Saturday, 27 October 2012

Tunnel 2 Towers Run

Last Sunday, I was joined by my friend Rosa & we competed in the Tunnel 2 Towers Run (T2T).  This originates in New York & commemorates the life of a Firefighter called Stephen Siller who after the attacks of 9/11 did what most of us in the emergency services would have done & went straight back to work.  He couldn't get to his station because of the traffic, so donned his uniform & equipment & then ran 5k from where he could park, through the tunnel to Manhattan & ground zero to help others. Sadly he was one of the many emergency responders who died that day.

In NY they do an annual T2T run for the fire brigade widows & orphans.  London was the first major town outside the USA to copy this.

We met at Southwark Park & then ran through the Rotherhithe Tunnel & finished in the shadow of Canary Wharf on the Isle of Dogs.  It was a really good atmosphere, well organised & raised a great deal of money for the UK Firefighters charity.  Everyone who took part were friendly & chatty, it was a real 'fun run' as opposed to a race.  I didn't get the opportunity to remind the many fireman there that God created Policeman, so Fireman can have hero's, but I will next year!!

The 5K route

Rosa & I at the start

I was please with my run & for the first time maintained a sub 10 min mile over any distance.  Roll on the 18th November when I shall be attempting a 10k round Regents Park

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

A dirty weekend!!

Well some times keeping fit just has to be fun, there was no pressure on times for this one, when I went with a group of friends to Devon for a dirty weekend!!!

Some months ago Becky at work suggested that I do the Commando Challenge, which is a 10k obstacle course over the Devon countryside, with mud & water & more mud!!!

We drove down on Saturday morning for our ridiculous early morning start on Sunday & got down & dirty!!

The route is a 3k run over fields & roads to the main event, straight into a tunnel, which is pitch black inside & we couldn't see a thing, had to go by touch 'Oops sorry madam was that your bottom!', well that was my excuse!!

Out the other end & into Peters' Pool.  I think the expression on Becky's face tells you how cold it was!!

Freezing is an understatement!!

More water & loads more mud, but what fun.  Definitely going to do it next year!!



It was an amazing time & we laughed all the way round, I am grateful for the generosity of my friends for their humour & patients in waiting for me to catch up.  I'm now on a diet to lose a few stones before the next one!!.... Thanks guys xx

Footwear was a problem for the event, we all took boots with us as well, but decided on trainers & I'm happy to report I didn't get sucked off in a bog!!

One of the many tunnels we crawled through, they of course were pitch black when we did it!

The crocodile pit, smelly thick slimy mud

Entrance to the 'smartie tubes'

The question is would I do it again, too bloody right & I'll be there again next year for more of the same!!!  Come & join me should be a laugh!!

Our finishers medal

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Planes, Trains & Automobiles!!!

Well on Monday 6 of us left London & cycled to Dover in some truly miserable weather.  It started badly when as we went to pull away Dave had a flat tyre, not to worry that was quickly repaired.  Up & over that awful hill at Wrotham & onto the nice descent towards Maidstone, again no drama's.  We stopped at the transport cafe just shy of Ashford for a bacon sandwich & off again.  My how the rain came down & sadly Dave had another puncture.  This was mended & it was plain sailing to Dover.

We boarded the ferry to travel across to Dunkirk & as we went onto the car deck, I heard this noise from behind me to see Rae skidding across the deck on his arse. Car decks on ferries are sheets of metal covered in paint.  Not a good mix for thin wet cycling tyres at 110psi!!

No damage done, apart from a little hurt pride & we were off to Ghent, cycling through France into Belgium with wonderful flat roads.  All had purpose built cycle paths next to them & if the weather had been kinder it would have been a happier affair.

Rae did well, not falling off again until we stopped in a little Belgium village for a well needed hot chocolate to warm ourselves up with.  He hit his front brake on some parve & it was good night Vienna for him again.  Good news again no injury & we hardly mentioned it too him again.... much!!

A coffee stop in Belgium

Adam at John Frostbrug, which for me was a bridge too far!!!

It was then a very wet & cold ride to Ghent.  Nice hotel, good meal & a good nights sleep.  We had cycled about 155 miles

Day 2 was kinder towards us weather wise, no rain & no strong headwinds.  The plan was for 160 miles on day 2 & quite frankly after about 80 I dropped out & got in the van, I wasn't up to it.  However before I became the map reader as we went through Antwerp Dave had the best 'off' of the tour.  He of course blames the tramlines & he almost recovered it.  It was like a hop skip & jump of the fall, again fortunately no injury of any note.

We made our destination around 11pm in Arnhem, a few well deserved beers & then bed.  We were looking forward to a leisurely breakfast & then getting the train to Brussels & then the Eurostar home.  Well that was plan 'A'.  Just happened to catch the Dutch TV news channel & although I couldn't understand what they were saying,  worked out that the Belgium's were on strike & there were no trains..... Plan 'B' then.  Our day went from bad to worse!!  Adam had left by this time with the bikes in the back of his van

Plan 'A' - Train to Brussels & then the Eurostar 

Plan 'B' - Train to Lille & then the Eurostar home..... Belgium isn't a big country until you have to try & work a way round it by train. Would have meant getting a train to Germany & then Switzerland & I think Spain was even mentioned??!!!

Plan 'C' - Hire a car, drive to Lille & get the Eurostar home - Spoke to Herts & yes they had a 5 seater car & yes we could leave it at Lille station.  Fantastic we were in business.  Got the bus to Arnhem & found the hire company.  Booked the car & just about to sign the agreement, when I thought hang on the Dutch don't use Guilders anymore & that can't be the price in Euros.  They wanted €750 to leave the car in France.............. I was lost for words

Plan 'D' - Right we'll get a train to the Hook of Holland & get the ferry to Harwich & then a train into London.  Got the Soup Dragon to check the last train times from Harwich back to London & we doubted we would be back in time as the crossing takes 7 hours.

Still laughing at our situation!

Plan 'E' - Buy a second hand car & just leave it at Lille?

Plan 'F' - Buy bikes & cycle to Lille (Yes we actually thought of that)

Plan 'G' - Get a train to the edge of the Belgium boarder & wait until 10pm when the trains started to run again & have a shandy or 2?!

Plan 'H' - Book into a hotel & stay an extra night

Plan 'I' - Get a cab.... silly would be so expensive!

Plan 'J' - Train to Schiphol airport & fly back, a quick check on the iphone & it would be about £75 each.  

So we merrily jumped on the train to Schiphol Airport & went to the British Airways desk & tried to book the tickets for £75.  Needless to say they wanted to charge us over €350 each..... thieving bar-stewards

Plan 'K' - We went to the KLM desk & managed to get the flights for €200 each & had a very pleasant flight back to Blighty

I got the DLR to Woolwich & then a bus home

I think over the past 2 days with the exception of a helicopter & a submarine we have done all forms of transport!!!

We did laugh about it all day though & certainly cheered a few people up with our tails of woe!!