Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Lakes in a Day

In late September I figured my legs had probably had a good rest post BG, so tested them out at the Three Shires fell race. Slightly over optimistic on the recovery, it was harder work than it should have been but given a bit of effort I could run. It was a beautiful day and a bit of tooing and froing with Nicky and Wil along the way kept me running! After about 2hours my legs suddenly said 'no' though, so I backed off on the final climb, wanting to make it to the finish still running!

Pleased to be back running something like normal, I was a bit aprehensive about the 'no' part of the race, with only 3 weeks until the Haglofs Lakes in a Day ultra (LIAD) when I would need to keep running for a bit longer than 2 hours. Ealier this year James Thurlow asked me whether I thought I would break the women's record. I said I thought I could, but I couldn't guarentee nobody else would do it faster. Now I wasn't entirely sure I could break it....

First bit of fast running of the year - Ali reminded me how to race downhill at the IHMR!

3 weeks and one Ian Hodgson Mountain Relay later my legs were feeling much better. I was looking forward to the first half of the LIAD, knowing my pacing pretty well over Blencathra and the Dodds. I estimated it was possible to get to Ambleside in around 6hrs 30, possibly slightly under if it all went very well! From there on in, the plan was to hang on as best I could as that was where you actually need to run,  heading over Claife Heights, High Dam, and Bigland (I'm not as good at that bit when there's no awkward terrain underfoot or steep climbs to contend with).

Some race faces already. We were chatting really though!

Starting out with Helen and Sabs we had a quick catch up along the road. When we hit the fell Helen was off, but I was happy to let her run up the first hill, keeping her not too far ahead, as I knew where my strengths (and weaknesses) lay.

Blencathra seemed easy, maybe due to the amount of chatting I was doing with Larry, a Pennine member living in Kendal, but it passed by easily now I was on my own terrain. Looking at my time, I was moving very similarly to my BG pace so this was good!

Halls fell was a good bit of fun. Joe Faulkner said he was enjoying watching 'fell runners vs ultra runners' heading down the hill and I soon found out what he meant, making up a fair few places on the rocky decent. I hit the feed station around 2hrs 20 - 2hrs 25mins, within about 5-10minutes of Helen and up on my half thought through schedule. If my plan for Clough Head and the Dodds continued to go well, I would hopefully see Helen again soon :-).
Halls Fell - good fun descending!
Off up Clough Head and even on the gentle slope at the bottom I think I knew my plan was out the window. When we hit my least favourite ascent in the lake district (there's something about the steepness of Clough Head that really never gets any better....) I knew for sure the game was up. My legs weren't powerful, I didn't feel like I was moving (although aparently I was better than some) and it took a lot of effort to haul myself up and over the top. A little after Calf How Pike Sabs caught up. Having just watched me ascend Clough Head she confirmed what I felt, I was moving around 20% slower than I had when she'd accompanied me up there on my BG. (In fact, it took me around 10-15minutes longer than it took me in the BG, so a fairly accurate description)

So, there wasn't a lot else to do other than put one foot in front of the other, watch Sabs run off and enjoy the views. It made life a lot more pleasant as I wasn't going to fight to climb fast and I arrived in Ambleside after 7 hours, enjoying a lovely run on a stunning route!

I ran over Claife Heights with 'John' and we had a good chat about some silly ultra runs he'd done. I seemed to be moving fastest whilst chatting in this race as I cleared claife heights, the part of the race I thought I'd slow down on, much faster than anticipated and faster than a lot of the men did last year according to strava. Perhaps a little too much left in the legs?
Finish! 11hrs 59, a whole 20s to spare on the time I needed to get to the BG dinner :-)

 'Mike' and his support cheerleaders were a welcome sight along the way and we too had a bit of chat over to high dam. Ultra's are great for my chatting style of running ;-).  Maybe I measured the effort just right as running the last few miles to Cartmel that 'no' sensation was definitely imminant. But I ran over the finish line in 11hrs 59 to finish 3rd, around an hour and forty minutes faster than the previous record, but an hour behind Helen's fantastic run this year!

A great route for an ultra and another well thought out and supported event from Open Adventure -  thanks for the GF pasta at Ambleside Sarah!

Just enough time for a shower and a bite to eat then it was off to the BG dinner, sporting my shiney new Haglofs LIAD finishers t-shirt, to recieve my certificate and dance the night away!

