22 May 2011

"Long May The Madness Continue!" - The Old County Tops Race 2011

We had a few Dallam teams in, some first timers and some experienced old hands! I'd drafted in my team mate Lee as a ringer(my southern softy road running mate).

The initial pace was quick, 7 minute mileing down langdale, no way we would keep this up!

We were all pretty much together at the top of Helvellyn which was blowing a Gale and shrouded in mist, when suddenly for some unexplained reason we decided to vear off to the right in the mist and do an extra 1.2 miles for good measure losing 12 mins on the rest.

Lee started to hammer down whelpside to make up time, me cursing our error behind, when suddenly Lee clipped a clump of grass with his toe and went somersaulting down whelpside like a stunt man(looked like he'd done this sort of thing before)!

Our race seemingly over at this early stage, Lee sustaining a rib injury, we filled him with painkillers and decided just to plod on and see if he improved!

After 1/2 hr his chest pain had eased a bit and he was talking again, but unfortunately as happens in team endurance events our mood cycles were now in phase, so when he was grumpy so was I , and a complete sense of humour failure nearly consumed us!

I took the right hand Traverse line to greenup edge and then a low line to angle tarn, this seemed to claw us back some time and we started to catch a few teams, and sense of humour was returning, Lee now high on pain killers!

Then the Scafells, more rain, mist and strong winds, we were back to grumpy! A group of walkers stopped at one stage to shake our hands saying "Long may the madness continue guys!".
An ok Line down Narrowcove gaining us another couple of places, then the long run to Cockley Beck, we were worried about the cut off, but got in at 258pm the cut off being 330pm and we'd gained another 2 or 3 places, we were pretty sure the other Dallam teams were ahead as we hadn't seen any of them since our blunder on Helvellyn.

A plod up Grey Friar into more mist, heavy rain and driving wind, then the long traverse round to Coniston Old Man, teams were heading back at this stage retracing their steps back to Wet Side Edge, as we were about 10 mins from the summit of Coniston Ray and Mike Came out of the mist looking fresh, we were I guess about 30 mins behind them at this stage, they said they hadn't seen the others, though difficult to see anybody in the rain and fog!

We checked in at Consiton summit, the officials hiding away in a little ridge tent in the driving rain and wind, just a little door flap open to shout your numbers through!

At last no more climbing and a quickish descent out of the rain down wet side edge, another good line off wet side saw us overtake another 5 or 6 teams and we were soon pounding the road down wrynose, my legs about to cramp at any second due to the change from fell to road.

Approaching Dungeon Ghyll and the finish there were about another 4 teams just in front Lee keen to put a sprint on at this stage and overtake them! Unfortunately I couldn't muster much more than a limp!

Ray and Mike were there to greet us at the finish, all the Dallam teams ran well, but Ray and Mike ran a stormer!

Well we'd survived despite the horrific conditions and Lee refusing to eat any Malt bread at the checkpoints as he doesn't like butter, declining the offer from Gary the Marshall to lick it off for him first! I'd changed my mind about Lee being a softy after he ran 30 miles with a rib injury!!

(Ps. I forgot to mention Lee later passed out in the Spar Shop at Troutbeck meaning I had to drag him out to the car and recline in the passenger seat and then drive his Van back! I think he might have overdone the painkillers, a shot of Naloxone when we got home seemed to bring him round mind you!)

10 Hrs 12 mins , so only another 13 hrs 47 mins and another 17000ft of climbing will see me round the BG in 3 weeks time!!

Long May The Madness continue!

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