idea ;) was also hoping to get a new pair of overshoes but in common with many bike shops they had a surplus of L, XL & XXL only :( Still I got to look at lots of shiney bikes :) and take deep breaths to stem the crackling nervous excitement :-O before jumping back in truck for short hop to Coniston. Car park and Coniston was heaving but I managed to squeeze the truck in and headed straight to registration... through a door into dark narrow corridor with single line of tables crammed in... no-one at first table, a bunch of envelops and people at second table so I stopped just past there to get my ID checked... remained completely oblivious to the fact that Lorna had been sat at the envelops table :-O whilst I visibly shook signing my life away ;) bit of nervous bantering with fellow competitors and I quickly found myself tagged with my dibber and proud owner of FW cycling top - despite serious concerns over the possible bad omens of getting one *before* completing :-O Back outside in sun I take a few deep breaths thinking about how best to contact Leon & Lorna only to find Leon is chatting with a small crowd just ahead of me and that I had just managed to wander obliviously past Lorna *amazing what nervous excitement will do to you* the power of the company of lovely people soon started to ease my jangling nerves, I was introduced to lots more lovely people, too many to name check even if I could remember all the names ;) Lunch eaten and much banter later, including me trying to soak up as much detail as possible about the bits of the course I'd never ridden *most of it* and I found myself in convoy heading for Aspatria on a lovely clear evening where I *may* have spent more time admiring the scenery than concentrating on the road ;-) Some people are both lovely to know and live in lovely places :) :) :) :) :) Big big hugs for taking such good care of one nervous wreck!
"The Fred Whitton Challenge is a 112 mile ultra hilly (mountainous!) challenge ride over all the famous Lake District passes in a single day ride."
Up early and back down the road we arrived at rush hour ;) ...but there was no rushing to be done, exept maybe to get to the loos :-O The ride starts and finishes at the Sports Centre at Coniston and with the times recorded via the dibber system. After dibbing the dibber at about 07:30 hrs, I roll through muddy field onto lane past the head of Coniston water and straight onto the first climb of the day, up Hawkshead Hill. Not a hard climb but on cool legs it's a great way to wake up and get in the mood :) After just 2.2 miles it's down a winding descent where El Bee! went past with words of encouragement :) and I saw TiT runner Toks leaving Brathay :) Give way and un-clip at left turn onto the B5285 (5.2 miles) only for car to change mind and give way to me *sigh* :p Uneventful through Clappersgate to Ambleside, the traffic lights, towards Windermere even changed to green for me :) but then (8.7 miles) left up the very steep Holbeck Lane climb to Troutbeck. This is where I met the first of the grunting mamil packs - oh the ways I amuse myself when cycling solo ;) Then onto first BIG climb of the day, up Kirkstone pass. Uneventful apart from dropping chain with over-enthusiastic cog change around Troutbeck *muppet* which actually gave me change to remove padded gloves and replace with mits - hot work this climbing :) views were stunning and soaked in at leasuire (454m, 14.7 miles covered).
"Being the highest pass, there’s a long and steep descent, so take care."
They're not kidding, solo this would have been awesomely fast :) as was I clocked over 37 mph and was pushed a wee bit from comfort zone when one of those overtaking me on the winding bits nearly went head on into an oncoming car and finding that my adjustments to fit new brake pads had slipped tension on front brakes :-O Apart from those little episodes it was an exhilirating decent :) and that topped by my first accent of Kirkstone had me banking a little confidence :) Patterdale and Glenridding were welcome familiar territory as a tail wind assisted me down the shores of Ullswater to the climb up to Matterdale End (343m) easy climb with a winding fast decent, no real call for brakes ;) until reaching main A66 to Keswick.
"Take care on this road, which has fast moving traffic, but thankfully for most of the way there’s a ‘1m strip’ on the left that gives you a bit more room."
Thanks to excellent amounts of information extracted during pre-challenge banter I was prepared for this stretch, ideally sitting on the back wheel of a suitably sized and paced chap would have sheltered me all the way down to Keswick :) no such luck :( being mentally prepared to working into a head wind was a *good thing* and something I've had a lot of practice at in Lanza, shame it's a bit colder in Lakes :p after a few futile attempts to jump on back of passing groups I settled down (almost literally to top bar) and pedaled on....
Keswick was a welcome shelter from the wind and I also made a pit stop to borrow a pair of hands to help me readjust the front brakes :-O I *knew* what to expect from the next decent ;) brakes can be useful :p Loved the familiar pootle down to Seatoller :) only slight spoiler was the ambulance blaring past :-O
"Seatoller is literally at the bottom of Honister pass, and it starts ultra steep!"
