Yellowing Pages

Here are some PDF scans of old books and stuff you might find interesting, note that some of the downloads are quite large to retain legibility.

‘Arrivee #26’ June 1989 – The magazine of Audax UK. BASIC code for a program to work out control timings. A call for LEL volunteers and more:

Arrivee #25′ April 1989 – The magazine of Audax UK. In which we can read an account of PBP 1891 and may consider entering LEL for the price of £10 entries ‘to arrive not later than June 25th’ (1989):

‘Arrivee #33’ Summer 1991 – The magazine of Audax United Kingdom. ‘Have you ridden round the clock yet?’ The Elenith 300. Letters – ‘A suggestion .. that we should encourage cyclists to attempt events on fixed wheel!

‘Arrivee #39’ Winter 1992. In which the new for 1993 Audax UK Fixed Wheel Challenge is announced, AUKs ‘rampant parrot’ logo is disparaged and the cover photo tells of miles in the saddle:

Why I Am A Vegetarian – An Address Delivered before the Chicago Vegetarian Society’ written by J.Howard Moore 1895:

A Simple Primer on Common-Sense Vegetarianism‘ by Henry Light (for 20 years captain of the Vegetarian Cycling and Athletic Club). Probably 1930s?:

The Vegetarian News – The Official Organ of The London Vegetarian Society‘ April to June 1943 discussing such topics as ‘The Protein Problem’ and ‘Diet in Pregnancy’:

Briault 24hr

Veggie G.H Briault rides the 1908 North Roads 24 hour (368.5 miles)

VC&AC Advert from 1928

VC&AC Advert from 1928


Abingdon Marathon 2012

Despite a snotty nose and an increasingly worrying dose of plantar faciitis in my left foot, for now subdued with a layer of ibuprofen gel, it was with a sense of confidence that I cycled to Tilsley Park for the start of the Abingdon Marathon. My revised target of 4:15 seemed very doable, the taper had left me feeling quite energised and the conditions, still, grey but not too misty, cool but not cold, were great.

A bit early this time due to my failure to get lost on the way, Peter turned up 20 minutes before the start on his Brompton to support then, just as we were called to the start, Maria appeared in VRUK vest and trademark green tutu. Onto the race track, 5 minutes milling about, then we were off – me strategically positioned near the back this being a chip to chip timed race.

A couple of miles of main road part closed just for us then we turned into Thrupp Lane where I was asked the ‘what do you eat?’ question by a vaguely familiar older runner with a moustache and an American accent. I’m never ready for this one so answered ‘a lot of beans’ which is at least better than ‘vegan junk food’ which I believe I came out with last time. My companion turned out to be a long term veggie, he gave up meat at Thanksgiving when he was 16, long enough ago for it to be a hippie thing. This was his 89th marathon and he was considering going vegan before his 100th. I mentioned the Northants Ultra and he said he ran that and was last hence the familiarity. Soon enough 5 miles had gone somewhere.

A shout of ‘come on vegans – you must be Nik’ turned out to be from faster VRUK runner Simon’s supporting partner. Maria’s other half, John, was stationed with the boom box on the cycleway after Sutton Courtney. Shortly after halfway a shout from following cyclists ‘keep to the right, the leaders are coming through’. Sure enough a Woodstock vest flew past like he was running a 5k then a couple of minutes later an Abingdon Ambler who I rightly guessed to be Paul Fernandez who would go on to win in 2:32.

Keeping my pace between 9 and 9:30 miles and necking an energy gel every 40 minutes or so all seemed fine and I was enjoying myself and confident at mile 16 as we ran towards Drayton for the second time. I don’t really know what went wrong, I remember pushing a little as my pace snuck below 9:30 on the slight incline. By mile 18 my left knee was hurting, I walked 30 paces to ease it which gave relief but didn’t fix it. So there I was yet again watching my plan dissolve as the whole world ran past. Walk a bit, jog a bit, lean against a telegraph pole to stretch it, 2 more ibuprofen, sit on a bench and give it a rub, walk 30 paces then jog for a few minutes. Soon enough I was near the back of the field struggling on in the cheerful but disappointed company of the slow and the lame. There seemed little point in continuing but also little choice but to do so. At least mind and soul seemed intact, it was just the blooming body that couldn’t cope.

