2/26 2012in2012, Tikka, Brecon, and Brenig

The last two weeks have been hard getting the miles in, first of all really cold, then really windy, then really wet and then chilly again.

At least good kit means that the cold stay outside, though Mrs C was pretty “impressed” when I came home with little bits of frost on my shoulders. For impressed read that she thinks I’m a little unhinged but then she is a tropical flower by her own admission.

Work got in the way too with a few 16hr days so I’m pretty happy that in the last two weeks I’ve managed 94 miles 2916m of ascent. That means year to date is 219.4miles and 5679m of ascent which is 64.6 miles ahead of schedule.

This mornings run was really nice, I felt strong and the hills were easy. I’m happy with where I’m at right now.

I broke my old head torch (a Petzl Tikka) this last week too, it’s an old friend that has done some special trips with me, Alps, Scotland, Mountain Marathons, got me out of scrapes night riding and been around Morocco on a motorbike. I’ve replaced it with the updated Tikka XP 2 against alot of advice that the Myo XP is the way forward. I’ll do a little write up when I’ve put some miles in with it.

I had a trip to Brecon with work promoting the tourism opportunity for Paddlesports in Wales with Visit Wales. I had a few spare minutes and wandered along the canal. I’d never realised that Aberhonddu (Brecon) is the end of the Taff trail- I really like the topographical casting they have outside the Brycheiniog Theatre. I can feel a family trip coming on!

Today we managed to get out in brilliant weather to Llyn Brenig. I can’t being really frustrated when I visit places like Brenig on clear bright beautiful days. The fact that the lake is not being used is an absolute disgrace-not by choice but by restriction. Amazing resources that could be unlocked sensibly for no cost. They stayed locked up with objection on Health and Safety grounds and from others who aren’t prepared to share – neither of which sit comfortably with me.

1/26 of 2012 in 2012

I’ve decided to update my 2012 in 2012 blog fortnightly-none of my training at the moment is in the daylight so it seems silly to just put an endless pile of stats up without any nice pictures.

As long as I’m staying ahead of my required average at this time of year I’m pretty happy-this fortnight gone has been generally pretty mild, wet, windy. There are already some Dafodills out, but the crispness of this mornings early run was great. Having slipped a bit in some ice on a road section of run I’d relaxed as I went down some trail. Whilst watching the IInternational Space Station loop across Cader Idris, though, I made a classic school boy error and slipped one ankle down a cattle grid in the dark. Only a bruise though.

The last few days with a really bright moon and a clear sky have meant gloves on, but head torch off.

Generally I’m trying to run in the evening to fit in better with the family, but I’m definitely a morning-is-better kind of guy. Saturday are my long runs so I still try and roll out of bed before 6am, then I’m back for a family brekkie.

Any way 1st fortnight of 2012 I’ve managed to add 119.3 miles to my diary which puts me comfortably on target so far. Happy with that. The coming week has a quite a bit of travelling at work so I hope to stay on it.

I’m trying to be a bit better with the camera too so here’s a few shots out and about in the same fortnight (but not part of any training)

Pete Bursnall (1966-2012)

I was one of a large group of people today who met to celebrate Pete Bursnall’s life. It was very touching and fitting to see how much Pete achieved and how many people valued and loved him.

Close friends led the ceremony at the crematorium, raising a few laughs and remembering all that Pete achieved.

I want to explain how I ended up amongst those people.

I’d been fortunate enough to have been introduced to Wales by a passionate climber whilst I was still at school in the South East of England. I immediately felt at home in Wales and would try and work out how to make the journey without a family of outdoor enthusiasts. My parents were hunted by the same “black dog” (as Pete called his cancer) before the end of my teens. My mountain bike got me out of the house and away from some of the goings on that were associated with chemotherapy at that time. During that time I became good at hunting down little used bridleways and occasional footpaths in a wide radius about my house.

One hill walking trip I was camping at Garth farm at the end of Llynau Mymbr and had poked around in Joe Browns in Capel Curig at the books on the way back of the Glyderau. Its here that I “met” Pete first through his guidebook. I sat in the tent in the rain reading his book and realising that I had to ride in Wales. His writing was inspirational and fitted with my thoughts about what mountain biking should be. Biking created a pace and rhythm that I found incredibly therapeutic and this guy in the book could lead me around routes with simple narrative. Brilliant. So, invariably, trips to the hills ended up with a bike and so I started ticking off Petes’ routes.

I went sailing for a while, but always went back to Wales when I was in the UK and it wasn’t long before I settled in Wales and really started exploring South Snowdonia for myself.

