The Day Hell Froze Over: Tough Guy 2010

by michaelmcclary 7. February 2010 23:49

Sunday January 31st saw the latest iteration of Tough Guy, a slightly crazy race involving a cross-country run and an obstacle course from the reassuringly rustic mind of Mr Mouse.

This was my first time (definitely signing up for next year) and it was a ball.  The initial cross-country section was about 8-10km, designed to stretch the field out, involving lots of running and a bit of cold water with tortuous but pretty funny zig-zags on a steep hill to finish it off.  This was then followed by a series of obstacles; A-frames, electric fences, concrete tunnels, burning hay, etc, but the biggest challenges for me were the water obstacles.  Kudos to the leaders who didn’t have the luxury of unbroken water to jump through/into/under, as the ice needed breaking.  There are plenty of pictures floating around of guys carrying sheets of ice over sections of the course.  The water obstacles started as ‘funny’ and  graduated through ‘kind of painful’ to general expletives.  

All in all, a great way to spend a Sunday.  About four and a half thousand completed with 600 or so not making it round, principally down to the cold.  I saw one guy on the floor apparently with a broken leg and a few lying by the side being wrapped in silver blankets by the support teams and St John’s Ambulance.  Next year: gloves, a hat and hopefully a few degrees warmer…

Love this video:

But my favourite page is this with absolutely stunning pictures here from Mike King, including this one of the eventual winner, Paul Jones:

Mike King)

My Top 5 Purchases of 2009

by michaelmcclary 10. January 2010 13:52

In an age where it’s easy to buy stuff on a whim I’ve been having a think about the things I bought last year which I’ve continued to use consistently and gave the maximum return on investment.  They range from under a pound to, well, a bit more

iStuff Hamburger Speaker

iStuff Hamburger 360 Degree Speaker
(Pic: laptopstuff.co.uk)

Apart from having young children I’ve not experienced such a big sound from something so small.  Makes a big difference during presentations and demonstrations or just waking up a lethargic office at the end of the day.

KettleBell Weight 24KG

  kbell
(Pic: Jordan Weights)

Easy to keep in a corner and there are a host of effective CV and strength exercises which can be done with this.  If I’m travelling in the UK this goes in the car without having to pack a set of weights.

Samsung X360

Fabulous for travelling around as it's lighter and more powerful than a MacBook Air with more expansion, more memory, 7-8 hours battery life and the screen is the best feature by far.  This easily gets into the Top 5 and, yes, runs Windows 7 very nicely.

Rage against the Machine tracks

Rage Against the Machine's Zack de la Rocha
(Pic: BBC)

Low cost but great return.  No, I’m not a ‘smug liberal’, not ‘looking down my nose’ and, as far as I know, not a sheep.  I was, however, a massive Rage Against the Machine, Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine and Nirvana fan in the early nineties and thought this was a well-executed campaign which put one of my favourite tracks at the top of the charts.  As for Joe McElderry, he did very well in X-Factor and does have a nice voice, but the resumption of a proper Christmas battle with a great track was the icing on the cake.

Last but by no means least:

Triumph Sprint ST 1050

(Pic: motorrad-erinnerungen.de)

The MCN reviewsays it all:

“The Triumph Sprint ST is the best sports-touring motorcycle of its generation by some margin”

I’ve an ‘07 plate non-ABS the same colour as the photo above. My favourite features? The burble sound of the triple pipes once it’s warmed up, the single swing-arm look and the sans-panniers grin and blast it gives me on a warm day (not that there’s been one for a while).  There is a 3D PhotoSynth of the bike here

Just missing out…

Had to be the kayak I managed to get for a reasonable price back home in Cornwall.  Only excluded as I managed to use it for just a week, although I plan to improve on that this year…


(Pic:  September 2009 looking towards St Michael’s Mount)