Sunday, 8 April 2012

The Cappuccino Tour

My legs felt fine after the long Lakeland 100 recce with John, which is always a good sign that things are going in the right direction. I had intended to do a longer report on our day out in the Lakeland sunshine but as Tracey and I were going away for the the week in our campervan, I thought I had better make some kind of contribution to the packing. The video summary from my previous post gives a good flavour of the day and for those that want a more detailed view, check out John's videos.

For the last week, Tracey and I have been doing some walking, based around Tyndrum and Glencoe. Over the years, Tracey has seen snippets of the West Highland Way, basically any part where she has dropped me off or picked me up, so we thought we would check out a few sections together.

The weather did not live up to the previous week's high standards and, in fact, threw us back into winter with a drop of snow, but it did make for some amazing views.

We arrived at Tyndrum on Monday evening and awoke on Tuesday to snow. The low-lying layer melted quite quickly, but up on the hills it was a different story. We caught the bus to Drover's Inn and walked back to Tyndrum and it was quite simply a stunning day - impossible to take a bad photo! My mind is never far from racing mode, so I thought I would try and get my head around the ups and downs of the woods above Crianlarich. Whenever I have raced through the woods, I have never managed to visualise the route correctly, so we came up with a system to split up this section; 4 climbs, long descent, 5 climbs, long descent, 3 climbs, long descent. So the mantra during the Highland Fling will be "4:5:3".

On Wednesday, we walked from Tyndrum to just past Bridge of Orchy and again caught the bus back to Tyndrum. The vote for best cappuccino of the tour went to the Bridge of Orchy Hotel. I wasn't really sure whether I would do some training on this trip or not, but after a day out walking, I figured a run on tired legs would be good training and get the blood flowing, so I did an easy hour in the evening and felt surprisingly good.

We left Tyndrum on Thursday morning, parking at the Glencoe Ski Centre so I could give Tracey a small taste of Rannoch Moor. The temperature was a bit warmer today and the low cloud made for some dramatic views. In the evening, we booked onto Invercoe campsite in Glencoe village, which had wonderful views down the loch. I went out for a run to check out a path that "might" take a route to Kinlochleven for Friday's walk. As I discovered, not a path for a nice relaxing walk; steep, rocky, muddy, etc. I did, however, come across Glencoe Locharn in the woods just above the village.

On Good Friday, after a much warmer night, we had a walk down to Kinlochleven and a look in at The Ice Factor climbing centre, The Aluminium Experience (a small museum attached to the post office; obviously) and a small bit of the WHW as it drops into the village. Surprisingly good cappuccinos in The Ice Factor, just for interest. Another run in the evening, followed by a SPECTACULAR sunset! This is why we got the van!

New screen saver on PC at home!
After a great week away, I feel like I have put many more hours into my legs without punishing them. I'm well recovered from last week's long run and ready to put in one more hard week of training before starting a two week taper for the Highland Fling 53 mile race. The thought of standing on the start line of a race again (14 months since my previous race!!) is just so exciting. Still haven't really formulated a battle plan yet. Do I just go out and smell the roses or do I push for a sub 10 hour PB? I know which way I am erring towards!


Andy Cole said...

I can never remember those ups and downs either, but the one thing I have fixed is that the wooden WHW sign is at the start of the last "up"! Great photos.

John Kynaston said...

Just caught up with this post!

Great photos and music. Looks like you had really good weather or was that selective photos!