Back into Abingdon by the Thames and lots of Abingdon parkrun folk marshalling around mile 23 so I put on a smile, have a joke, and keep running till I get round the corner by which time my sore knee seems to be spreading to surrounding muscle. Still, almost there and 4:30 seems possible. Through the underpass then walking up the exit ramp Maria catches me up and tells me we are going to run to the finish together. Maybe the ibuprofen had started to cut in, I manage almost half a mile before my knee cries ‘stop’ and I walk for 30 paces then catch Maria back up.

This is actually quite fun and lots of support what with 2 Vegan Runners vests together and it’s Maria’s local club organising so they all know her anyway. I can tell Maria’s really pushing herself so I get with the plan and only give into my knee once more and soon enough we are in the park where a huge puddle results in wet feet and then onto the race track where even the last 200m seems too far to go. Just before the finish Maria zooms off like a rocket and I cross the line a couple of seconds after her. 4 hr 30 min and 10 sec 643rd of 732.

Coffee, biscuit and a relax then Peter and I cycle back to Oxford together in our VC&AC tops, very slowly. The combination of fixed gear and my now cramping, but less painful, left leg offering some brief but excruciating moments of discomfort.

The next morning, ibuprofen and alcohol having mostly worn off, the knee itself is fine but the surrounding muscle, particularly the lat above, is very sore. My PF hasn’t really made itself felt yet but I expect it’ll be moaning by tomorrow. My right leg, the wonky one with the broken lump of metal in, doesn’t hurt at all and I suspect, not for the first time, that a lot of my problems are down to my lopsided gait and favouring the right at the expense of the left.

I’m a bit disappointed in the result though glad I finished. Part of me is tempted to enter another marathon soon, maybe an ultra, to treat Abingdon as a training run, something to be built on. I felt this after the MK Marathon hence entering the Northants Ultra shortly afterwards – I seem to be cursed with a ‘can I try that again and get it right this time’ outlook rather than the more sensible ‘never again’. I shall resist such inclinations though and give my body a chance to recover properly. No more races over 10k for the rest of the year and no more running until at least Thursday, maybe longer, is the plan. Maybe I’ll just have to stop running altogether for a bit to let the PF improve, I’ll see how it goes. I’m looking forward to some time out on the bike instead. My running distance target for 2012 was 1200 miles and I passed this somewhere around Drayton yesterday so at least that’s done.



Didcot 5 2012

I’d not been well for much of the 10 days in the lead up to the Didcot 5 (miles that is not km). A stomach disorder meant I’d hardly eaten anything the weekend before and I’d not slept well either due to the discomfort. I’d not been up to racing the Jericho Run 10k the previous Sunday and had taken the Monday off work, I was 3 kilograms lighter than usual by then. I felt a lot better by Friday but still had to cut my trail run short as I felt faint and weak running uphill.

On Saturday though I’d arranged to get on the mountain bike and recce the route for our section of the Real Relay with Matt. I seemed to manage that OK and we had a pleasant afternoon despite having to push through some of the muddiest bits. So I decided I was up for the Didcot 5 and settled on the plan of leaving the club vest behind and letting myself run reasonably fast while resigning myself that I may find Friday’s weakness returning with the effort and have to slow, even walk, if I felt faint or queasy.

A pleasant, if windy, ride out to the start at the Willowbrook Centre, out through Abingdon, Culham, Appleford then over a level crossing to follow a path that emerged at a roundabout in Didcot. Changed into my running shoes (I’ve not yet tried to run in my SPD cycling shoes but one day I expect I’ll forget). The start was on the other side of a playing field and it became clear that we would be finishing with a 200m dash directly into the wind.

I had found someone’s upload of the route from a previous year and it looked very convoluted, using the same stretches more than once but not in exactly the same way. I had a chat with Vince and Barry from Oxford parkrun, they commented that I wasn’t wearing club gear and I’d explained that I wasn’t expecting to run well.  The mayor started us off and sure enough a few minutes later we passed the 2 mile marker with a few groans of ‘if only’. The distinctive sound and smell of a steam engine emerged from behind the hedge and I realised we were next to the Didcot Railway Centre. The marshaling turned out to be well up to keeping us on route and I soon settled into enjoying the run along leafy cycleways I had no idea existed in Didcot just going where the smiling helpers pointed us.