I'm not sure how, but my legs recovered well enough to do the FRA relays justice a week later (I think BG dinners are clearly good for recovery).

3 weeks on and next up, it's time for the open 5's..........

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

The Bob Graham Round: 21hours 53 Minutes

Choosing to do the BG

I knew one day I would do the Bob Graham, but there was always another race or target for the year that would make doing it outside of mid winter pretty difficult. 
Last November I hit a new high in my running/biking/general ability to keep going as long as you like as fast as you like and given I had no plans race wise for 2015 I started to think about doing it this year.

By March, all of last years training and racing fitness had been undone. A tooth infection, a job requiring more hours than there were in the day and the reemergence of the breathing difficulties of the last few years left me absolutely exhausted, especially mentally exhausted. I got to April unfit, unable to race or interval train without having to stop due to breathing difficulty (this made club training and general racing a pretty unattractive prospect) and pretty unmotivated to do very much.

Then I went part time. Within a  couple of weeks I was much less shattered, 4 weeks of part time work/part time running and it was time for the old county tops with Steph Jones. Although not moving a patch on how I had been last year, I was surprised to get round in under 9 hours, finishing second ladies team, with my legs generally unscathed and so the BG crept slowly back into my head.

How to pick a schedule?
When it came to doing the BG I wanted to see how fast I could do it. I was fairly confident, having done some fairly ridiculous races, that getting round in 24hrs would be fine. So then I had the conundrum of how far under 24hours to target.

I'd always wondered if the 18:48 womens record would be doable 'one day', I thought it was but also thought I'd wait until I was 'a bit older' to give it a go. Obviously in the last 3 years Nicky has made this more challenging and the question of whether to try for 18 hours was a hard one. My major concern was that I knew how hard it would feel at some point on the round and for the first time ever was worried that, given my mentally exhausted state, my head would be the thing to crack first. If I wasn't prepared to suffer, there was no point in starting on an 18 hour schedule!
'How to run Leg 5 fast' by Rich T.
A couple of months of supporting faster rounds, running to pace on sections and seeing how it felt and it was just too close to call. So I decided to throw caution to the wind and go for it!

Picking the day

Above all else, I knew how little I wanted to run the BG, no matter what pace, in horrendous conditions. I made it clear I just wasn't starting if the forecast wasn't good. The week leading up to my attempt was not ideal, a little wet but mainly too windy. The week after was forecast for horrendous downpours. But the weather gods were smiling on me and the 25th of July could not have been better. Not too hot, not too cold, not too windy, not at all wet!

Leg 1 -Keswick to Threlkeld

At 3 am I set off with Tim Austin and Jonny Malley as support for leg 1. Heading up skiddaw we made good time and were rewarded with some spectacular views. The lakeland 100 was descending to Braithwaite and the train of headtorches snaking its way across towards Skiddaw was an amazing sight. As we hit the steeper part of the ascent we met Angus descending and looking a little dazed (I suppose he's allowed to after 10hrs of running) as he and a fellow 100 runner were undoing a slight detour from the route....we summited as the sun was coming up, greeted by an amazing cloud inversion.
Sunrise on Skiddaw

It's amazing how much the BG route gets trodded up as the lines across great calva and to Blencathra were much clearer (although also much wetter) than when I'd been out in May. Here I perhaps made my first mistake, I tried to drink a 'for goodness shakes' en route to Blencathra and this sat heavy in my stomach. However, some fantastic nav and feeding from the guys (just before Blencathra: Tim: 'do you need any food', me: 'no, I'm ok', Tim:'wrong answer, here's some chocolate raisins') and we topped out on Blencathra at 5:41, 7 minutes up on schedule. This worried me slightly but I resolved it was ok as my legs and body in general had felt well within themselves. I would just sit down in Threlkeld and change socks/eat as a reward. Heading down the parachute descent was fantastic, I do like this descent and hit it pretty much spot on to avoid the worst of the rough stuff (although Jonny took his own line and had a sprint finish down the road to catch us! Proves it makes all the difference to take the right line...). Leg 1 complete in 3:06.