Having climbed this once before I was ready with the tactics and stuck to my game plan :) despite carnage all around :-O bikes weaving everywhere, the odd car and a few walking their bikes :-O "!!
"Get ready with the brakes as soon as you reach the top (356m), since the descent immediately starts very steeply, the surface is slippy when wet, badly corrugated in places, and there’s a narrow chicane over a bridge part way down."
Just as useful to know this decent :) managed to pass a few groups on the accent, pass one very nervous bloke on first 25% drop and then get a fairly clear run down to Buttermere valley wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee :) just one numpty driver failing to negotiate a head to head with oncoming car by lake *sigh* had to unclip and wait whilst they faffed :( Reached Youth Hostel just before Buttermere village (52 miles) with bikes everywhere and seemingly everyone else stopping, decided to top up water and make use of limited toilets, too limited, long wait :( *note for future* stop elsewhere ;-) Met a couple of ladies in que who were very nervous about making Whinlatter cut off, one looked beat already and admitted to walking up Honister :( tried to make encouraging noises and was quietly furious when the male companion of the very tired lady started hassling her to get a move on :( *insert bad word of choice here* 200m beyond hostel and immediately steeply uphill onto the climb up Newlands Pass. Middle part isn’t too bad and there was a slight tail wind :) still hard work and as I went last both ladies from loo que it became obvious why they had worried about cut off :( I squeaked encouraging noises and pedaled onwards and upwards. A kind chap overtaking me then pointed out i had another sprocket left *I knew that* and also knew about the very steep final stretch to the top (333m) :) The correspondingly steep sudden drop down the start of the descent would have been all the more fabulous had it been clear of traffic *sigh* Still once past a nervous little collection of bikes (not with it enough to call a group) and a serious numpty in a car I was free to enjoy the decent to the base of Whinlatter :) wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Whinlatter truned out to be an easy steady climb, but a very long one and the summit was the first checkpoint, so in with the dibber :) :) :) :) :)
A gaggle of teenage MTBs joined me for early part of Whinlatter decent, helpfully slowing me up and splattering me with mud :p T'was mostly straight and fast after that until some tight bends down over a bridge before turn to Lorton. This was a lovely meandering stretch and a chance to exchange a few words and smiles with other riders :) :) :) Scale Hill ( steep short descent) to Loweswater started to show that thee were some very tired legs out there, that was followed by climb up to Fangs Brow, where I continued to pass blokes whilst soft pedalling up hills - great for banking confidence ;) Lamplugh village, Croasdale to Ennerdale Bridge (77.3 miles) with easy pedaling and stunning views all around :)
Cold Fell climb was familiar territory from Dave A BG weekend :) although it was less windy that say ;) straight and steady to begin with, but then a steep windy bit over a cattle grid, followed by a final steady pull up to the top of the moor (290m, Swarth Fell). Now windy would probably be a slight understatement here... it was blowing an absolute gale!!!! So exposed up on the top it was harder getting over the moor than it was making the initial climb up there :-O The return of hedgerows and the hairpin bends not long before Calder Bridge were welcome shelter before arriving at the second checkpoint and the second feed station (86.8 miles). Dibber dibbed on arrival :) *what a relief* there was absolute carnage all around :-O first challenge was to find a spare inch of space to lay bike... then into village hall toilets, no ques, and time to sit and eat/drink.
Sooooooooooooooo tried, the slog over the moors had taken it's toll :( legs had started to cramp slightly over Cold Fell but not so much over Swarth Fell... however first point of confidence knock for day :( and less that 6 days since a major cramping episode in hamstrings I was quick to shift to conservative mental strategies... this was the home straight :) I *would* be getting home :) I had no reason to risk any do it or die trying heroics on the final climbs :) *tension ebbs and shoulders relax* Get some hot tea inside me, some nectar stuff, boost bar and more hula hoops :) pick up lovely text of support from Alix :) and I'm ready :) OK ready as I was ever going to be :p quick loo trip and peak at "warm room" aka place when grown men have become like baked spuds wrapped in foil aka place of carnage :-O
Bit of main A595 coast road followed by left turn down to Gosforth. Somewhere back off main road along the winding stretch I spotted a familiar bike (Ali) parked at a public convenience, after copious tea and liquids at Calder bridge this final wee stop was too good to ride past ;) Irton Pike seemed like a mere blip with a nice fast twisty decent, confidence kick :) ...you know I can't even remember if the wee stop was before or after this lol Can remember passing King George the Fourth pub (95.8 miles), where you turn left up Eskdale, as I *may* have had beer on the mind :) I was possibly trying to distract my mind from Hard Knot pass :-O
"Hardknott is the daddy of them all, and you’ll know as soon as you start it, since it immediately kicks up viciously when you pass the telephone box at the bottom. This first ultra steep bit climbs over a cattle grid (tricky, need to sit down as you cross it, to avoid wheel spin) and lots of riders have to get off and walk at this point."
