Climbing wall…

Day out with boys 08.05.14 - 31out

 

Climbing stretches…

I’ve been meaning to get these images onto my blog for ages. Seven really useful stretching diagrams to give a good all round stretch, mainly for during and after climbing/bouldering, once the body is warmed up a bit.

(I honestly can’t remember where these are from but I will be more than happy to state a source if someone can let me know).

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Painswick bike ride, computer test + Endomondo…!

Tackled a serious hill ride to Painswick yesterday. Some of the steepest hills i’ve ever ridden on but some very nice countryside and landscapes. Certainly the hardest 15 miles i’ve ever done : )

I spend 45 minutes setting up the bike computer and also found a tracking program app for the Blackberry called Endomondo, which I also tested. This is just started then left to track progress on the route.

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Bike ride 19.04.14 Bike ride 19.04.14 b Bike ride 19.04.14 c

Here is the link to the ride on Endomondo!

The bike computer read 24.2km (15 miles), and Endomondo said 23.8km, which is 400m less than the actual distance – not too bad! Max speed was clocked at 51 km/h!

Endomondo ended up giving some really cool information, including heights, distances, speeds, split times for each ‘lap’ (km). Some cool graphs on there too. The ride up The Portway was ridiculously steep – I had to stop twice then just gave up and pushed the bike up the last 100m! 175 metres up, over about 1km. Met a young guy walking his horse down the hill as it was too steep to ride and also went past a lady running in the other direction (once i’d cleared the top of the hill) who shouted ‘wow, you must be fit to get up here!’ I just replied ‘yeah – maybe, maybe!’ She hadn’t seen me pushing the bike up the hill!

Through Sheepscombe (Butcher’s Arms pub looks really good!) then downhill towards Painswick, then a long uphill through Painswick and beyond. Finally a long and very fast downhill ride back into Gloucester (max speed was clocked at 51.9 km/h (32 mph).

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England’s starting Xl…?

I just came across this graphic from the Guardian which just about sums up all the good things happening at LFC right now, in relation to English players.

England Xl

Courtesy of: http://www.theguardian.com/football/who-scored-blog/2014/mar/04/roy-hodgson-england-premier-league-liga-europe

We’ve seen a huge leap forwards in consistency and quality from Liverpool this season – number 1 at Christmas and now only 3 points from the top with 10 games to go – the momentum is growing and the belief is back.

This has been achieved with the consistent inclusion of a bag of English players, including Henderson, Gerrard, Sterling, Sturridge, Johnson and Flanagan. Out of these 6 players, I would honestly include all in the England squad on the plane to Brazil for the World Cup. Of these, Henderson, Gerrard, Sturridge and Johnson are first team players and I would hope they start each game.

This has to be a good thing for the England team – 6 English players playing in the team sitting 2nd in the Premier League. I’m actually looking forward to the World Cup : )

YNWA

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A crazy season of football (and not even half way through)…

There have been some very strange, weird and wonderful patterns and moments during the Premier League football season so far.

The biggest change has been at Man United. Faltering after the retirement of possibly the most successful manager to ever manage a football team; the departure of Sir Alex has had a significant impact on the supposed reigning champions. His replacement, David Moyes was certainly my pick as maybe the best British manager in football and a consistently solid professional, finishing above LFC with far more limited resources.

Jose Mourinho back at Chelsea. Another big move and a sign of a shift in power over future seasons. He had achieved everything with Real Madrid and after Ferguson, possibly the next best manager around, now managing at one of the richest clubs in the world.

AVB has been sacked after 7 new players somehow failed to immediately gel as a unit and take the world by storm – no surprises there! A little harsh but after home defeats to West Ham 3-0, Man City 6-0 and lastly Liverpool 5-0, the writing was on the wall in large capital letters.

Arsenal back on top for most of the season, after loosing their opening game with a massive over-reaction by many fans. This had followed a poor ending to the previous season but was not a sign of things to come. The signing of Mezut Ozil from Real for £42 Million has transformed Arsenal from just potential, into real contenders for the title after so many years.

A very slow start by many of the big teams, but a very solid start by Liverpool. After what had been a long transition year the previous season, with some huge performances but also inconsistency, this season has been more consistent.

Suarez-mirror-sport

(image courtesy of: http://www.sportshaze.com/luis-suarez-im-staying)

The many troubles with Mr Suarez had dominated the press and his 10 match ban meant that Liverpool were without his services for the first 7 games of the new season. Some thought this could damage our season but it ended up having a significant benefit – Daniel Sturridge blossomed in attack and a series of 1-0 wins ensured the Reds have been near the top since the start, and since Suarez has returned, the whole team has been transformed.

Suarez has just signed a new 4.5 years deal (£200K a year and the club’s most expensive ever player) which comes during the middle of possibly the hottest streak the Premier League has ever seen. Heh as just become the first Premier League player to score 10 goals in a single month and has propelled LFC to the top of the table.

His 4 goals against Norwich were the best set of goals i’ve ever seen.

Prem table 21.12.13

So, as of 22nd December, LFC have 2.1 points per game over what is nearly half the season. If Arsenal fail to beat Chelsea tomorrow, which is certainly a realistic possibility, Liverpool will be top of the table at Christmas!

LFC are the second highest scoring team in the league with Suarez being the top scorer. Brendan Rodgers has done an amazing job so far. Every press conference he gives now is assured, eloquant and informed. Everything about LFC is confident right now – and that is without the injured Sturridge and Captain Gerrard! Alongside Stevie, Henderson is one of the most improved players in the league, with Coutinho at only age 21, now being a key part of the creative and attacking midfield.

Loving the season so far and can’t wait for the 2nd half. YNWA.