Leg 2 - Threlkeld to Dunmail

Setting off ~5 mins up on schedule with Sabs and Dave, we crossed the lakeland 100 again, happening upon a couple of dragons back attendees. A quick catch up for Sabs and Dave and we headed away from the 100 course once more (with a few shouts of 'it's not that way' following us).
Wil had said that on his round, it was on clough head that he knew he would be able to make it. I thought this sounded a bit early on but as we climbed to the summit I knew what he meant. I felt great, legs still strong and climbing the fastest I've ever managed clough head (I'd built in extra time here as I particularly hated this climb previously). I took back the minutes I gained up clough head en route to great dodd to try and eat something more.

The views across the dodds were fantastic, although I made sure to avoid looking too hard at what was coming next. I thought it would be on leg 2 that I started to feel the pace in my legs, my plan being that if I did, I would assume the game was up and drop the pace to make sure I got round. Helvellyn came and went, as did fairfield and there was no sign of the distance or height covered affecting my legs. This was better than I'd hoped. Plummiting off seat sandall I arrived at Dunmail still 5 mins up on schedule, leg 2 complete in 3hrs 39. I used the minutes wisely, again eating and changing shoes, swapping my haglofs pulse long sleeve for a short sleeve as the day was heating up. We set off on leg 3 marginally up on schedule, leaving dunmail at 9:54am.
Dunmail changeover

Leg 3a - Threlkeld to Bowfell

I know there is no such thing as leg 3a in the BG, but it's as much a mental game as a physical one and in my head, there were two sections to leg 3. My favourite one was 3b as I really enjoy the rocky terrain, but first came the langdale pikes!

Rich and Neil took excellent lines and were right on it with food suggestions. Out with the apples and even a tomato, these proved to go down pretty easily. An hour or so in I was starting to notice the lack of sleep more than anything else, so Rich suggested a caffeine energy gel. In retrospect I'm not certain this was the best move (having not had one before) but even with the disgusting taste I managed to hold it down....just....

I wasn't too interested in the exact timings across this section, I assumed at some point I would start dropping time and all I was interested in was running at a pace that still felt comfortable. Legs were still strong, it certainly didn't feel like I'd run 30+ miles and I was surprised to find that by Bowfell we were still, bang on schedule.

While everything felt ok leg wise, no real soreness or heaviness yet, the climb up bowfell had felt a bit more of an effort than it should have been, so we took a couple of minutes at the top to cram more food in.

Leg 3b - Bowfell to Wasdale

Unfortunately I took one bit of food too much on board and then there was none inside me. We headed on, I was desperately trying to get anything to go in, fully aware that whilst my stomach felt a lot better, my legs soon wouldn't if I didn't replace the lost calories!

 A chunk of time lost to esk pike and unbelievably I was just about still on track for record pace assuming I could keep moving well enough to take the odd minute back. Make or break time with getting the food in! As we headed for Great End the inevitable happened, it was as if a switch had been flicked, 'legs absoltely fine' to 'quads really quite sore'. I was running on empty and really had to get some more fuel in!

Remarkably I didn't drop much time over to scafell, clearing broad stand, where my dad was stationed ready and waiting, without incident. But heading down to wasdale the effect of the lack of energy for my legs to draw on was aparent and another chunk of time was lost, landing me around 20mins down on schedule. With any thought of the record gone, my plan now was to refuel for leg 4. Hopefully a sub 20 could still be possible as we left 40 minutes behind schedule.

Leg 4 -  Wasdale to Honister

That way!
On up yewbarrow with Neil, Helen and Wil and the ease my legs had still just about had to Scafell was all but gone (or it felt that way). The only way to get food down at this point was to stop for a picnic, which we duly did a few times en route over red pike, steeple and pillar.

My moving pace was actually ok, but that ignores the many minutes of picnics I also had to have to keep me moving. At least 50% of the time lost on leg 4 was due to having picnics.

 Passing through blacksail we picked up Tom, Rhys and Benn dog for additional motivation, including a gable story from Tom (which I'm sure I was meant to remember, he might have to tell it again ;-)). There were some lovely views but I barely had chance to take them in - I did sneak a glance at the view of the whole BG, it is amazing to be able to see it all laid out! In general, it was a fine balance between pressing on and getting food in but eventually, after 5hrs and 5 minutes we reached honister. I'd lost a further 1hr 14 minutes to the schedule so was now looking at around 20hr 30 if I was lucky.