By this point I had done a deal with my head and tried body. My legs felt OK apart from the occasional cramp twinges ;) it was my arms that appeared to be weakening, probably from holding the bike up against the howling gales :-O I made the early steep turns and then chose a hairpin in which to unclip... unclip FAIL eeeeek! made it up another hairpin to discover that it was my lack of confidence in unclipping in possible cramp situation that was winning over my leg strength for climbing lol sense of humor and myself still intact :) :) :) tip toeing up in bike shoes actually harder that riding the damn thing so quickly back on pedals for easy middle bit :) passed a seasoned looking old chap and casually asked if it kicked up again? the dead pan facial expression and dry "a bit" response spoke volumes ;) I mentally prepared myself... started the steep bit with as much of a *pedal dancing* approach as I could muster until my arms sagged before my legs complained WTF!? played safe again although I'm sure my legs would have preferred to stay in the pedals rather than tip toe up 1 in 3 of rough tarmac :-O Summit-ed and survived :) :) :) Just the small matter of descending...
"Be warned - the descent down Hardknott is very VERY steep with extremely tight bends, the road surface isn’t good, and it requires extreme care. Whatever you do don’t let your speed build up, or you’ll be straight off the road and down the hillside, and we don’t want to have to call out the ambulance to pick up the pieces."
Now there is a point where tiredness leads me to being even more *muppet* :p I would strongly advise that when starting a VERY steep decent you more your hands from the hoods to the drops ;) the brakes are much easier to control from that angle ;) ;) :p the brakes were on a lot because I was following down a group of about 12 other riders. The bonus side to this was that they had done this decent before so I watched and learned :) Wrynose pass was much steadier and I kept it going until the short very steep final kick to the top (393m) :) it was very tempting to go for the *do it or die trying* bit but sensible hat stayed firmly on :)
Another *interesting* decent into stunning valley :) wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Was now starting to buzz and Little Langdale valley seemed a joy with the blips of kick ups and bit back to A593 barely noticed :) :) :) :) :) Fabulous wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee down to last T junction :) Pair of riders overtook me just before T so followed them down to finish and managed to see funny side when they stopped on the line and virtually blocked me from getting through! Squeaked through a gap in the corner and dibbed dibber a final time :) :) :) :) :)
THANK YOU Leon & Lorna for a fabulous weekend :)
Congratulations to anyone managing to wade through that head dump of waffle!
December 01, 2011
Whispers.... minutes are ticking down for the year and we've reached December.... it must be nearly Christmas *boing* :) I can tell because the lovely family want me to produce a Christmas wish list... well they probably used the term "ideas for presents" but thought that was left wide open for creative interpretation ;-)
Samsung Galaxy SII
Muppet Christmas Carol night
||Weekend away with family||
Wood burning stove
Winter wanderings around Kenilworth Castle
|Night out at comedy/music gig with friends
Run in snow with Coffee Shop crew followed by pub lunch warmed by open fire
Night out at cinema with friends
||Coffee morning with friends|
It's a bit of a work in progess but I'm sure it will be fun updating it!
November 11, 2011
October 09, 2011
Writing about web page http://change.mooc.ca/
So #change11 MOOC is now entering week five and as expected it's been tough to set aside as much time as I would have liked so really feeling no more than a lightweight engagement. However, MOOCs let you adapt your learning around the time that you have so I'm not too worried about this. This week I've also got the focus of a face to face meeting with colleagues from around the institution who share an interest in discussing MOOC topics, really looking forward to this!
September 25, 2011
Writing about web page http://change.mooc.ca/index.html
Whilst I'm wrestling with the question "why have I signed up for another MOOC?" I guess readers of this blog are more likely to be a few steps back asking "MOOC? WTF?" don't worry readers Dave Cormier has put together a video just for you...
So now we have that bit out the way, why do I choose to MOOC?