Recently I’ve been running with the Garmin just showing heart rate and flashing up my pace at the end of every mile. I left it on these settings today and the first mile turned out to be about 7:30 minutes, I felt fine but eased of a bit for comfort. I had started very near the back and passed a few people but made sure not to get over excited and end up too far up the field. Soon I settled into pace focusing on an older Kidlington AC and the miles ticked by, one minute into the wind, the next with it behind, all just under 8 minutes.

My heart rate was up above 155 bpm but I felt pretty solid and was enjoying myself. A sub-40 finish seemed in the bag and, having already gained a few places at the expense of ‘gone off too fasts’, I gently passed Kidlington AC and, shortly after, Woodstock lady who had been in sight for the last few miles. Nearing the end and remembering the promised windy finish I left it at that as we turned the last hairpin and ran for the line. If I’d have known I was going to get 39:02 I’d maybe have pushed that tiny bit harder but as it was I almost joined those lying on the grass just past the line totally spent. Considering the quality of the field, it was a championship race of some sort, I was reasonably happy with 84th of 134.

There was squash at the finish and a free chocolate biscuit which I passed on. Also plenty of homemade cake but I didn’t ask if any was suitable for vegans. A fast and very well organised little race that I hope to return to. I was so pleased not to be feeling ill and weak anymore and a steady tailwind home only added to the joy. Come Tuesday my 4 mile run was back to slow and knackered but hopefully this was just residual tiredness and I’ll be able to make it round the NSPCC Half at Milton Keynes ok next weekend.




Otmoor Challenge 2012

They tell me 666 is the number of the beast and the beast in question seemed to be a bit of a donkey.

The Otmoor Challenge is never going to be a fast half marathon (though I notice the winner got round sub 1:15) what with a mixture of wonky farm track, stubbly rough strimmed grass, muddy puddles, stiles and a long hill. Last time I’d run in 2010 it had been hot and I’d suffered, taking off too fast then finishing in just over 2 hours after a walk up the hill. This time I did much the same but struggled with the strong south westerly wind rather than heat – I’m not a quick learner.

The plan was sub 9 minute miles all round to finish under 1:59. The first 3 miles, mostly off road, I was running more like 8:20s and passing too many people. I realised this wasn’t going to work by the time we’d hit tarmac and slowed a bit through the villages of Murcott (water station), Fencott and Charlton. I tried to pace myself by an older Alcester runner but he proved a bit inconsistent, speeding up every time there was roadside support – they all seemed to know him – then slowing after. Still too hard and by the time we hit Oddington at 6 miles I just couldn’t keep it up (though I did pass the Alcester chap).

Just to add insult to injury we left the road again here turning on to a tree lined track directly into a really strong wind. Then there were signs warning of rough track, roots and lumps to watch out for, slippery wooden bridges. A going on forever stretch on rough grass by a field where you could see runners way up ahead. It was hard to pass here as only a narrow path was runnable but plenty of people managed to get past me non-the-less. More water at Noke. I was fighting to keep the miles under 10 minutes by now and was keeping myself running with a promise of a walk up the hill at 10 miles.

The Otmoor Challenge offers a walk as well as a run and we occasionally passed bunches of walkers who had presumably been on route for about 4 hours by this stage. They all had a cheer for us and one bunch of kids would ran past us to stop and cheer then ran past again for a repeat – this didn’t quite have the intended effect as it made me feel even slower but couldn’t help but chuckle.

We turned onto the hill, the narrow road that led up from the Otmoor RSPB reserve to Beckley village. I ran the first bit then ran and walked the rest making sure to discipline myself to just walk to ‘the 3rd telegraph pole’ or whatever so I was in control. Just me walking near the bottom but quite a few more pedestrians near the top I noticed.

Another drink at the Beckley water station then last bit of climb before launching myself down the grassy slope that was our reward. Several stiles slowed things down a bit but after some woodland then track we were back on tarmac for the final blast. I almost managed to regain my 9 minute miles along here but it was all very hard work, even with the turn into the finish in sight it just seemed too far. I pushed best I could though and finished in 2 hours and 13 seconds, about 30 seconds faster than my 2010 attempt.

I was totally stuffed and very nearly threw up. After a drink and a sit down I decided to have a go at welly-wanging, perhaps this would prove to be where my talents really lay. Unfortunately, what with weak arms from the run and a total lack of coordination, I proved to be rubbish but possibly safer than the strong runner who had a turn before me and threw his second welly straight up in the air for it to land more behind him than in front. Riding the fixie home back over Beckley hill was tough!