Leg 5 - Honister to Keswick

Come on, what's taking so long?

I wasn't lucky. There's not a lot to be said about leg 5 other than it is possibly the worst I've ever felt (although this might just be because I've had long enough since parts of the Itera to forget about them).  I never thought I'd consider giving up on Dale Head, but the thought did cross my mind. I actually couldn't ram food down my throat no matter how hard I tried. Therefore I couldn't run.

I had a proper entourage to keep me company and keep me going - Todd, Nic, Helen, Cat, Lou, Zanthe and Keiren all patiently waiting for me to drag myself along.

It was painfully slow, but eventually I got to the top of summit 42, Robinson, where I forced a pot of fruit down, using a compass as a spoon as there was no spoon on offer. The pictures of sunset look awesome but I wasn't really looking.
Final summit - time for a picnic

Again at the road, there was a car and the thought of getting in was almost too tempting. But it was 5 miles to go so on with the road shoes. I adopted the 'keep on shuffling' tactic that had been such an integral part of keeping up with the rest of Team Haglofs Silva's walking speed last summer. Whilst my time was no longer going to start with a 20, I sure as hell wanted it to start with a 21. This kept me going down the road and at 21:53, amongst the hen do's of keswick, I reached moot hall :-). Possibly one of the slowest leg 5 times, but I had made it!
High five from a drunk Keswickian

A massive thank you to all my great friends who gave up their time to support me, all the hill support, Sally and Neil for road support, Dickie at honister and Em, Kris and Hananh - without the vintage shot blocks who knows how long I'd have spent on that road!

It was a great day out with friends on one of the best days of summer this year. I was having an absolutely fantastic time to Wasdale and am very happy to have completed it first attempt.

Will I be back for another go? Before I started I was sure the answer would be no, but now I'm not so sure. There are a lot of positives - no destroyed feet and I only used 2 pairs of shoes (Inov8 mudclaws for leg 1-3 and Haglofs Gram Comp Q for 4 and 5 - really nice to have something more supportive by this stage). My legs are clearly stronger than I thought, no real damage aparent. There's also plenty to be learnt, it's probably not a coincidence that I was there or there abouts up until the length of the longest run I had previously completed. Food is obviously an issue, whether due to the pace or the type is yet to be determined. I certainly won't be back too soon, but never say never....

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Racing through May - going long!

It's been a while since I last wrote anything, May just raced by (quite literally) so here's a bit of a summary of the highlights!

In April, me and Rosemary finished off the Open 5 series, somehow managing to take the win. This had definitely been the hardest series I've done, mainly due to being completely exhausted and my head having had enough of thinking during the week to want to race. 
To start putting that right, the following week I started a new contract as a part timer! Within a couple of weeks I was transformed back into my former self! Well - a lot closer at least.

17 miles of snowy Scotland
I had 4 weeks to prepare for the Old County Tops - something I'd entered in February through a brain fog with the idea that maybe something to aim for would help matters. As Sal had subsequently had a knee arthroscopy, I recruited a last minute change of partner in Steph Jones from Ambleside.
I checked I could still run that far with a couple of big days out recceing the route and a quick trip to Scotland to recce Stuart Walkers silly birthday plans (something about running all peaks over 4000ft and riding between them)....Clearly running far was not my problem, my stamina had gone nowhere!

The Old County tops has been on my to do list for a few year. 36 Miles from Langdale taking in Helvellyn, Scafell Pike and The Old Man of Coniston.  The weather was on our side, a lovely day out. We took it steady to Helvellyn, summiting in 2hrs 3mins (planned not to get there in under 2hrs) and were following Sabs and Tom up Flowery Ghyll, steadily catching teams as we went. Across to angle tarn we hit some faster running and this is where my weakness showed. Steph was ace, keeping me running on anything it was remotely possible to run. Onto the rocks of Scafell Pike and it was my turn to take the lead. Soon we were up and over and down to Cockley Beck. The feed stations were excellent, banana in hand we headed up the final massive climb up the Old Man. On the ridge, the wind that had been noticeable on the tops all day, was more than noticeable. It was a strong, cold headwind (or so it appeared) out to the Old Man and I was struggling to keep moving.  On this out and back section we got some incentive though, seeing  Nicky and Jean, the leading female pair not as far ahead as we'd imagined and finding Rich and Wil (our other halves) only ~5mins ahead. 
Recce - where is Helvellyn?
On the turn we found the wind was still there, clearly being whipped in every direction. I was definitley struggling at this point, failing to lift my legs properly and tripping over rocks it felt like I was hitting the wall. But I'd eaten and drunk well and out of the wind had been fine. Then came the wheezing inability to breathe....aha - this might explain it. I got my buff out and adopted a ninja look and suddenly we were back running down to 3 shires stone. Hitting the road Steph announced she was 'feeling good' so it was up to her to drive the pace home (read: 'make me run'). We finished in 8hrs 56mins, skirting under the 9hr mark, within half an hour of Nicky and Jean and 5mins of Wil and Rich. The run of the day goes to Caitlin Rice though, 7hrs 44 to win the mixed pairs! This was an ace day out and Steph was a fantastic partner - I'll be back for more next year I think!

