Hit the North 5

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I’ve had time to clear up the course tape, signs and discarded gel wrappers (ok there were only three of those, and they blended in with the usual burnt-out mopeds and dog poo bags anyway) after Hit the North 5. I’ve also had time to go on holiday for a week, publish the results and start planning the next one.

Those that were there to witness the return of Hit the North a couple of weeks ago will know how great it was. I’ve no idea how though. All I do is mither people on the phone for stuff, decorate the woods with signs and hire toilets. 200 or so riders paid to enter and didn’t seem to mind the stupidly-steep bits, the stupidly-muddy bits, the funny-smelling bits and the lack of music at the start/finish (broken generator). In fact, everyone who took part or helped out loved it.

I loved it. I loved organising it.

In fact I enjoyed organising this one more than any other HtN that I can remember and that’s not because it was easy (it was far from easy, thanks to….oh never mind), but because in the years since the last event, I’ve genuinely missed it.

So twice a year then. I’ll keep on doing it until everyone gets bored of it or I get bored of it.

Massive thanks to – Debbie, Simon Fox, Warren Edmond, Rob Allen, Karen Long, Jackie Aspden, all the staff and parents from St Mary’s CE Primary (Prestwich), John Moore, Andy Smith, Mike Sudder, Jess Wain, everyone else who marshalled, all at Singletrack magazine, Laura and Dave Bradshaw, Allen Bridge, Bury Council, Phil Lee from the Forestry Commission, The Nice Weather, Jo Allen, Joe from Bite Café, Carl Salisbury, Budge and anyone who I might have temporarily forgotten.

Most of all a HUGE thanks to all of you who paid money to take part and kept the faith. See you all in October eh?

hit the north jason miles xc

Kielder Chiller 24

I don’t know why, but I expected a broken nose to hurt more than that. Maybe it was the below-zero temperatures or the rush of adrenaline that you tend to experience when you’ve just landed on the ground on your face. Once I’d crawled up off the floor, moved my bike out of the way, I had a sit down.

I love sitting down on the ground at 5 in the morning. It’s great.

I could hear my nose clicking as I moved it side to side. I probably should stop doing that in case it comes off in my hand, I thought.

The weather conditions at the Kielder Chiller 24 hour race were pretty-much the same as they had been the last time I rode a bike there – in fact the last time I rode there the weather was just as wet and cold and I was engulfed in a thick cloud of abrasive mud. My brake pads disintegrated and I ended up in a bush. I said I’d never return but I did return and once again I was engulfed in a cloud of abrasive mud and my pads disintegrated.

Once again I pulled on my brake lever and apart from a loud metallic noise, nothing happened.

I didn’t land in a bush this time. If I had it might not have been so dramatic. This time I rode down a steep section of singletrack, unable to slow down. I rode off the side of the trail as it bent around to the right and was launched into the air as my front wheel suddenly encountered a large enough object.

I was racing in the pairs category with Phil, thankfully. We were winning too.

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With only a few hours of the race left and a nice 2 or 3 lap gap to the second-place pair I was able to hand over to my super-dependable team mate and let him get on with finishing the job while I sat in the Team JMC pit, nursing my face. Eventually I went to sit in the car with the engine running and the heated seat on. The car subsequently filled with mud.

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A win is a win, regardless of a broken bone and a very sad and now-in-need-of-serious-maintenance Santa Cruz Highball.

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A massive thanks to Lisa and Mel who made me cups of tea and fed me painkillers. Also thanks to the ambulance man who decided not to send me to A&E, which was probably hundreds of miles away and full of drunken people with no tops on.

2016 review (mostly) in pictures

hover or click for witty captions…

So many people to thank for all of this – everyone at Jungle Imports and Santa Cruz for the support and amazing fast mountain bikes, Phil at Scott Sports UK for the bike that helped me win Revolve 24, Team JMC, Tom and the staff at Exposure Lights, Nils at Lyon for the brilliant Ortlieb bikepacking gear, Stevie at 2 Pure for keeping me stocked up with go-go-food, Chipps, Hannah and the gang at Singletrack Magazine for giving me chances to do cool things with very cool things, Steve and all at Islabikes, Phil Evans and Kate Hobson for the Sri Lanka experience that I’ll never forget, Sri Lankan Airlines for the Business Class flights with curry, all the curry chefs who’ve fed me in 2016, The Sleaford Mods, all my mates and to everyone out there that’s shouted ‘go on Jase’ from the side of a road or muddy field somewhere for the past 12 months.

No thanks to – angry French thugs, Spanish trains, crappy injuries.

The M3 Project 256 mile challenge – update

Running (at least for an infrequent runner like me) is a gamble. You can do it for as long as you stay injury-free but if you’re unlucky, injury seems to strike decisively and without warning. One minute you’re trotting along pretending to be Mo Farah, the next you’re dragging your broken body home like a train wreck survivor. Something that would be a minor niggle when riding a bike seems to be a complete show-stopper in the world of running.

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My 256 mile December challenge had lasted just 9 days before I picked up a muscle injury. I’ve done ‘something’ to my upper leg (ok my arse muscles in other words) that means I can’t run AT ALL. I can barely walk without pain and running, a whole week later, is still impossible.

So I’ve had to abandon it. I might have another go in January.

At least my bike still loves me.

In the meantime, Alan, Dave and Dean are still going and have just reached halfway! Remember they’re running for a great cause and imagine not having a roof over your head this Christmas (or at any time really). Drop them a few quid here. 

 

The M3 Project 256 Challenge

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It’s good to do something different in the winter. A change is as good as a rest, as they say. Unless the ‘change’ is about as restful as running 256 miles in a month, that is.

It sounded like a good idea until I thought about it properly, but that was before I thought about what December’s running challenge actually entails.

On the 1st of December I’ll run 1 mile. On the 2nd I’ll run 2 miles. This will continue until I run 16 miles on the 16th December, when the mileage will decrease each day (so 15 miles on the 17th), ending with 1 mile on New Year’s Eve.

The two middle weeks look quite tough and I’ve never been out for a run on Christmas Day (that one’s a 7 miler).

To put things further into context, 256 miles is over 30 miles further than my total running distance in 2015. It’s my poor toenails I feel sorry for.

It was my mate Alan’s idea. Alan works for the M3 Project – a local charity that provides vital housing support for young people in the area and along with Dave Haygarth and Dean Pointer we’ll be raising funds and awareness for them.

Salient points:

  • Under 25s now represent half the people in homeless accommodation.
  • Young people are now the group most likely to be living in poverty
  • Recent figures from 2015 indicate that on any ONE night in the UK, 35,000 young people are in homeless accommodation and that is without the hidden homeless…
  • Hidden homelessness involves young people sleeping rough or sofa surfing, most of whom will not be in touch with services or receiving support around their homelessness. This figure is estimated by Centrepoint to be nearly 10 times higher than the ‘known’ homeless levels, at just under 300,000 on any ONE night in the UK.

Please think about how you can help, be that sharing, funding, or whatever.

I’ll be posting updates on here, on Strava and the usual social media channels as December plods on, plus there will be news appearing on the M3 website. There will be no escape from me begging for donations. You can donate here

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