Simply put, because it suits the way I like to learn and it's FREE.
MOOC "students" are introduced to course facilitatorsand an outline schedulesplit into one week segments. "Students" then choose how they interact with helpful guidelinesreplacing rules and regulations.
My personal challenge for #change11 MOOC is to share more, not just via online networks but through face to face meetings with interested colleagues at University of Warwick.
Watch this space!
August 19, 2011
Barbarella (Born May 1980, Died August 2011)
My lovely superstar Barbarella had a really really long life and was still leading a happy active life in her superb retirement home right up to the weekend before she passed away. Although, obviously, very sad I've also been reflecting on how simply amazing she was.
When horse hunting way back in the mid 1980's I'd been searching around the midlands area and found nowt (within budget) that I would consider buying. So when I heard about a youngster, spotted at a HIS sale but returned home after failing to make reserve, in desperation I talked my parents into a rather long drive to Devon! Barbarella looked not so much her almost five years but rather more like a three year old... however for all the "rough around the edges" stuff her kind willing nature shone through and the rest is history!
I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Clive Milkins and all the team at South Bucks RDA for providing the most perfect "retirement" home for her. She was clearly very happy, well cared for and kept active through her twilight years in the most perfect way.
May 30, 2011
Writing about web page http://purposed.org.uk/
Keep in touch with event participants via facebook group and twitter
Create space for discussion and debate inviting participation from wide range of people from all walks of life. I've selected one of my sporting online communities to spark a debate :o)
Closer to home I've had some really useful discussions with my nephew, who it would be fair to say was not a fan of formal education. He is however really getting into work life and has an interesting perspective now that he sits alongside graduates on management training courses. Nephew is interested in sharing his experiences at any future #purposed events.
In summary, I like to ask why, what, how, when, where questions and think this campaign has potential ;-)
May 15, 2011
Family, each of us grow up supported by a collective of people who we discover along the way may or may not be directly related to us. In my world direct blood relations exist in low numbers... but lucky for me they are all amazing :o)
Going back a generation, as a child my fabulous grandparents, Dad's parents, had a massive positive impact on my life and twenty years on from their death I still miss them :(
Mum's parent's were absent from my life and figured very little in Mum's life...
I'm not sure at which point the small child that was me figured out that the older generation on Mum's side were Grandparents rather than parents to Mum. My sister and I always knew them as Nan & Pop rather than Grandma & Grandpa, but then using different names saved confusion, didn't it?
Curiosity is something I'm not short of... so I hope I wasn't too persistent in my childish "why?" type questions because the facts were a little low on the ground. In brief Mum was born during WWII. Her father, a spitfire pilot, went missing and was presumed dead months before she was born. Some time after the war Mum's Mum remarried and emigrated leaving Mum to be brought up by her Grandparents.
This sort of sets the scene for September 2010, inspired by watching BBC history programmes with extended narratives on WWII spitfire pilots, I sat with my laptop and started to frame searches based on the few known facts available on the life of my long lost grandfather.
Name: Karel Pavlik
Occupation: Spitfire Pilot, Czech free airforce attached somehow to RAF and based in Essex early 1942, missing presumed dead spring 1942.
Not much to go on... but the web is a powerful thing if you know how to go about searching!
At school, my history teachers knew nothing of Czech pilots in RAF, leaving me disillusioned, I dropped history at earliest possibility. Hopefully teachers in this digital age have a broader knowledge of WWIIcombatants!?
To be continued...
April 30, 2011
Writing about web page http://purposed.org.uk/events/purposed-psi-1/
Love an event that kicks off with Monty Python, provides free cake and has sufficient draw to pull 50 delegates indoors on a sunny Saturday afternoon! :o)
What is Purpos/ed?
Purpos/ed is a non-partisan platform for discussion and debate about the purpose(s) of education.
Purpos/ed kick started a debate in February 2011 that started with campaigns including encouraging people to contribute 500 words(February/March 2011) on their own blogs and these make excellent reading. People were then further encouraged to use quotes from the 500 word contributions 3×5 Flickr quotation mashups(April 2011).
The event of 30 April 2011 brought together people from across the country to discuss, debate and present their views on the purpose of education and ideas for moving the debate forwards and outwards. There was a strong feeling amongst some that this had to be beyond the boundaries of formal education.
So what next?
Well that is really over to all you people out there. This debate is open to all and has a serious need to hear more voices from all backgrounds.
What do YOU think the purpose of education is?