Steph reminding me how to run - Angle Tarn
Next up was Duddon, one of my favourite races from last year - 18miles with 1800m of ascent. I'd run it during a period when everything seemed to come together, I had no breathing difficulty and waltzed round comfortably in 3:37, prompting my friend Chris to congratulate me with the line 'I didn't know you were that fast'.
Duddon is a runnable route with some steep climbing, so you have to be able to run fast and also flog yourself up steep climbs. I think my favourite bit of the route is Little Stand as this suits my climbing legs, but you can tell not everyone agrees with that by the looks on the faces of those who have benefitted from the easier running up to that point....

It's hard to enter a race knowing that you are going to be nowhere near your PB, especially an English Champs race. So I had to give myself a completely different target, trying to keep a '3' at the start of my time, ideally within a minute a mile of last years pace!
This plan was going well to 3 shires stone, a little over half way in time. I had run well up the hills - well, the parts of hills that required a fell walk anyway - and was ~10mins down on last year at this point.
Up swirl howe and suddenly I was dropping places. We were heading higher and again, the wind had got up. Running straight into the wind over to Dow, I found myself tripping over rocks and feeling really uncoordinated. After the OCT this rung a bell, so out with the buff and hey presto! Life got easier. I wasn't tripping over things! But you can only run so fast with a buff covering your face, so backwards I went, out of the Helm Ladies team who were packing well behind me all the way round! I had to stop a couple of times to get my breathing sorted and by the time I was dropping off Caw (which incidentally didn't feel as far away or as big as it did in my dehydrated state of last year), I knew it was going to be tight for sub 4. I'd given up racing at this point, so came in in 4:01 - enough for 23rd, which isn't a disaster at an Eng champs race, but could so easily have been a lot better! Somebody said 'you were going well into the finish' and I had to point out this is not a good thing as that means I had far too much left in my legs.

I enjoyed Duddon, but I have to say I'm enjoying just running a lot more than racing at the moment. Racing when you can't push yourself without having your breathing going haywire  just isn't fun as there are only 2 options, stop breathing or take it easy.

Breathing through a straw might explain some things...

However, the good news (I think) is that, after 2.5years of trying everything the NHS can throw at me, I've finally ended up under the care of a specialist team in Preston who don't respond to me with 'your asthmatic, you shouldn't expect to be able to run up hills all the time - here have some stronger steroids', 'well stop running then' or 'what do you expect'. On Monday they filmed my vocal cords as I breathed and saw that as I breathe in they obstruct my airways instead of moving out of the way as they should. This is indicative of Vocal Cord Dysfunction and to difinitively prove how much this happens I am now awaiting more physiological/cardio/respiratory testing and filming of my vocal cords whilst riding an exercise bike. That appointment can't come soon enough!

As racing isn't floating my boat at the moment, I have some 'just running' plans for the summer. I'm off for some recceing over the weekend, then I'll decide exactly what my plans are, watch this space....

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Open 5 - Yorkshire Dales

I'm a clinical researcher, however you'd be forgiven for thinking I have a career as a project manager, logistics coordinator, regulatory affairs assistant, specialist equipment trainer, writer, editor, designer, 24hour helpline, customer service advisor, commissioning engineer or quality assurance officer.

