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Big Ride, Old Men

By ActionGeek. Posted in Action | No Comments »

If you’re a regular reader you may know from an earlier post that my father in law has been riding from John O’Groats to Land’s End for charity.  Since he is blind, he’s riding a tandem with his brother in law riding up front.  Well, after 11 days of rather bad British weather they finally completed the 930 mile trip and crossed the finish line at Land’s End.

For those readers not in the UK, John O’Groats is the very North-East tip of Britain, right up past the Scottish Highlands, while Land’s End is the very South-West tip down here in Cornwall, making it the longest route you can take across the country.  I did the trip solo myself back in 2003, and Steve and Pete took a fairly similar route to me and did it in just about the same time (11 days) despite having 2 “engines” on their tandem – but hey, they are a little older than me ;)

Pete’s son, Paul, joined them in Exeter for the last couple of days, and I joined them yesterday as they passed, to cycle the last 36 miles with them to Land’s End.  All my training recently has been running, swimming, weights and yoga and so I’m definitely not bike-fit at the moment.  Add to that the fact that I was on a mountain bike, trying to keep up with a tandem and Paul on his racer, and it turned out to be quite a challenge to try and keep up!

Luckily for me the route is pretty hilly, and while I couldn’t keep up on the flats or downhills, I was able to make up time and pass the tandem on the climbs!  The weather stayed bright, if rather windy, which made for a very pleasant ride (and made up for quite a bit of rain they had earlier on the trip!)

They have raised around £2000 so far for ABLe and Bowel Cancer UK, and that number should increase a fair bit over the next week or two as the final donations come in.  If you want to read up more about the trip, the charities, or to make a small donation head over to Big Ride Old Men.

The old men at the finish line in Land's End, with Pete's son Paul (left) and myself (right)


I just found out that one of my favorite books of all time, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, has been make into a movie by Danny Boyle, one of my favorite directors!

Between a Rock and a Hard Place is an autobiographical account the life of Aaron Ralston leading up to an accident where he became trapped in a canyon in the Utah Desert.  He was canyoning alone when a boulder dislodged and trapped his lower right arm.  After five days and exhausting all possible ways of freeing himself, and knowing he would otherwise die of dehydration, he amputated his own arm with a multi-tool.  The book alternates between chapters telling the story of his ordeal, with stories of mountaineering adventures in Colorado.  It’s an amazing book, and a very inspirational story.

Well apparently the film has already been made, and is due for release in a couple of months.  The trailer looks pretty good, and at first glance looks like the movie could be just as powerful as the book.  But that is hardly surprising with Danny Boyle, director of films such as Train Spotting, Sunshine and 28 Days Later, at the helm.  Apparently, during the screenings at the Telluride Film Festival, two people required medical attention – one who felt faint and was carried out of the screening, and a second who suffered a panic attack, so I’m guessing it must be quite hard hitting.

Anyway, here’s the trailer, and if you’re at all interested in adventure, mountaineering, or just people overcoming any obstacle no matter what this is definitely worth checking out!





Yoga Confusion – Cobra vs Upward Facing Dog

By ActionGeek. Posted in Action | 3 Comments »

I’ve been doing more and more yoga recently and really noticing some real improvements. My balance in both handstand and forearm stand/scorpion is really getting better, my standing postures and forward bends are getting much deeper, and overall my confidence and knowledge are growing all the time. Having said that, there are still lots of things which I’m unsure of and one of those has been the difference between cobra and upward facing dog.

Superficially both asanas appear to be very similar, and I’ve spoken to a number of people who actually think they are the same thing, with the only difference being whether the thighs/knees are lifted off the floor.

Iyengar’s book Light On Yoga shows the difference quite clearly and I understood that the position of the hands was important, but it was while watching a video on YouTube this morning that I finally had a “eureaka moment” and finally understood the difference. If you practice yoga and are uncertain about the difference between up-dog and cobra, take a look at this…





The World’s Most Dangerous Sports

By ActionGeek. Posted in Action | No Comments »

A headline like “The Most Dangerous Sports In The World” always catches my attention, so when I saw that in my RSS reader yesterday I clicked though to find yet another generic list of a dozen or so “extreme sports” with little or no real information about them.

Base jumping – check!

Cave diving – check!

Heli-Skiing – check!

Cheerleeding… wait, WTF?

Yes, according to ithing.com, cheerleading should be in anyone’s top ten list of danger sports, since “there are over 20,000 reported cheerleading injuries a year”.

Can you really compare a twisted ankle, or a broken wrist from cheerleading with a BASE accident?  I think not.

Anyway, a little later in the day and I see virtually the same headline over at totalsportspro.com and decided to check it out as a comparison.  This time the focus was very much on danger, as in liklihood of death or very serious injury, and needless to say that cheerleading didn’t make the list!

Anyway, for anyone interested there’s an infographic from the site below. Interesting to note that it’s obviously an American site, since the map of “Dangerous sports all over the place” shows only North America, even though the headline is “The World’s Most Dangerous Sports” but hey, they also have the World Series of Baseball and AFAIK only USA and Canada compete in that ;)

Most Dangerous Sports
Via: Term Life Insurance