Post mortem: at home I weighed myself and I suspect that I may have been a bit dehydrated despite using several drinks stations, the wind was too strong for any sweat to stay so I may have been fooled. I’d been wearing my heart rate monitor and the download suggested I was actually running near full effort for most of the race, even those slow miles and particularly at the end. More 10k pace than half marathon. On top of this it was only 13 days since my ultra race and I’d already run 15 miles this week so maybe a bit more recovery time for my ageing body would have been in order. Unfinished business here and next time I am definitely going under 2 hours!

I may be a mediocre runner and an incompetent welly-wanger but my first effort at cooking vegan pizza on Friday was not to be sniffed at, we made short work of that!


Chalgrove 10k 2012

I deluded myself into thinking I’d recovered quickly from the previous weekend’s Milton Keynes Deluge Marathon but the first few hundred metres of Abingdon parkrun’s first birthday informed me otherwise. Fortunately I quickly realised I wasn’t back up to speed yet so eased back enough to thoroughly enjoy the event while maintaining an acceptable pace. I even managed negative splits for once and managed to finish in the first half of the field though I think 25:29 is my second slowest to date.

With Bank Holiday Monday came the rain and the whole business of cycling out to Chalgrove and running 10k in the wet was starting to loose it’s appeal. I’d already deleted my 49:59 target time from my portfolio on Fetch as it didn’t seem realistic and I didn’t want to mess my legs up what with a 22 miler planned for Sunday. Still, no good moping about at home on a Bank Hol, so I put on my waterproof coat and boots and off I went.

The race was a centrepiece for the Chalgrove Festival and most of those already present at the rainy festival venue were runners. I locked my bike, queued and got my timing chip, changed my shoes, removed my cycling layers and went to have a pee and a look round as I’d 15 minutes to spare.

The fairground rides and stuff were quiet but there was a fine collection of old stationary engines, mostly 1930’s diesels and similar, and their enthusiastic owners had got most of them running, some operating water pumps and the like. They were all behind a tape barrier and closely attended so hopefully any kids would be deterred from sticking their fingers in 20 kilo of unguarded flywheel though I was tempted to ask the guy whose engine was powering a generator lighting 2 mains lamps resting in the wet grass if he’d had them PAT tested. They smelt comfortably of hot oil and emanated heat while gently ticking over their hypnotic long strokes.

Dragging myself away to dump my sweatshirt I tried to join in the coordinated warm-up but soon retreated when I realised I didn’t have the coordination to wave my arms about safely in a crowd. I settled for a run round the tennis courts. We gathered for the start where at first I wasn’t clear which direction we were going to run. I placed myself roughly mid-field and realised the finish timing mat was also to be the starting one. Noon and we were off.

We ran across the grass through the middle of the festival site then onto the road and through Chalgrove. Little groups of supporters cheered and the rain was gentle. I was comfy in just vest and shorts. I’d traced the route through on electronic OS mapping and it looked pretty flat to me despite them describing it as undulating, it did appear to dip in the first half and rise in the second though so I was prepared for this. We joined some quiet country lanes, the odd car but nothing to spoil the race.

A few runners passed me as I held my pace at just under 8 minute miles but I resisted the urge to chase them. We passed a fine old steam traction engine roller stopped at the side of one tree lined lane, he was doing a grand job of making the few cars and tractors behind him wait for us though I think he may actually have been having a mechanical.

I was feeling rather good and on target for 50 minutes at the halfway point though I did miss out on the water stop as all three water bearers were relieved of their wares by runners immediately ahead and it didn’t seem to matter enough to actually stop, even for the few seconds it would take for them to grab a fresh cup from the table. No matter!

The hill wasn’t so little when we reached it, nothing vaguely monstrous but enough to cost me a few seconds. I did seem to be passing more than passed though so pushed on the best I could to the top. Over the crest and we went down then up again – ok maybe undulating was a fair description after all.

A mile to go and I would still be able to get in under 50 if I kept trying. The 6th mile actually turned out to be my fastest but we did have a bit of a tailwind at that point so I can’t claim all the credit. Back through Chalgrove then back onto the festival site by a shorter route. I finished chip time 49:24, 142nd of 357 runners, and was rewarded with an orange running shirt which I put on straight away as I’d remembered it was still raining.

Riding home without refuelling was a bit of a mistake so I was knackered when I got home and spent the rest of the day failing to do much. A great little village run though and I hope to do it again.