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Man vs Barge

The weekend before the big Peak District Challenge, randomly, Michelle and I entered a race called (Wo)Man vs Barge. At the risk of spoiling the whole story, Michelle won and I sort of won.

The race was a random Facebook find which looked like a bit of fun during the last bit of tapering. It was a five mile jaunt over a hill racing against a canal barge travelling through Standedge tunnel, which I now know is the longest canal tunnel in the country. Whilst its great to know these things, coming from the Black Country I can’t help feeling a bit sorry for the Netherton tunnel which is legendary in its own right!

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The barge in all its glory

I’m not delusional about my running ability, I’ve worked hard over the last couple of years and can just about get a parkrun under 20 mins, but generally in races there are loads of quick people zipping off way ahead of me so I was pleasantly surprised to find myself running with the top five and being able to keep up! We were soon doing some serious incline when someone behind shouted we were all going the wrong way! I turned around to see a stream of runners going along a separate path! No!!!! This had seemed to be a chance to actually do well in a race! I bounded down the hill and soon met up with Michelle who’d also made the same mistake. By that point we were single file and walking with the main group and queuing to get over stiles, disaster!

As soon as I could, I made a break for it, knowing it was going to take some serious effort to get anywhere near the new front of the pack. Things started thinning out and I could see a couple of guys far up ahead and it took a big grit of the teeth to eventually catch up with them around about the highest point on the race. Like life, it was all downhill from here ūüôā Being in a team race next weekend any injury would be an absolute disaster, so I completely disregarded this and I flew down the hill as fast as I could knowing there were a couple of guys hot on my heels.

Suddenly I was at the end and was told I had come first.¬† This was slightly¬†confusing as there was a bloke in front of me! It turns out he was doing two laps so I’d “won” the one lap race! Given my mess up at the start I was grateful to accept and got presented with a Standage tunnel plaque! Mere minutes after I crossed the line Michelle came bounding over the line first female by loads and received her plaque! It was Cheshire cat grins all round – the Peak-District-Pork-Pie-Eating had clearly been working and¬†what a way to taper before our 50km run next weekend with a team win!! A beer on the canal path followed by chip butty at the local pub made for a great morning!

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Winners!

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Its longer than the Netherton tunnel ūüė¶

Peak District Challenge next weekend!!

A bit of final gear chat, I really am liking my Columbia Montrail trail shoes. So much so I’m going to use them for the Peak District Challenge to give them a proper long run out!

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Hazy Day

I went a bike ride today along the River Irwell past Salford Quays.¬† I’m not going to get very fit riding my bike because I keep stopping to take photos! It was nice though, a strange kind of hazy day.¬† I battled my way back through the city centre which seems to be getting very excited that Christmas is a month away.¬† I was so exhausted I had to buy a German sausage from the markets to keep the energy levels up ūüôā¬† One thing I have noticed about Manchester is wherever you go, there always seems to be a view of the Beetham Tower, so I think whilst I live here I’ll try to capture it from as many places as possible.¬† Here are a few photos.

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River Irwell heading out of the City

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A random spot on the river completely covered in Graffiti (notice Beetham Tower in the distance)

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The same vandalised spot.  It was so bright and colourful it actually looked quite nice!

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Another view along the river, scribbled in with the aid of Photoshop

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Shopping crazy, looking down Exchange Street.  Again, the Beetham Tower looming in the distance.

Route map

In true geek style, here is the GPS track of the route!

I have a few pictures from London I hope to post soon and have also been working on a new track.¬† Its a bit of a genre-jumper, so its taking a while to put together.¬† I’ve even managed to get some crunching rhythmical guitars from my keyboard.

Early Morning…..

I¬†emerged from bed on this fine Sunday at 7am and slipped into my best fleece, jumped on my bike and hit the road at 7:30am armed with a slight headache and my camera.¬† Here’s the results: –

Five-Ways

Cradley Heath High Street with not a car in sight, so i had to go for a retro feel.

Log

Just a log and a tree really, but it must be art when you look at it from a funny angle!

Horse

A distant view of St. Andrews Church in Netherton.  And a horse.

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There are some fabulous metal sculptures in Saltwells nature reserve.  This is one of them.

Engine-House

Old engine house close to the Netherton tunnel.

Engine-Wall

The brick wall in the engine house. 

Tree

A modern art tree.  Quite a common sight in Dudley.

I’ve also finally downloaded photos from my phone so have uploaded a few to the GALLERY