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Training Log Archive: OutdoorsMama

In the 7 days ending Sep 24:

activity # timemileskm+m
  Touring Bike2 8:35:00 80.0(9.3/h) 128.75(15.0/h)
  Trekking2 2:00:00
  Jogging1 32:00 2.64(12:07) 4.25(7:32)
  Total4 11:07:00 82.64 133.0

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Saturday Sep 24 #

Jogging (streets) 32:00 [3] 4.25 km (7:32 / km)
shoes: Hoka

Welcome back to reality. Fall harvest is here, so stupid long hours of work are here, and squeezing in a short jog before dropping into bed is here.
Wonderful stars....even saw a shooting star. I wonder if any of the WT folks were looking up and saw it too.

Tuesday Sep 20 #


Gear notes:
We both rode steel bikes....mine is a Trek 520 Disc and Paul's is a Raleigh Tamland. Both bikes had 4 panniers and a bag under the top tube. Paul had a little cockpit bag for snacks and his phone while I had a handlebar bag for a waterbottle and a couple snacks. We had day-light visible rear flashing lights going all the time, and almost always a flashing front light. Both bikes needed a brake cable adjustment three quarters ofmthe way through the trip.

The weather forecast was for what we would consider to be cool weather after this scorcher of a summer....lows 10-12 C (50-54 F) and highs in the mid to high 60's, or even to low 70's F (15-22C). And rain. So we had to pack a few more clothes than what we took on our hot weather bike trip last summer. And long sleeves/long pants take up more room in panniers than shorts and t-shirts, Captain Obvious. I had a base layer (which I used as sleepwear), tights, capri bike pants, shorts + bike liner shorts, zip off pants, jeans, merino long sleeve top, one technical long sleeve top, plus full rain gear (including shoe covers), a light fleece, a high viz windbreaker and a light gortex jacket. The thought was that biking/hiking in 15 C weather would require a couple layers, and then additional protection from the wind. Hanging out at the campsite in 10 C weather would also require a couple layers. Going to the pub in the evening would mean long pants in the cooler conditions. A couple bike jerseys and a merino t-shirt rounded out the wardrobe. And 3 pairs of merino socks. Thanks to the surprisingly (unexpected, uncharacteristic) warm weather, the tights and the thin fleece could've stayed home. Ditto for the light gortex jacket, as wind and rain seemed to avoid us (not that I am complaining!). But had we been out in windy conditions with temperatures at the low end of the seasonal range, those items would've been very welcome. Bringing jeans is always debatable. They are bulkier to pack than my zip off pants, but they are warmer, and very versatile. Maybe TMI, but I had dark jeans and they survived 2 flights and at least half a dozen pub trips without washing. The merino t-shirt was worn about 10 times (including the flights, and often as a first layer under my bike jersey), and it survived the whole trip without washing (and it didn't smell bad, despite the sweaty efforts on the hills). The merino socks each were worn at least twice before washing, and didn't stink out the tent. I need to get a high viz rain coat with excellent venting that I can wear most of the time while cycling, and hiking. Then one piece of gear can do 3 jobs. Oh yes, it needs to pack down to something quite small.

We took the tiny camp stove (and cookwear) and bought gas cartridges and matches once in Manchester. We cooked breakfast each day we camped, except for two times when we either headed into town for a breakfast sandwich or ate something packaged. Also made our breakfast tea and coffee each day. We only cooked supper two or three times, and ended up with one emergency supper pasta dish left over. The pubs were so handy and there was so much good good to sample!

The tent did well with the night rains, and the groundsheet kept the bottom of the tent dry. I used my slim Thermarest, but Paul had recently acquired an insulated air mattress that he had to blow up, but it was pretty luxurious and rolled up smaller than my Thermarest. We both had MEC inflatable pillows.

Hoping for more trekking opportunities, I brought my poles (knowing that they would also be an asset to Paul, if he joined me on a hike). I only used them 3 times, but appreciated them each time. They really didn't take up any room and don't weigh much, and I considered just bringing one. But when Paul did use them, he had one and I had one, so if I just had brought one......

Garry the Garmin.....well, maybe enough has been said about him. You can preplan routes and download them into the Garmin, but we didn't know how far we were going ahead of time, so I am not sure how that would work. Anyway, that prevents spontaneity. The Sustrans maps were OK out in the country, but we struggled with them in Manchester (the lack of street signs was probably a factor.....). If I could get wifi in the morning and brought up Google Maps on my phone, even without a data connection, our little blue dot on the map helped us out a few times. Until it quit moving, and I assumed it was still moving, which might be worse than never having that little blue dot..... ;)
The Americans we met had downloaded local maps on their phones that also seemed to have that "where am I now" feature, without data.

