The XC was held at Keswick and I wasn't going to run this but with the langdale 10k cancelled due to the snow, I thought "what the heck".
A lot stronger field then the usual Cumbria xc league with it being the county championships, most notably a strong contingent from Border Harriers.
It was 4 laps of a fairly fast course and I soon found myself in a race with Graham Millican of Border, and as the norm, he proved too strong for me and beat me by 19 seconds.
I was quite pleased though with my effort and I feel that the speed work I have put in over winter is starting to pay off.
James Douglas won it finishing ahead of Ricky Lightfoot, who after the race said that he was thinking of having a go at the winter Bob Graham record the following weekend.
The same night was the first heavy night out which resulted in having a very lazy Sunday.
On a Monday I normally run a few miles around town, but this week I took myself along to Aragons Tri club who hold weekly speed sessions. Really enjoyed these, even if was questioning my sanity after each one.
I will try and do more of these.
Tuesday morning resulted in my legs feeling a bit stiff so I ran a few miles around town delivering Christmas cards for Susan!!!
Wednesday was club night and the dreaded New Streets Race. A tough 4 mile race taking 4 of the steepest hills Penrith has to offer.
Last year I set off too quick and paid for it later on where I really struggled up the last two hills.
About 30 of us set off, and again I set off too quick (I will never learn) and I soon found myself out in front, but this time I felt a lot more relaxed and held on to finish first, mainly due to the fast lads not turning up and Steve b still feeling the effects of falling of his bike the day before!
On Thursday I had a call from Nick Ray who was organising Rickys BG. He thought it wasn't going to go ahead. I must admit of feeing slightly relieved as I hadn't done leg 2 in dark.
The feeling of relief didn't last long though because on Friday I got another call saying it was back on and if I could do leg 2. He Had Steve Birkinshaw for leg 1, setting off at 1 am.
As Well as I know leg 2, I didn't want the responsibility of taking Ricky alone so I phone some good fell running mates, Craig Smith and Sam Ware. Their were well up for it and as it turned out it was one the smartest things I have ever done.
4 o clock Saturday morning, me Craig and Sam are sat in my car at Threlkeld cricket club. Not a star to be seen, no sign of the moon, freezing cold and wanting to get going to get warmed up.
Eventually we see 2 sets of head torched coming of Doddick.
After a few falls on ice on Skiddaw, Ricky and Steve arrive in 3 hrs 28 mins. No road support for Ricky, Steve was going to run back to Keswick for his car, so I gave him my car to take to Keswick.
It was good to get running and Clough Head was reached in 45 minutes.
Gt Dodd was found and Sam took a bearing for us to Watson Dodd. The path to it could just be visible but we had to spread out to find the cairn. It was the same on Stybarrow where we wondered about for a few minutes looking for the top, once found Sam took a bearing to get us back on the path to Raise. It was snowing Heavy now and the wind made it even colder. The freshly laid snow was hiding ice and great care had to be taken.
Raise was found and I thought that the nav would be straight forward now but we got totally disorientated and the map and compass had to come out again. for 3 or 4 minutes we were lost, but Craig took a bearing which didn't seem right, but we trusted the compass and eventually we came to the path which had a few footprints in ( there were 3 other teams who had set off 4 hrs ahead of Ricky).
Going up Whiteside was tough with the wind and the snow getting blown in our faces and when we stopped to record the time at the summit noticed we all had icicles hanging from our faces! Our drinks had turned to slush puppies.
It wasn't till we were coming down from Dollywagon to the tarn that the dark started lifting, what a relief. Even so I slipped and slid about 30 yards on my back, trying to dig my heels in to stop.
Craig and Sam stayed at the col whilst I took Ricky up to Fairfield. With light coming through now, this big BG climb felt easy after the night we had been put through.
Once on top I took my spikes and gave them to Ricky so he could descend with confidence and reach Craig and Sam to go up Seat Sandal.
We all reached Dunmail 4hrs 10mins after we had set off. Ricky was still well under 21 hr schedule and myself Craig and Sam were relieved to of got him there in that time in some horrid conditions.
|Climbing Gt Dodd|
|Ricky coming off Fairfield|
|Dunmail and support cars|
|Ricky pondering his next move.|
It was decided at Dunmail that it wasn't safe to carry on, all the roads were blocked to Wasdale and Honister and Ricky probably made the right decision, with the only other team that had carried on after Dunmail retiring after finding Bowfell too Icy.
A top effort though.
As for me, the night made me realise no matter how well you think you know the fells, dark and extreme weather can make it a totally different monster. So much so that I today purchased a cheap GPS to throw in the packpack............ Just in case!
Later on that night I indulged in my 2nd heavy night!