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Torch FLUX backpack…

I must have looked through 500 different backpacks to find a replacement for my trusty Northface one which i’ve had for 13 years. No sooner had I found the perfect one, I found out that it wasn’t even available yet – the factory was shut for Chinese New year and the light system was being re-designed! It will be available to pre-orders only (!!) soon but not in time for my trip to the States.

Anyway, this is one very cool backpack. Not only does it light up but appears to be extremely tough. The red panel on the front is driven by USB rechargeable batteries, with fibre-optic cables and LED lights.

torch backpack

Image from: sofreakingcool.com

Torch-FLUX-Backpack-0

Image from: coolmaterial.com

The light can be set to different on modes, including flashing and will be ideal for the dark and wet British winter on the bike. It’s fully waterproof and has enough capacity for a range of uses.

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Day 056 – Gloucester to Ross-on-Wye bike ride…

After 46 Miles (76 KM) of hills and heat, i’m back home and not feeling too bad. One of the hottest days of the year and right in the middle of our UK heat wave, Mr MCK and I decided on a round trip into the Forest of Dean, to Ross-on-Wye. Glos - Ross bike ride 07.07.13 - 23 Some amazing scenery on-route, with our journey taking us via Newent. Some challenging hills and we even had to get off the bikes and push a couple of times!

We had a well-deserved stop in Ross by the river with a pint of cider. Maybe not the best idea in terms of energy levels but nice : ) Ross bike ride 07.07.13 At the same time as our journey back, Andy Murray was in the process of comprehensively beating Djokovic in the Wimbledon final – I was hoping Murray would drop a set so I could catch the end but he wrapped up his first Wimbledon title in straight sets. At one point I was checking the sat nav on my mobile phone while also checking the final game points in the tennis! Well done Andy!

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Day 029 – Eastnor Castle bike ride…

On the way back from Eastnor Castle, we passed a field with two donkeys by the side of the road.

Eastnor Castle bike ride 09.06.13 - 31

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Eastnor Castle, Ledbury & north Gloucestershire bike ride…

I’m always surprised by the beauty of the landscape which surrounds Gloucester. Literally just to the west of the built up area of the city, is the River Severn, with it’s wide floodplain area. This natural feature has stopped all development to this side of the city since it’s founding in AD 83. This also provides direct access to the countryside at a very close point to the city centre.

Mr McK and I had a target for the day: Eastnor Castle, near Ledbury. Google maps said 17.2 miles one-way, which in the end turned into a total of 42 miles.

Gloucester - Ledbury bike map

We saw some amazing rolling landscapes, timber-framed historic buildings and Ledbury itself was quite a picturesque place. Strawberry fields covered by acres of polly tunnel covers was quite a sight.

We stopped at the 7 Stars pub in Ledbury for some great local ale, then headed back out of Ledbury south towards Gloucester. What a ride that was. Hill after hill after hill! Some hard riding but the next pub stop at the A417 Watersmeet for a well-earned pint of Doom Bar made it worth it : )

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Reading v Liverpool: another 2 points dropped…

Well, this partly sums up Liverpool’s season, lots of potential, creativity and intent, but the finishing off needs work. Liverpool have scored a lot of goals this season and are only just behind in the charts to Chelsea, Arsenal and Man United. This is a bit distracting because there have been some high scoring games, but also games when just a single goal was needed at the end of long periods of pressure.

Inconsistency has ruled the season and the effectiveness of the team needs a lot of work, particularly in turning possession, creativity and pressure into goals.

The Reading game was so one-sided – they had a few chances on the break but we had 2/3 of the possession, 26 shots (nearly 4 times as many as Reading), 15 shots on target (3 times more) and 9 corners. Great stats but the only stat that matters in the end is the score. This sort of dominance has to be turned into points next season.

It has to be said that their keeper put in an incredible performance with a series of amazing saves. Not the first time this season LFC have been on the end of some inspiring action from an opposition keeper!

Reading v Liverpool13.04.13

The big story since the transfer window has been the early scoring of Sturridge and the creativity and assists of Coutinho. We now have two excellent strikers and more threat from a creative midfield, with Downing and Henderson finally starting to play well. Reina in goal has picked his form up but this is countered by the drop in form of Martin Skrtel.

Overall lots of positives but a couple of signings needed in the summer if LFC are going to be able to convert 7th in the league into 4th.

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Serious squash action…!

I took up playing squash maybe 4 months ago now and now try and play once a week – I thought i’d check out what the top level players were doing. This kind of puts my level into perspective!

Ramy Ashour is incredible!

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The Man Who Cycled the World…

Inspiring, exciting, tiring and educational… Mark Beaumont is ‘The man Who Cycled the World’.

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In 2008, Mark beat the previous world record for a continuous cycle around the world by 2 months, and he averaged something like 100 miles per day over a period of 194 days (more than 6 months)! An incredible journey of 18,296 miles through Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Australia & New Zealand and finally the States.

Mark is also a vegetarian (or was normally) but he had to resort to all sorts of food on his journey just to get the 6,000 calories per day needed to keep himself going. Also home-educated for his primary school years, this is an inspiration for what can be achieved through experiences of non-formal education.

The cycle was also documented in a series of films for BBC Scotland and having watched one of them on YouTube, they are worth watching to get a different experience of his experience.

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Bouldering…

Another week, another bouldering session. Lots of photo potential in there.

Making progress again after the long lay off and shoulders starting to hurt! Love it.

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Hillsborough tribute…

Having failed to come up with anything original, past what hundreds of others have already done, since the publishing of the independent panels report into the tragic loss of 96 Liverpool fans, I thought pictures would say more than words…

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