I brought a battery pack that is supposed to have enough juice to charge a cell phone twice. So if it was charged, we would top up Garry, add some juice to the rear flashing lights on our bikes, Paul's front light, and our phones. We knew that Garry was an energy hog and would not last a whole day of navigating. We had some challenges with that as the two nights we stayed near Dalston were without a means to charge it up, so we were pretty well out of juice when we were at the train station waiting to go to Scotland. It got at least half a charge at the info desk at one of the Hadrian's wall sites, since I wasn't shy about asking/looking for power outlets anywhere. I have a small solar charger, but heck, England is always rainy and gloomy, so why bring that? (It made it to the Toronto airport, but at the last minute I decided to leave it in the car, thinking we would not get much use out of it....should've brought it and left the tights at home, as it turned out. Serious bike touring folks have a dynamo on their bike. I understand why.

Monday Sep 19 #

Trekking (Hills) 1:00:00 [3]

When we saw the 25% grade sign, we opted to lock our bikes up to a hedge and walk up the hill to the White Horse of Kilburn. Of course we had running shoes in our panniers, but opted to climb the moist, moss covered paved road with our bikes shoes. We returned via a dirt path that allowed for a less tense descent.

I could see for miles.

Touring Bike 4:15:00 [3] 41.0 mi (9.6 mph)

Bike from Campsite near Beadlam to Thirsk, then train back to Manchester

Noisy neighbours last night. No, not the campers (there was only one other tent there). There was what sounded like a large flock of geese on a neighbouring farm that honked a lot in the night. The horses and the cattle in the adjoining pasture had a few things to say in the night. And a kennel full of hunting dogs launched into full cry at some point in the middle of the night. And we woke to a light rain.

We packed up as much as we could, without taking the fly off the tent. Had a "Wheetabix" breakfast drink each (like our Carnation breakfast drinks) and some Pecan Pie flavoured pecans and raisins, then it paused raining long enough to put the tent away. Not that it really mattered since it was our last night of camping (sniff...) but hauling an extra couple pounds of water in the form of wet gear wasn't on our agenda.

I finally had Garry the Garmin figured out. He made bad decisions when I gave him too much to compute, so I just gave him info on a need-to-know basis. I looked at my trusty paper map, and said, Garry, get us to (town x), which is about 5 miles away. Then when he did well on that, I gave him another mini-goal. However, I got suckered back into trusting him with a bigger job, and it caused us about 3-4 extra miles and one LONG climb. Not that it was a big deal, but I'm telling you, he can't be trusted.

After a long descent, we stopped the village Post Office in Ampleforth, which was also the grocery store. They had homemade scones, and we each inhaled a couple. And a café mocha (shared). And since I hadn't fully explored the candy selection in the UK, I picked out something called a Walnut Whip. And a Yorkie chocolate bar. Those lasted about 5 miles. I checked into mailing a big brown envelope of maps home, but I thought that £10 was a bit much, so I kept hauling them around.

There was a humble bike pushing session to get us out of the village, then we were flying down hills and pedalling hard to get up the next one. I thought I saw ABA (another bloody abbey) through the hedge, and sure enough, we came upon one. We didn't explore it though, and carried on.
Now there were decent cross road signage for our next destinations, so it wasn't any bother that Garry had run out of juice. When we got to the White Horse of Kilburn, we locked up our bikes and walked up.

Then it was a couple more ups and down and we were in Kilburn, where a cheese tray and a pot of tea had our names on it. This was at the Robert Thompson "Mouse Man" museum. £99 for a small cheese board to take home seemed a bit much, so 3 little wooden mice came away with me as souvenirs.

It was quite simple to follow the road signs to Thirsk (we were determined not to have to push our bikes anymore, and it was a close one, but we made it up the last few hills). The last bit was on an A road but it wasn't too busy. Thirsk is Darrowby in the James Herriot books. This was the last item on my list of places to see. To see Skeldale House, after reading about it for so many years, was pretty neat. It was a worthwhile stop, and we could've spent more time there.

Then it was on to the train station, which was very unfriendly to bikes loaded down with panniers. We had to go down 2 flights of stairs with our bikes, which was actually worse than going up 2 flights at Carstairs. I took a set of panniers off, which made it easier, but should have taken both sets off. As usual, as luck (or the efficient UK rail service) would have it, we only had to wait about 40 minutes for a train back to Manchester. The conductor looked at our tickets and our bikes and said, "You didn't want to bike back?" We could see the White Horse of Kilburn for miles and miles as we headed south and west. The train got fuller as we neared Manchester. It went through some long tunnels in the Leeds area as we worked our way through the Pennines.