February 28, 2011
Writing about web page http://purposed.org.uk/2011/02/lets-get-this-party-started/
...well it seems a debate is about to kick off!
What’s the purpose of education?
Introductory blog post from Prof. Keri Facer of Manchester Metropolitan University (and formerly of Futurelab)
In the hope that these ideas might be achieved, I’d like to suggest some questions that contributors to the site could explore:
- What is your vision for the good society?
- What is the part that education can play in achieving that and what is the part that others need to play? Who are these others? What is/what should be their relationship to education?
- What are the building blocks we have in our schools and universities already that could move them towards that role?
- What are the building blocks outside formal education?
- What are the impediments to change and what causes them? And are there good reasons for these?
- What can I see of merit in the ideas of those who disagree with me?
- Do the ideas I suggest draw on the expertise and insight of others?
- Do the ideas I suggest offer enough benefit to outweight the disruption that they would cause in their realisation? how would we get there?
Really looking forward to watching this space... hope to get brave and dive in for a bit of active participation... call for action!
January 31, 2011
Writing about web page http://www.clublasanta.co.uk/
The snow seemed to never want to go, hands felt like they were iced to the handlebars for days on end (that despite 3 pairs of gloves!) really did feel more than ready for two weeks of sunny Lanza :o) ...even if my bike legs were not quite as willing! :S
Anyhow after a bit of persuasion the bike legs kicked in and with fabulous company provided by buddies from Warwick Uni Triathlon & Road Cycling Club managed to clock up quite a few miles including a couple of trips up to Rio, over Haria & winding back up Tabayesco, *phew* hello legs! Awesome to be able to swim under the sun in 50m pool that was not a chemical soup :p and run/walk routes provide their own mini adventures too :o)
Back to work with no time to ease in... flying start to the year!
November 29, 2010
October 21, 2010
Writing about web page http://chasinglegends.com
The Tour is full-on 23 day circus filled with spirit, passion, speed, endurance & magnificent scenery. One of the highlights of my 2010 summer holiday was the extreme buzz of catching up with the Tour for just a fleeting moment - it was hot and sunny that day too!
Massive challenge to translate even a part of that experience into a film. Chasing Legends is a superb effort and *really* pleased that tonight I caught it in big wide screen splendour.
Film includes contributions and appearances from Tour legends through the ages, living legends and legends in the making. For me Voight's voice provides outstanding contribution, although as always he's among a field of tough competitors! :o)
|From Tour 2010|
September 13, 2010
Writing about web page http://connect.downes.ca/how.htm
Time to dive into PLENK 2010 online course. Hoping to blog some reflections along the way and so this first #PLENK2010 post is just to set the scene.
PLENK2010 is an unusual course. It does not consist of a body of content you are supposed to remember. Rather, the learning in the course results from the activities you undertake, and will be different for each person.
When a connectivist course is working really well, we see this greate cycle of content and creativity begin to feed on itself, people in the course reading, collecting, creating and sharing. It's a wonderful experience you won't want to stop when the course is done.
July 26, 2010
Writing about web page http://quickrelease.tv/?p=1244
Simple yet effective
'This one runs on fat & saves you money' by Peter Drew of Adelaide
ARTIST & PIC INFOquickrelease.tv/?p=124
The 2006 LoveYourBike campaign by Manchester Friends of the Earth.
July 24, 2010
Writing about web page http://www.boingboing.net/2010/06/07/massive-packing-tape.html
100 lbs of packing tape went into this 530-roll spider-web, created by capital-letter-averse artists numen/for use.
Writing about web page http://eduvel.wordpress.com/2010/06/09/building-vles/
I used to hate the idea of VLEs because all they were becoming was online pigeon-holes for storing paper documents (paper-under-glass).
Must agree I share the frustration expressed here and the comments posted to this Building VLEs blog reflect common experiences for learning technologists world wide who are trying to encourage teachers to engage with the potential for using of technology in education.
Uploading documents should never be the beginning because in my experience it leads frustration both for teachers because it causes them more workload and also for those eLearning staff who are desperately trying to get educators to see beyond their physical filing cabinets and see the ‘e’ in eLearning not as an abbreviation for ‘extra’ but for ‘engaging’.
OK so seems everyone agrees on the barriers but how do we get educators to engage with this stuff?
Do these "develop by stages" approaches help or hinder?
In a sport which is no stranger to scandal and rumour, stories of motorised bicycles being used by professional cyclists have been spreading like wildfire through the peloton.
It's so stupid I'm speechless
said Olympic time-trial champion Cancellara.