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Top Trumps by Firelight

Man and Fire

Receiving emails like this make my whole Year of Microadventure experiment feel massively worthwhile.

So every year when me and the family drive from home to the in-laws, we hit 140 miles I churn out, “Hey we’ve just covered an Ironman, I could have run, swam then cycled to here.”
“Yes, dear, we know….”
OK, the logistics were a bit impractical, but after reading your blog it did get me thinking,
“S’pose I could just cycle it.”
So this year I did.

Firstly I needed to test out my shiny new bivy bag so I decide to run the Essex Way, a stunning little 81mile footpath from Epping to Harwich. The start is directly outside Epping tube station as well. Perfect. It’d been many years since I’d wild camped, but as I huddled in the woods at mile 45, trying and failing to get any sleep as a huge night time rain storm battered me, I loved it. I finished off the next day, damp tired and happy.
I’ve run loads of races, train constantly but that was my first unsupported really long run and official microadventure. Great stuff.

The following weekend I had a great three days. Day 1 I headed down to Eastbourne on my heavy old mountain bike carrying everything I needed. Day two saw me struggle up and down the hills of the South Downs. Day three I finished off the South Downs Way then meandered through the New Forest, hit the coast, turned right and eventually arrived in Swanage. I never would have done that without a proverbial kick up the back side from your blog. Man, how you cycled the flipping entire planet!

A few weeks ago I managed to borrow an old canadian canoe and took my 11 year old lad down the river Stour, through the wilds of Essex on a 20 mile, two day journey. Playing top trumps with him by firelight camping on the river bank was one of my year’s highlights.

I’ve participated in plenty of long distance events, ultras and the like, but I have to say getting out by myself, doing something that’s not organised and just getting away from the whole competing thing and enjoying the journey at a much more leisurely pace has been incredibly refreshing. Not paying someone to do it is also a huge bonus!

Thanks for the inspiration. Seriously. Your micro adventure concept has defintely given me a better perspective. It’s not all about the big events and races! And apologies if I’ve wittered on, but truth be told I’m a little hungover and typing away here it hopefully looks like I’m doing some productive work for my ungrateful company.”

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Comments

  1. Brings a tear to your eye…”Playing top trumps with him by firelight camping on the river bank was one of my year’s highlights” I can see why you made that the title of the post Al.

    It’s the simple pleasures that mean the most sometimes, when you strip everything else away, you get to just enjoy what is true and real – like spending time with your little boy, giving him 100% of your attention, with no gameboys, no TV, no distractions, just each other. Powerful stuff!

    And Al, don’t ever doubt how much you inspire people, I might not be sitting here right now having cycled 14000km, if it weren’t for you and your books… just started reading your new one too!

    Reply

 
 

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