Thursday, 2 September 2010

Blue is the Colour!

Well the bike ride went OK apart from the weather which was a bit pants! Some big hefty showers combined with a strong, ahem, breeze made for interesting riding.

Our route was out of Embsay, home to most of the participants, over Halton Heights, down to Bolton Bridge then along to Ilkley via the steep hill of Langbar then over Addingham and Silsden moors before heading up to Lothersdale then back through Skipton. Quite hilly then! Halton Heights and Langbar weren't too bad as the wind was behind us but heading down in to Ilkley was quite dicey as the wind was now coming from the side and gusting through gates and gaps in the hedges. Heading out of Ilkley we were heading directly in to the wind so it became hard work, as was the climb up on to Addingham moor. We then cut round on to Silsden moor where the others headed straight back towards Skipton while Steve and I headed home - uphill and in to the wind again - it was a struggle to keep moving even on the flat. A total of 26 miles in all. No idea of the average speed but not huge I would have thought.

Sunday was climbing with Simon again. A late start given the showers during the morning. We took a punt on Blue Scar being dry, and it was! Apart from a couple of small streaks it was bone dry. After a couple of warm-ups we headed underneath the arch, an area I'm not too keen on as the path at the foot crosses the debris of a fairly recent rockfall from said feature - gulp! Our target was Scarface - F6c. I headed up to see how far I'd get as much as anything.

Getting the clips in almost proved to be the hardest thing, the bolts were just too high for comfort from the good holds. Consequently a couple of rests later I was at the lower-off. Simon managed it first go. However in the latest guide to the crag this is now given F6c+ so I don't feel so bad, definitely (another) one for the redpoint. After another (undergraded) route we were done.

Monday was climbing with Mike and Steve. They wanted to go to Blue Scar! Slightly different this time in that we headed to the left hand side for some trad routes rather than the sports fare we've been doing on previous visits. It's a long time since I've climbed on this bit, about twenty years in fact! First up was the only real option for a warm up - Some Blue For You at E1 5a. Steve set off first, Mike and I were going to lead on his gear (the craftiness of age!).

Steve leading Some Blue for You at Blue Scar

Now Steve hadn't been climbing for ages so took a while to get going, in fact he probably took longer for the first ten feet than the rest of the route. The upper wall is protected almost entirely by threads, one of which needs two 8ft slings to make use of! After Mike had done it, it was my turn and it did feel very easy climbing, there wouldn't have been much difference in putting the gear in as most of it could be placed from restful positions.

After threading the belay we decided to top-rope an E3 to the left and since I was already tied in then I may as well go first. Let's just say I didn't climb it in particularly good style, though Mike and Steve did. Mike and Steve then decided that they would top-rope Unreal but that meant climbing a grotty VS to set up the ropes so I ducked out of that. Given that I'd struggled on the previous route I wasn't too keen to do so again, plus I had done it several times in the past.

With a little time left we headed over to the right wing and did a couple of sports routes before the midges started to get bad and Mike had to get back for his wife's birthday.

My knees were a little sore after the bike ride - possibly because of the steep climbs and subsequent effort involved - so I don't think I'll be doing much running for a while as that is only likely to exacerbate the condition or at least have me hobbling for a day or two. Have done a bit of internet research on arthritis it seems that one of the best things to do, and one of the simplest and cheapest, is to lose weight. The best way is to take it easy - a pound or two per week at most - cutting out snacks and the like is also an easy hit. I'll just have to be strict about things. Trying to do too much will just cause the famine response where the body hoards fat because it thinks you are heading for a lean time.

With the good weather I've also been biking in to work and so far there hasn't been too much complaint from my knees. Looks like the good weather will continue in to the weekend so more biking and climbing ahead :-)

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