Monday, 25 October 2010

On the Wild side (long run report)

So it was back to what I know best at the weekend with the reinstallment of the regular long run. I have been meaning for quite some time to do a big loop from Leighton Buzzard which takes the Two Ridges Link ( to Ivinghoe Beacon and then the Icknield Way ( from Ivinghoe Beacon down the valley and back up and around and along the Dunstable Downs before the trek mainly on road back to Leighton Buzzard.

Sunrise on the Two Ridges Link
 Well this was my chance to do some nice long slow miles and I enjoyed every minute. This is even despite getting up at the ungodly hour of 6:30am on a Sunday morning to fit it in and get back to do my fair share of looking after the little one. This meant however that I was treated to a nice sun rise which really is the only way to start the day!

The Two Ridges Link is the same trail I attempted months back however I was thwarted back then by a couple of barking dogs blocking a narrow part of the trail that goes up alongside a driveway. Well this time there were 3 dogs between me and my journey onwards but they didn't look too threatening so I did the trick of looking confident in my stride and edging pass them. I had made it! I still don't think it's right that home owners should be allowed to have their dogs out on the loose creating a nuisance on a national footpath.

View from Ivinghoe Beacon back across to Leighton Buzzard
 The rest of the Two Ridges Link was a lovely run and highly enjoyable across sheep filled fields, farms and wood lined trail. It climaxed with an extremely steep climb to the top Ivinghoe Beacon which was a hands on knees job. The prize however was a view I've enjoyed many times before (and the start line of the Ridgeway Trail).

Icknield Way back up to Ivinghoe
From here it was down onto the Icknield Way - a path I haven't run or walked before. The animal theme continued on this run as I also startled many Deer who wandered across in front of me on the trail. I tried to get some photos on my phone but they weren't hanging around for the shot.

Spot the three deer in this shot!
 Now the next animal that I happened across I'm glad to say wasn't on the same trail as me. If it was I don't think I would be writing this. A grey rhino! Yep I not kidding rhino living wild in central Bedfordshire!! Ok maybe not wild but part of my run went around the perimeter fence of Whipsnade zoo which is where I saw it off in the far distance. Very exciting stuff. From Whipsnade it was a very pleasant jaunt across the undulations of Dunstable Downs before I was off the trail and back in civilisation with a bump (Dunstable kind of does that it you!)

Not much more to say of any note re this run. Just nice to get back in the saddle and let the legs know that it won't all be half marathons. 22 miles in all in a very leisurely 4 hours however it didn't feel like it with quite a few climbs.

Recovery day today. Legs feel fine which shows they haven't completely forgotten what going long is all about.

Taken from Dunstable Downs back across the valley
with Ivinghoe Beacon in the far distance (left of centre in shot)

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