Somehow I juggled all of these things for 10 months, fitting into 9-5 (ish) and maintaining a nice work life balance. Then 'delivery driver', 'research nurse' and 'data entry clark' got added to the list and I was treading a fine line. I toppled over the edge in November, scraping through my PhD viva off two days preparation and hit the level of work and no life balance in January when writing a funding application into the early hours...
Plotting - 'We can't ride for more than 3hrs!'

So I'm sure Rosemary was really looking forward to racing the open 5 with me last Sunday, after my description of training prep (or lack of it) and general mental approach to anything involving effort. I think my words were 'damage control' as opposed to 'full on racing'.

As a measure to ensure I turned up on Sunday I instigated 'skiving Wednesday' (taking back the overtime accrued from Monday and Tuesday so as to stay sane), heading out for my first faster run in months with Sabs. We ran from Ambleside, taking the coffin route to Rydal which is good and runnable. I have to say I was feeling the pace, Sabs is like a rocket on the flatter trails! Thank god for Loughrigg on the way back :-). It may have kept me sane but after the hour of running I spent the next two days exhausted (this is why I have been avoiding weekday exercise recently).

The weather promised for Sunday was....well....less than appealing. What was initially promised to be 'heavy persistent rain all day with strong winds' turned into 'heavy rain with intermittent sleet/snow and strong winds'. I told myself me and Rosemary excel in these conditions, but was crossing everything that the met office had it wrong.
Fine weather for the bike - great views!

 As it turns out, they sort of did have it wrong. It was a chilly start on Sunday, the wind was certainly there, but I could see patches of blue sky above  Stainforth as we arrived! The usual pre race plotting got under way and after initially having loads of time, we did our classic, starting bang on 10:30am.

The tactics were quite simple, keep it steady so I wouldn't blow up but keep the pace consistent and see where it got us. We chose to bike first in case the weather arrived later, as it's easier to warm up running than on a bike. I also opted to wear full waterproofs as I didn't want to risk getting cold. Being exhausted to start with I didn't want to waste energy on staying warm.

Up the first hill I was pleased to be keeping on Rosemary's wheel (an improvement on December) and we were moving well on the flat/downhill. The route was well paved and we'd soon made it to the fun descent (the direction we were going anyway) down to Helwith Bridge. Here we saw a lot of people heading in the other direction, must be around the midway point! In Wharfe we decided to play it safe and headed straight for  Austwick, missing number 2  as it wasn't worth too much. Then it was on across to Giggleswick scar for a bit more fun descending before hitting the road to transition.

Coming into Giggleswick I noticed my bike was feeling a bit like a full suss but without the cornering control. Looking down I didn't have a lot of air left in my rear tyre. We pumped in some air and then hit it hard back to transition. I scraped in (thankfully not quite on my rim) and we got away with it!
Waterfall at Stainforth Beck

With the exception of the first hill, I'd chosen well on clothing, my Haglofs scramble jacket (now having had 2.5yrs of battering) and the super light L.I.M proof trousers keept the hail showers off and I was comfortable all the way.

Whilst I got away with the bike, the run really highlighted my weaknesses. I didn't have an uphill run in me (was struggling to raise my heart rate), so it was a fast walk up the pennine way to  the stunning waterfalls on Stainforth beck. Rosemary has also been practicing, so it was her turn to set the bruning pace over to jubilee cave, which I could just about deal with as it was flat/down. Here the weather arrived, SNOW! Very glad to be on two feet rather than two wheels at this point.We flew down the hill to the quarries near Langcliffe. I couldn't fault the control locations on this run, the kiln in the quarries was huge!
Giant Kiln

Getting a taste of my own medicine, we quickly switched the run tow from my bag to Rosemary's bag heading up out of Stackhouse. Here we collected three controls on the West of transition before arriving back in....wait for it....4hrs 52mins!! A whole 8minutes early, unheard of!
Evidence - the other end of the tow...

Whilst we'd kept moving, we hadn't been as swift as we have in the past (and we'd been early), so we waited with baited breath to see where we finished. It was a beatable score, even we could have beaten it if we'd known I wouldn't blow up back at number 2 on the bike. After November's disaster we could do with a win.
Clearly steady away payed off and our 510 points was enough on the day! Thanks Rosemary for a very enjoyable day out. Very happy with the result given I really didn't know if I could get around 5hours of racing at the moment. Two more days of work, then its off to sunny Majorca for a rest (and probably some cycling ;-)).