Monday, 27 July 2009

Post Wasdale blues

Well after the high of completing Wasdale work soon brought me back down to earth with a bump. Couple of weeks of nose to the grindstone being a powerpoint monkey! Still had the welcome diversion of weekend in Wales for Snowdon fell race and then weekend in the dales (which ended with me doing James Herriot Trail race instead of being tired from supporting a BG).

Snowdon first up. Still peeling from Wasdale, turned up to Llanberis with some trepidation as every year I have done that race it has been bizarrely hot and there have been heat casualties (last year being the worst one I remember). The weather was much kinder to us this year, however unfortunately someone lost their life on the mountain through I think a hear condition. Very sad to think someone was loosing their battle for life while I was enjoying the descent without a really a care in the world. There were also some nasty tumbles, but fortunately the worst affected of those seem in good spirits (welsh harrier!) despite broken bones. The race was it's usual enjoyable event and managed to be 2 minutes faster than last year which I can only attribute to cooler conditions. Big thanks to all the organisers on what must have been a trying day and sympathies to the family of the runner who passed on.
Next day headed up north ridge of Tryffan. Had done this years ago, but think at section after the cantilever we ducked left and missed the main scrambling, because did not remember any of this! There were a couple of (for me) pretty scary moves and was thinking if that's grade 1 then struding edge is not even a scramble as they are just not comparable! Fortunately there were quite a few girls out who made it look easy so had someone to follow and Mark had the bonus of people being around to prevent me throwing a wobbly at him!
Hey ho! Anyway headed back home to spend the week filling in the time before could head out of York and into the hills. The weekend coming up was to turn out to be one of those ones where there were lots of races and things going on and could do with 48 hours in a day! Rod a speedy BG contended was looking for support and as there was a chance I'd be in the lakes said I may be able to help, although failry unlikely to keep up for a whole leg. The original reason I was to be in the lakes was for the old crown round, however a manic week at work had me binning my planned couple of days hols to meet friends in the dales so instead I stayed there on Fri night so I could catch up with them, intending to head to the lakes for sat urday evening to BG support and then head back to the dales as if I'd never been gone and ready to do James Herriot Trail race!
Most of the above went to plan except had trouble getting hold of Rod and knew he was lacking support on leg 3 and not the 5 I thought. On leg 3 I would not have kept up on the Scaffells as am such a girly descender, btu could have helped for a bit. In the event was struggling to be able to get over there and to sort car logistics and since found out that unfortunately Rod had to call it a day at 3. Hopefully he'll have another go and maybe I can be of help at the end when he may be a bit tired and a bit slower!
So to the James Herriot Trail Race. Fab race, the fell runners that like gnarly ground need not apply though as it's just 14k of fast non technical running. Although I wasn't fast, well I was fast for me at the moment I guess. The last few k were a bit traumatic as I went for it coming off the last hill, only to remember it was a long old run in. Robyn, my mate, did really well and came 2nd lady!! This is the firl who says she doesn't do much training really - hmmm......
Next up Lakes 50, although think will be tempted to do YVAA vets race on Wednesday as it's on my doorstep!

Monday, 13 July 2009


OMG! Wasdale fell race was so hard. I totally bonked just before Great Gable and want up there even slower than I shuffled up Kili years ago (to be honest I felt as crap too - just 5000m difference in altitude). Anyway gels saved the day and I didn't get timed out, although was pretty much one of the backmarkers. But, what a fantastic day despite all that!! Forecast bad weather did not come until later in the evening to route finding wasn't an issue and got the best view of Scaffel Pike and Scaffel.

Started the day setting off from York at 5 am (someone came up from Norfolk and set of at 3am - eek) and getting in to Wasdale before 8.30. Nice spot to hang round though! Race came round and in no time at all the field was straggling out up the first climb to Whin Rigg. Dropped down to Josh Naylor's for him to see us through - what a total legend he is. After that felt pretty good up until the trod skirting round Kirk Fell when I realised I was tripping and staggering all over the place and in need of serious sugar lift. Out came the gel, but unfortunately it took until the descent of Gt Gable to kick in, although at least that meant I felt a bit happier going up the pike. On bonus at top of Gable was seeing Chris Cripps and him not timing me out and the sweet bag the guys had at that checkpoint - not sure what sweet I picked, but it was lovely and nice to have a change from chuffin' jelly babies.

During the race had been running near one of the girls from Calder Valley, Thirza, and she always sounded in such good spirits whereas I always just sounded like I was about to pass out. Anyway, the few people about me raised my spirits and we were soon on to the nice grassyish but quad jarring (well it is the way I mince down) descent of Lingmell and saw friends Phil and Annette at the last checkpoint which was very good as they were so encouraging.

So with bambi like legs made my way to the finish wondering why there was so much clapping. Then realised I had finished mid presentation for the winners! :-( Great day out, despite only getting home at 10.

A four hour adventure race at the Cliffhanger event in Sheffield the next day was perhaps not the ideal gentle warmdown run for Wasdale! Great fun though, although am gutted we were over time so lost 25 points due to our greediness on the bike section.


So having not posted for a few weeks I now need to remember what I've been up. Will keep it brief if I can! After supporting Julie G's BG had a fairly easy week, although had a run out in one of the Yorkshire Vets series races at Meanwood. Was kind of fun, although a 4 mile fast (for me) furious run around the woods. We seemed to do lots of laps and at some point blew up because I'd gone off too fast (some speedwork, threshold work for me then).

After that was off out to Chamonix to run the Marathon de Mont Blanc (as a bit of prep for the CCC) and do some walking/crampon stuff. First up though was Mark doing the Mt Blanc Cross which is the half marathon that is all up hill (at least in the full version the extra climb gives you an enjoyable descent). With ideal weather (overcast) it was great fun up at the finish watching them come in and Mark finished well up the order in just over 3 hours, so setting the standard! However, he did at least have the decency to be knackered at the end.

With a nice early start the day dawned for the marathon and it decided it was going to be hot and sunny, great for the suntan - erm no not with my celtic type skin! Felt rubbish setting off, but was probably good as it meant I just toddled along at a nice easy pace and didn't go mad up the big climb in the middle (Col de Possette). The descent off there was a tiny bit rocky, but nothing like your average Lakes fell race and once on the zig zags it was nice to be descending and not feeling like the usual rubbish descender I am. On the last part of the race I felt really good, with early sluggishness having worn off and charged along (well for me), although the cheeky uphill finish was a bit horrible. Anyway, race in bag and beer in hand it was a great day and finished off by the awesome buffet laid on by the race - inc beer and wine (that's just so french). James who is one of the owners of the chalet we stayed in had a great day out and finished within his estimated time, no mean achievement considering he became a new dad that week (to the v.cute Theadora)!

Back to earth with a bump after this as we had 3 days with a guide doing some alpine stuff. I struggled a bit with all this and didn't really get over to the guide the type of stuff I could do and ended up getting dragged up Petite Aguille Verte which just scared the pants out of me as there were some tricky bits, couldn't really see where guide had gone and it was as busy as Striding Edge on a bank hols! Mark did really well and rounded the 3 days of on the Cosmiques Arrete.

Finishing the week off James took Mark off rock climbing and he is now officially a crag rat!