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Fastpacking Guy

“He was mastered by the sheer surging of life, the tidal wave of being, the perfect joy of each separate muscle, joint, and sinew in that it was everything that was not death, that it was aglow and rampant, expressing itself in movement, flying exultantly under the stars.”

-Jack London, The Call of the Wild

Salomon X-Screams

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If you read my blog, you’ll know that I was lucky enough for my friend to severely injure his knee.  That friend can be found here at RideLiftRun, should you wish to read his very good blog.

This lead to me taking his place at the Salomon #Switch event which I wrote about here.  A quick summary - 70 lucky people turn up at an secret location, run 5k, give your old trainers to charity, get given a brand spanking new pair of Salomon X-Screams, run another 5k, end up at Profeet, go over the road to a pub, drink and eat.  Briliant evening out.

Call me mercenary, but I need the trainers more than him.  I honestly do care though.  He’s now officially pretty high on my best friends list and I’m not at all materialistic.

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#EpicLED - with LED Lenser

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Following on from my fantastic week with the Salomon Switch and my birthday, I had another nice surprise.  

In a stroke of luck and mild shock that someone who isn’t my mum actually reads my blog, I received an invitation to the LEDLenser #EpicLED promotional event in Shoreditch.

Don’t forget to click on the link http://bit.ly/LEDepic and enter the LEDLenser #EpicLED competition.  You could win a holiday to Austria to stay in the 4* Hotel Edelweiss & Gurgl in Obergurgl, along with an LEDLenser head torch, a Berghaus jacket, night time skiing and walking, along with loads of gourmet food.  I really hope you don’t win and I do.  Honestly.

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"Run on For a Long Time" - Click the Photo

"Run on For a Long Time" - Click the Photo

Salomon Switch, London

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Following on from my previous post, the Salomon Switch event was a huge success and fun was had by all.

To recount quickly my stroke of fortune, my friend Matt severely hurt his leg.  Now I’m not going to say this made me happy because that would make me a bad friend, but he happens to have the same size feet as me and had won a place as one of the 70 people allowed to go to the Salomon Switch event which I had missed out on.  Read into that what you will.

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Salomon Switch

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For those of you not already in the know, Salomon recently had a marketing campaign to promote their fantastic looking new X Scream running shoes.

The Salomon X Scream shoes are marketed as being ‘city trail’; a versatile shoe that works on roads as well as trails.  It’s a great idea for people who don’t want/can’t afford a quiver of shoes and I was massively keen to try them out.

Salomon Switch put the offer out to the general running public that if they applied to be part of the Switch event, then they would receive a free pair of X Screams (whilst giving away their old pair to charity) half way through a 8K run at a random location in London.  The first 100 people to apply at a set date and time on the website would be those chosen to run. 

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On Cloudracer Review

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Following on from my cheapest barefoot running shoe trial and getting ankle injuries, it turned out that my blog post could have waited before doing a conclusive opinion.  I probably needed to do a slower transition, but I do like to jump into things feet first (bad pun intended).

I continued to run in my old New Balance trainers, which I have (probably unfairly slated) in the above post and in my Inov8 X-Talon 212 review with the use of zinc oxide tape, vaseline, gaffer tape and other scissor based modifications, although my heels still felt stiff every morning or if I sat down for too long.  Obviously I needed to get a new road running shoe.

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Fastpacking in the Brecon Beacons - Day Two

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Just in case I didn’t bore you enough with my account of day one, here we are with day two.  If you actually care about reading this, then I apologise for taking so long writing up day two.  I’ve been pretty busy since the trip and any spare minute (of which there were few) I’ve had, has been taken up trying to get out running.

The second leg of the journey aimed to bring us from the Blaen y Glyn waterfalls, around the SAS training route known as the Fan Dance (although carrying 8-10kg backpacks instead of an 18kg Bergen and a 5kg rifle) and then into Tallybont-on-Usk for a well earned pint.

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Fastpacking in the Brecon Beacons - Day One

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After a weekend of fastpacking around the Brecon Beacons, my legs feel like jelly.  That’s a good thing.  The weekend was fantastic and everything went to plan; I miss the place already.

We set off on Thursday afternoon, arriving in the national park at around 9pm.  We camped the first night in a small village called Cwmdu (pronounced Coom-dee), nestled at the foot of the Black Mountains.  It had a pub, The Farmer’s Arms, cafe (the Mynydd Ddu Tea Room) and campsite.  The site, Cwmdu Campsite, is run by a lovely couple and has warm showers, with good wifi. Unfortunately, when we got to the pub at 10 after setting up, it had already closed as it was a Thursday and I imagine not so busy.  Damn it.  Still, probably a good omen in another way - things might not have gone to plan if we had hit the pub on the first night.

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Fastpacking - Part 3. Last minute Team Preparations

As our trip is fast approaching, we decided to meet up and finalise plans and checklists.  Elaine suggested that Andy and I meet at her office rather than a pub, as we could use a meeting room with a big table for the maps and more importantly, her office also has a bar.  Win-win situation.

Joe lives in Gosport, near Portsmouth making it difficult for him to attend, and Adam is on holiday with a couple of other friends travelling around Cornwall (I think) on their motorbikes, so we decided that we could fill them in when we set off.

First, we went through the route that I had previously mentioned (although in more detail) in my previous post, looking over camping spots and water sources.

A concern Elaine raised was whether the many small streams running from the hills would still be there as it’s been quite hot recently and is the height of summer.  A fair point.  Fortunately, along our route, there are a good few larger contributary streams for the Tallybont Reservoir which are unlikely to dry up, and there are few parts of the route that would put us without water for more than an hour at a time.  As we all have 2 litre water reservoirs, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Another issue that was discussed was cooking.  We had all decided that enjoying a nice hot meal at the end of the night would be worth the extra weight, but starting fires in the forest is a big no-no.  Adam has a small stove that weighs about 100g that uses Butane C-250 canisters (that weight 370g), however we decided that carrying single use fuel blocks would be easier to distribute in weight and would be considerably lighter.

Hexamine fuel blocks weigh approximately 28g each, and two will boil 450ml of water in just over 4 minutes.  This is roughly enough for 1 Mountain House meal, so carrying 6 would be enough for the meal on the Friday night, a breakfast on the Saturday morning and several cups of tea throughout the trip.  Carrying our own allowance of hexamine blocks makes distribution of weight easier, which is useful.

It was good to ensure that at least two other team members are completely with the route for navigation purposes, as when you’re tired, it’s easy to make mistakes.  Plus if we go the wrong way, I’m not the only one to blame.

Only a few week to go until the trip so hopefully the weather holds out!  Should be loads of fun.