I started working for the Welsh Canoeing Association (now Canoe Wales) and quickly bumped into Dave Bursnall. We were talking about the use of Wales for adventure tourism and Dave said “you should talk to my son Pete, he’s into tourism and building connections.” I called and met Pete at Snowdonia Active-a story about Petes love for the outdoors in itself. I was immediately impressed by the guy; his passion, his beliefs and his easy going nature. We quickly found ways to meet, chat about business, but generally chew the cud about a bunch of random stuff, always on a bike. Walking into our house for the first time he heard my wife retching and just smiled and shouted “congratulations!” down the hall-he knew morning sickness when he heard it! A family man through and through! As always humour like this found its way on to Pete’s blog-“Blog 42”.

I was fortunate to spend a number of days with Pete researching new mountain bike routes. Falling off, being laughed at by Pete, laughing at Pete and getting to know how each others mind worked. During these rides I learnt about a number of people he knew and loved. Pete had an effortless way of making everyone feel part of his team. 

We went canoeing once with Pete’s Dad, his daughter Noni and son Owen and my eldest daughter, Ciara-there may have been some Cherry Bakewells too! Seeing three generations of the Bursnalls out was terrific to be a part of.  Seeing the family effortlessly enjoy the Dwyryd was a memory I will cherish, always.

I learnt that day why Pete was so good at influencing the tourist industry when it came to adventurous activities. He was be able to tell stories to the guys about calmly packing his paraglider after a horrific crash in the Glyders-calling a mate to collect him because things weren’t bad enough to get the lads out from Mountain Rescue (despite lots of broken bits). Or his ability to bike up and down loopy steep hill side, some would call him extreme. However, Pete could and did use those skills to allow anyone to enjoy Snowdonia.

His illness never stopped him until the very end, he never complained. He was fearless or if he had fear he had a good control of it. He had drive and passion and a never ending love of his Family and his homeland. Pete always gave pertinent counsel, something that was raised during today. We often talked work/life balance-something Pete seemed effortless in the way he achieved. His goals, energy and passion were combined and used in efficient and productive ways that have created a legacy few will achieve with more years in the saddle; something I will always be inspired by.

After the crematorium a group of us rode back to Plas Menai for the food and a yarn. It was brilliant to see Owen, wearing his Dad’s yellow jersey riding at the head of the peloton spinning along, hopping off curbs and weaving through his Dad’s friends.

I know Pete would have been especially proud of all his family today as he always was.

Pete talked me out of coffee and onto “hippy tea” so every day starts with a reminder, after today though, I learnt he even talked people out of eating meat, so perhaps I got off lightly? Then again I hadn’t planned to publish this blog, but Pete inspired change.

I feel truly lucky to have known Pete and will miss his physical presence greatly.

Pete leaves his wife Aila, children Owen and Noni and parents Chris and Dave to whom I send my deepest sympathies. 

 

Don’t measure my dreams…

New Years resolutions never work for me, not that I try very hard. To me, 1st January is another day, like any other when it comes to working out aims. I think that to make changes needs a complete attitude shift, not the passing of another year. I reserve the right to change that as more years pass! I do think though, that the end of a year is a good time to look back and decide what you've done well and badly. What can you learn and what you can forget. After any trip away backpacking or travelling I try and look at what I took, what I used and what I didn't. Then, the next time I go away I can pack what I need and carry less baggage. I think it was Robert Schuller who said
New Years resolutions never work for me, not that I try very hard. To me, 1st January is another day, like any other when it comes to working out aims. I think that to make changes needs a complete attitude shift, not the passing of another year. I reserve the right to change that as more years pass! I do think though, that the end of a year is a good time to look back and decide what you’ve done well and badly. What can you learn and what you can forget. After any trip away backpacking or travelling I try and look at what I took, what I used and what I didn’t. Then, the next time I go away I can pack what I need and carry less baggage. I think it was Robert Schuller who said “you can often measure a person by the size of his dreams”. I never know whether that is the bigger the person the bigger the dreams or, the bigger the person the smaller the dreams. I always think of the dry smiles that asking kids what they’ll be “when they gorw up” gets from adults. If a kid says they want to be a Prime Minister do we measure the differently to a kid that wants to be a carpenter? I think most people dismiss those dreams, but they may inspire the kid. New Years Day to me is about carrying less baggage for the coming Year- Let me dream in peace but measure my achievements. Happy New Year! Ama Dablam was the mountain that I first dreamt of climbing.