Post holiday blues dispensed with and I'm back into the meat of my Peaks training this year. Plenty of Bull Hill reps, some brick sessions and a mini Peaks simulation. Or two.
I realised I had a route of almost uncanny similarity to the real Peaks just on my doorstep. At least in terms of rhythm, steepness of climb and similar terrain. Albeit a little shorter. As Bull Hill mercilessly exposes your weaknesses whilst strengthening them, this route mimics the on road/off road nature of the constantly changing effort that characterises a successful Peaks ride.
Whilst this lacks the length or severity of the real thing, it is useful nonetheless in my view for staving off the cramp attacks that sometimes bedevil my Peaks outings, given as I believe they are, to be caused by rapid changes in effort between foot and bike.
The keen eyed among you may notice that I didn't finish near my starting point - a further 40 mins on the road steady added to the useful mileage.
In terms of something rather different, I also took the opportunity of a work visit to the Lakes to get in a good run in the mountains. I parked up at Kirkstone Pass and ran up Stoney Cove Pike in the direction of High Street. It had been so long since I ran in the high fells that the feeling of space, solitude and allround 'bigness' was fresh and invigorating. I hope I can remain mobile and fit enough in the coming years to do that more often. As has been the pattern for the last couple of years making the same journey to the same conference at the same time of year, I saw Rob Jebb out riding, as I had in previous years, fresh from his altitude training in Spain.
Finally, I took an August Bank Holiday chance to meet up with Konrad Manning, Burnley born but London exiled in his work for Rapha. Konrad came up with a friend, Russ and my ever faithful Peaks support crew Mark took us all on a magical mystery tour through East Lancs moorland, bogs, quarries, ancient woodlands, mill town cobbles and river valleys. Plenty of single track, climbing and carrying all with convivial company. Bike sucking bogs and scarecrow festivals were all part of the mix in what was a great ride.
I've been finalising equipment choices too for September - more on that in a later post.