Martin's Blog

from a Slovenian living in Wales

Category: Kilimanjaro 2019

Puncture prevented further training

I had a bit of an eventful day today. Set of to hike up Pen y fan, had to find a way out of town as there were was a road closure and ended up going a way I don’t usually use. Somewhere on that trip I must have ridden over something sharp. By the time I got to Leominster about 20 minutes away I felt the bike being unstable. Turns out I had a rear tyre puncture.

Didn’t dare to ride it back home, so called the roadside assistance. While I waited the tyre must have slowly deflated even more and this made the bike quite unstable but I noticed that to late as it ended up falling over without me even being on it at the time!

Managed to collect quite a few scuffs on the fairings, smashed the hand guard and broke off the brake lever about mid shaft. Luckily the engine started fine and the brake lever was still usable. The AA guy managed to patch the puncture really well, he then followed me for an hour as we drove to Gloucester to the main Honda dealer. I could have gone somewhere else but these guys do the service on my bike and they actually had a tyre in stock so it could be fixed the same day.

The puncture location after being patched by the AA guy

Anyway, not only did the get the tyre sorted, they had a spare brake lever in stock so replaced that as well. The hand guards are on order but I might have to change them myself. Just all this cost me about £260. Got home about 6 hours later.

Time for new boots

I had to bite the bullet and try finding some good boots that will last me for the training I have to do plus be suitable for the Kilimanjaro trip, so hot savannah and ice cold Uhuru peak.

Martin McDowell, Kilimanjaro 2019

I knew I was going to need some help and I was dreading having to go to one of the big corps and one of their outlets. I needed some proper help. I found a little store in Hereford called Trekitt. This isn’t just another corporate. Quite the opposite. Quite refreshingly it is a single store run by the family business.

After some thorough measurements of my feet and a discussion with the assistant I decided to go for these babies:

Meindl Meran GTX

Meindl Meran GTX with Gore-Tex lining. Made by a german company and seems to be a much better fit than the Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX I currently use.

Tried the new boots out this week, just walking round the house but that is just a mini test, you need to get out on the trails to properly check them out.

Just a pretty flower that seems to be in bloom all over the Malverns

The full Malverns, up and down

I finally made it. Hiked all the way up the Malverns and then back again. A total of about 30 km in 6 hours, 45 minutes. Doing these distances does help build up the stamina for the uphill parts of the Kilimanjaro route. However should not neglect the final day when we will descend the mountain where we will do about 20 km which should take us 5-6 hours.

However am taking quite a beating on my feet, something not completely right with my old hiking boots, a pair of Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX. Keep getting nasty shooting pain in toes and foot. I’ll be seeing a shop in Hereford that should help me out as I think I might have to get a new pair of hiking boots for the rest of my training and the Kilimanjaro.

Another training day

A glorious sunny Saturday on the May Bank holiday weekend.
This time I started at the southern end at Chase End and worked my way north. Was able to reach Upper Wyche. Still have not reached the goal of doing the whole Malvern Hills up and down (or the other way for that matter). 

The hills especially round the southern part of the Malverns were covered in violet, all down to the abundance of bluebells. At one point as I was walking on a path near Hollybush the whole one side of the path was covered with white from wild garlic and the other violet from bluebells.

A hike up Pen-y-fan

A training hike up Pen-y-fan on a Easter weekend.

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro – The start of the adventure

Image by Greg Montani from Pixabay

In this case with booking. I heard of a friend using the company Intrepid Travel several years ago when she went on a fabulous trip to south America.
Have been itching to do something myself and a few weeks ago saw in idea about climbing Mt Kilimanjaro. At 5,895 metres its not an easy endeavour, certainly the highest and the longest I have ever hiked. It shouldn’t be to technically difficult but it is gruesome. And then there is the altitude. Haven’t been that high skydiving.

I have also decided to fundraise but not to stuff it down your throats and make you feel awful for not opening your wallet but more like… You don’t have to, but if you want to, you can donate to one of the charities I have chosen:

I lost a very good friend to pancreatic cancer years ago and I have been donating to them little by little every month.

Vetlife is a great charity that supports welfare of veterinary surgeons and gives them support by phone and email. As a vet myself I am very much aware of the mental health issues in our profession and am supporting Vetlife to further the understanding the stresses in a vet’s life.

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