Flashmob – The UK Freeze, Bristol

On Saturday there was another flashmob event in Bristol. This time in the Broadmead Shopping mall. I went with my flatmate to take photos. There needed to be more people but it was fun to watch. If you have seen the Grand Central Station version on YouTube you will know what I mean by a Freeze. Everyone is walking around normally then a signal sounds and all those involved freeze in action for a set period of time. At the end of the period the signal sounds again and they continue doing what they were doing as if nothing has happened. Very funny to watch.

My flatmate and I also ended up on the You Tube video at 2 minutes 35 seconds (photographing the participants). Check it out.

UK Big Freeze Bristol

Too many books to read

At the moment on my side table is The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown, Psycho Vertical by Andy Kirkpatrick, Five Greatest Warriors by Matthew Reilly and the latest Runners World magazine.

We saw Andy Kirkpatrick speak at TCA (The Climbing Academy) on Saturday. Talk about an epic lecture. We have heard him speak before up at the Kendal Mountain Festival. Very funny and inspiring. He is such a “non looking” climber that it encourages me. I know it sounds rather mean but in reality how many of us can truly look at someone like Chris Sharma and go “yeah I want to be like him” when the guy is SUPER fit, bronzed, stunningly beautiful and just incredible to watch on rock. Now Andy is the absolute opposite of this but in the same way he is probably more inspiring because I can see how he got to where he is and it seems far more in reach to me – a mere weekend warrior (if that!). To top it off his book is an excellent read and at this stage rather hard to put down, so I best get back to it!

Trail Running

On Friday I bought a new pair of trail running shoes. I have been holding off on doing it for ages but my court shoes just weren’t doing the job. Using shoes for exercise that they weren’t intended for – just plain silly. I have ended up giving myself yet another injury to my calf muscle by doing heel strike running with court shoes indoor on a treadmill. The initial injury was from squash and I have been rather naughty and caused more stress to it.

So, my new trail running shoes are a nice shiny green pair of Inov8 Terroc’s. Really lightweight and with a great tread on them I can get through the mud with ease now. In my court shoes I would be slipping all over the place. It was a great day for a run on Sunday and managed to clock up 6.5 km’s. This is the furthest I have run so far non stop. I’m rather proud of myself at this stage but have a long way to go yet. I’m trying to take it easy by improving my distance while trying not to inflict any further injuries.

I also put a vege curry together this weekend. Yum!

Kit review (no not the car, the gear)

I realised that when we came back from Finland I had completed most of the trip write ups. Then we took off to Paris and I never finished the remaining few days. I had also put together a review on some of the clothing kit we took with us. Thought I would finish this off and post it. I will then have to get on to finalizing the other days and posting them as soon as possible.

We purchased a few items before our trip to Finland but most of the gear we took we use daily in the UK. Yes, how sad are we that we still haven’t managed to acclimatise to the UK weather.

I was quite concerned that I would be cold in Finland but I also didn’t want to take massive amounts of luggage with me. This was my kit list: 2 pairs of fleece lined trousers (shower proof), waterproof pants, 2 pairs of thermal leggings, 4 thermal tops, 4 pairs of mountaineering socks, 3 t-shirts, 3 microfleece jumpers, Berghaus jacket with Gortex outer, Rab Neutrino down jacket, 1 pair of Scarpa hiking boots, 3 pairs of gloves (inner for dexterity, warm layer and waterproof layer), polarfleece buff, hat and of course a cozzie and personals.

The real winners on the trip would have to be the polarfleece buff, Icebreaker thermals, Rab Neutrino down jacket and the Berghaus Goretex jacket. I started out using the Rab jacket for everything including skiing. Then I found I got too hot, sweated too much and this left me with a damp down jacket which was not nice when we would stop for breaks. This was no fault of the jacket but just that I was overdressed for the conditions. So, I switched to doing the heavy exercise in the Berghaus jacket and inner which kept me warm but not overheated and sweat excessively. Then when we had finished skiing I would swap jackets for the warmth of the Rab down jacket.
The buff was excellent and really needed. I pondered for ages whether to bother taking one as all my jackets have high collars and warm buffers around them. In all honesty I am so glad that Steve convinced me to take a buff. It was a permanent fixture on my neck for the entire week. Very useful during skiing to cover your face and ears from the cold. Ice would start to form in my nostrils so I would use the buff to cover my mouth and nose created a warm environment and no ice.

Thermal leggings and tops were purchased from Icebreaker. I baulked at the prices while purchasing them but they proved their worth in Finland. I alternated between a pair of Icebreaker leggings and some cheaper KMD ones that I bought years ago. The KMD’s worked but I preferred the Icebreaker pair for softness, slightly warmer, longer leg length and the ability to wear them for longer periods of time without getting smelly. Sounds gross I know but when you are out bush you don’t have a choice.

Almost forgot the head torch. Steve purchased 2 head torches before we left. These were fantastic pieces of kit especially for the night skiing. Sun up was normally around 8.00am but it wasn’t daylight until at least 9.30am. It started to get dark again around 2.00pm and night by 3.30pm. In short we didn’t get a whole lot of daylight hours. Although quite well lit around the town and the snow manages to provide a lot of illumination in the dark the head torches were great when lighting a fire in the huts or checking maps/signposts on the ski routes. The torches would generally indicate the batteries were going flat (due to the cold) but once back indoors they would come right again. I always carried a spare set of batteries in my inside pocket to keep them warm. Even with the low battery light flashing the torches kept going and never once gave out during the whole 7 days.

We only got temperatures down to -14 degrees Celsius so this is as far as the kit has been tested. The only area I was chilled were my legs. It was bearable but had it gotten colder I think I would have been in a bit of trouble. I generally wore a pair of leggings, a pair of fleece lined trousers and my waterproof covers. A pair of ski pants would probably have been a bit more useful had it been colder. One night Kerryn and I went out for a walk into town to mail some post and headed out onto the lake Aurora Borealis hunting. It was already -12 at the time and dropping so I added another layer to my legs – a pair of my flannel pj bottoms complete with Winnie the Pooh on them (under my waterproofs of course) this seemed to do the trick. I wouldn’t recommend this as a permanent option but in a worst case scenario it worked a treat for me. 😉