Then a train switch at Manchester Picadilly onto our first very crowded commuter train (it was 6 pm and folks were heading home, out of the city), but we got our bikes on and off without too much trouble. One more set of stairs to ascend, a couple short jaunts on now familiar streets, a stop at one last pub for supper and a pint, and then back to the hotel to pack everything up again.

I had the tent fly spread out in the bathroom all night, drying out. It was to go in my luggage, and I didn't want to go over my weight limit due to bringing water to Canada. Packing up the bikes was easier this second time.

Sunday Sep 18 #

6 AM

Trekking 1:00:00 [3]
shoes: FellRaiser

Brrr, that was a cold night. I had somehow managed to hog the emergency survival blanket (recycled from a long-ago half marathon), so had stayed warm enough, but Paul was not so lucky. This was our last morning up in the hills, so I had wanted to get up and go exploring as soon as it was light. I put my tights on (the only time I wore them on the hadn't been as cool/cold as expected), and set off. I followed last night's trail to a narrow strip of pavement, then turned south and east on the road for a bit. When I came to an ATV track into the heather/bracken, I followed it up onto the moor. The sun wasn't quite over the horizon yet, the sheep were grazing, I was among heather and bracken.....pinch me. I made my way back to another public footpath, followed a stream, lost the trail in bracken that was over my head (that would be nasty stuff to have to find an O flag in!), found it again, crossed the stream on a darling stone bridge, climbed another stile, watched sheep graze......and made it back to camp. I was soaked through from the waist down with cold, wet dew, and I was still in love with the English hills.
9 AM

Touring Bike 4:20:00 [3] 39.0 mi (9.0 mph)

Train from Goathland to Pickering, bike to campsite near Beadlam, bike to Rievaulx and back to campsite

Packed up, breakfasted, then rode our bikes the mile or so to the Goathland train station (well, pushed them the first few yards to get up a steep hill....surprise). We were early enough to allow me to go for one last trek up the hill behind the station....views, a sheep fold......oh yeah, gotta get back to my bike and train and husband.

This was a genuine old fashioned steam train. Complete with windows that opened between the cars, so despite the signs warning not to, I stuck my head out the window to get the view of the train curving along the track as we made our way south and west towards Pickering.

I hadn't studied any maps of Pickering, but luckily the train station was basically in the SW part of the city, so before long, we were out in the country, on some blissfully level, quiet roads. I was giving Garry small goals to achieve ("just get us to the next village"), and I was following my map, and all went well. I confirmed directions in a town with a local, and before long, we were at Canadian Fields, named for the nearby airfield that was manned by the RCAF during WW II. Well, we did check out another caravan type site that was actually at the WW II airfield by accident (or out of curiosity). There was an old, lovely stone memorial to the young Canadian men "who gave up their youth, and in some cases, their lives" at the crossroads leading to the old airfield.

We set our tent up at the campsite, and enjoyed quite the gourmet lunch in their teepee. I guess that's what Canadian's eat in. It was quite a novel setting.....maybe 50-60' diameter and the appropriate height....lovely sturdy, wooden chairs and tables, lighting, a small heater. It was apparently a popular place for Sunday lunch for non-campers as we got the only un-occupied table in the place. Unfortunately, they did not have Canadian wine.

Unburdened by panniers, we set off for Rievaulx Abbey. I had opted for the A road, as it would be a few miles shorter, and we didn't have a lot of extra time. Then we turned onto a B road in the town of Helmsley that was a long climb. It might not have been a "pusher" with the panniers on, but it would've been close. I stopped 3/4 of the way up to take pictures of someone ploughing, and a fellow on a road bike passed us. "Nice countryside," he said. "Pity about the hills." And I can't make those things up. Paul said "go catch him" so I set off......and did catch him as he studied his map at the top of the hill. So there!

There was a long, steep descent into the Abbey grounds, which filled me with a sense of foreboding about our trip out. Anyway, the Riveaulx Abbey was wonderful. It is a National Trust site, and they give each person a little thing like a walkie talkie that you use to listen to a great commentary on the history and the features of the Abbey, as you walk around it. The sky was clear, so the blue sky, green grass, and the ruins of the grand Abbey were extremely memorable. The only thing missing were some sheep grazing among the foundation stones.

We chatted with the fellow at the front desk on the way out, asking if there was an elevator we could use to get out of the beautiful valley, rather than that hill we came down. Well, there was another road out......not quite as steep, or so he said. And he was right. Yes, there was bike pushing (even without panniers), but it was no where near as steep as the hill we had come down.

One more supper in a pub in town (fish and chips) and a stop at the Co-op grocery store for some quick breakfast food. Then we biked back on the B roads in the dusk (we had brought lights), enjoying the peaceful evening.

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