Saturday, 10 September 2011

Borrowdale 2011

For a few years I said I would never do this race and back in 2010, after a last minute substitution, I entered Borrowdale for the first time. There wasn’t much hope (or plan) of finishing it but I gave it a go and retired during the race.

This year I entered as soon as I could but up to race day I didn’t feel my fitness was really any better than the previous year. The plan was simply to make it to Honister Slate mine inside or outside the time limit.

A separate blog entry mentions the issues I’d been having with footwear and in the week leading to the race I was still in a dilemma. The Mudclaw 333’s would be painful but give me the grip I needed but the Adidas Swoops would give me the comfort but were absolutely USELESS on wet rock. In the end I decided that comfort had to be the winner.

After some standing around in the rain before the start the race headed off towards Bessyboot. The initial climb up didn’t feel as bad as last year and I certainly felt like I had a little more energy coming off the top.

From here we contoured around the rear of Glaramara and over Allen Craggs to Esk Hause Shelter. Again I felt ok over this section, passing a few people along the way. However next came the section from Esk Hause to Scafell Pike and on to StyHead Tarn.

On passing the shelter I took the opportunity to stuff my face and took in a packet of Haribo, a lollipop and a mini snickers. With my Adidas shoes on I had NO confidence on the damp rock of Broad Crag and I lost quite a bit of time here and clambering up and off the top of Scafell Pike. Even coming down the scree run I felt like I was holding back.

By the time I arrived at StyHead I felt that I was already pushing it for time. I topped up my water and pushed on. The slog up Great Gable is a killer when your legs are tired and they were. During the climb I caught up to a girl and we finished the climb together but once on the top she seemed to disappear of in one direction that seemed to be towards Beck Head. The rain had bean threatening as I reached the top and this was my worry with the Adidas Swoops on. The descent from Gable is short but quite rocky and with the rain I became quite hesitant again.

In 2010 I reached the col between Great Gable and Green Gable with just 3 mins to the cut-off so had no time to make it to Honister and by now I was pretty certain that with 25 minutes from Gable I probably didn’t have enough time to make the cut-off but this year I planned to make it there.

Having never been up Green Gable I didn’t realise how close to the col it actually was but I also didn’t realise how far over Honister was. With the rain coming down more and my map in hand my I veered to the right of Green Gable andthe right of Brandreth, then crossing the fence I picked up what seemed to be the trod around the left of Grey Knotts but by this time I had about 2 mins to get to Honister when suddenly I heard “ere Mark!”. I looked to the right and saw Tony Varley on the opposite site of the fence.

Asking him if he was ok he shouted over “cramp!”, so I started to head to him. He climbed the fence and then dropped to the floor with cramp again. I helped him up and we walked for a short period. He taken on some water with a Nuun tablet and I guess it just needed to kick in. After a few minutes we started trotting but Tony still seemed to be suffering but said he was ok so I carried on as I was still keen to see how much over I would have been to Honister. As I ran on a bit further I heard another “Ey up!” and I turned to see Anthony Alexander limping down the hill. It turned out he’d injured himself before Styhead but carried on anyway, but now he was really struggling to walk properly.

After a moment chatting and making sure he was ok I carried on down to Honister where Scoffer (Race organiser) was there to record people that had been timed out. I arrived at Honister some 15 minutes after the cut-off time but I wasn’t too bothered about this. Tony and Anthony were both hobbling down the hill and probably took another 5-10 mins to get down where Scoffer kindly gave us a lift back to the start.

Looking back on the race I firmly think I can make the cut-off next time “if” I have the right footwear. I lost too much time on Broad crag and Scafell that really annoyed and also has to stop to clear out stones from my shoes. Also I think that my ascending is “slowly” getting better and with some perseverance I should be able to attack the climbs a little better and have more time to play with.

Thanks to the race Organiser and all the Marshalls who allow this event to happen. Scoffer also mentioned that there is a reliance on volunteers to help with this event even with the jobs that don’t involve getting out on the mountains. So if you are ever free to help please don’t forget that without volunteers these great races wouldn’t happen so please give something back when you can!

No pictures from me I’m afraid during this race.


1 comment:

  1. Sounds brutal. I'd love to do that race someday but I'm enjoying taking my time too much at the moment