A little overdue this one but I think a better late than never policy is applicable here…
OMM 2019 Largs
So, here we go. The run-up for both Tim and I was un-spectacular. I think we were both less confident about our shape than we would've liked, and pre-OMM excitement was perhaps replaced with a feeling of - I can't wait for this to be done. Saying that, a good run at the Pentland Skyline gave me some (possibly false) confidence and we've both done enough running in the last year that our long plod abilities are at a respectable level. The start list was looking more stacked than previous years which was great to see, this year was going to be interesting.
We had a luxurious night in an Airbnb on Friday where we re-acquainted ourselves with sleeping together. On our walk to the start on Saturday morning we could see GG & HH walking not far behind us, so we wanted to get a move on and make sure they didn't start too close behind us… Then we got to the start and saw Peds & Freya which was fantastic, and then we saw Nathan & Tom which was nice but less fantastic in terms of the racing. We moved on through to the start as we didn't want to faff about and N & T went the minute after us, nice.
We had a good start with the first couple of hours going well, we'd kept ahead of N & T, as well as passing Nick and Jim. The terrain at this point seemed very tough but manageable. We had a shorter leg on #5 which took in some nasty heather and we perhaps didn't take the optimal line, when we looked back, we could see N & T, N & J, and GG & HH not far behind hmmm. #6 was a long leg and we had an idea of the rough line we wanted to take but it was dependent on what the terrain looked like. Coming out of #5 we ended up hacking through some extra thick stuff, which got me tired. Frustratingly N & J and GG & HH picked up a good line/trod out of #5 and by the time Tim and I got onto the trod and out of the waste, they'd caught us. I felt like trash when we joined the train, but it seemed like a no-brainer to sit-in and see what happens. We ran on a trod by a wall all together for a while, it felt hard but okay.
Eventually we left the trod for some more garbage terrain and immediately I realised that these bad feels were going to be problematic. The legs became unable to lift very high and I couldn't keep with GG & HH (N & J had dropped off a few mins before). I then entered a classic AM dizzy state, feeling dire, I was plodding slowly and kept falling over. Didn’t help that the terrain was not friendly, and we couldn't find any nice lines. I'd pretty much lost cognitive function so all I could do was desperately try and keep up with Tim and try and get myself out of this state. Thanks to Tim for doing the nav.
Thankfully, I did slowly come out of this state and hope wasn't completely lost. N & T had overtaken us on the long leg on a different line, though for some reason I was sure they hadn't, N & J had too but we could see they weren't far ahead. The terrain continued to be filth, but we were moving okay again, slowly catching N & J and eventually catching N & T. When we caught N & T I got quite excited and was feeling good, so we railed it to try and take some time into them. This worked for a short while and we got a good gap but about 10/15mins from the finish I completely blew up again, despite taking two gels. I think I ground it out okay but to be honest I don't remember much.
The couple of hours after we finished, I have vague memories of but here is what either I do remember, or I've been told happened. I downloaded and asked what the damage was. We were second but 25mins down, this seemed an okay result given the run we'd had but also somewhat demoralising. People at download asked me if I was okay, I said yes. Tim and I put all our clothes on, we sat down in the porch of download and ate crisps. I got up and went back inside download, more people ask me if I was okay, I sat down. Tim and a lovely man called Darren (?) escorted me to some sort of first aid tent, not sure if it was a first aid tent, but definitely a tent. I sat this tent for a while, Tim gave me some of his food, then Tim put our tent up whilst I remained in this other tent, thanks for that Tim. Tim escorted me to our tent, soon I was more of a functioning human but still somewhat dysfunctional. The cooking all went well with Tim taking care of that, though Tim is incapable of lighting a lighter, so it was a good thing I was there for that.
Sleeping was cold and unpleasant, but I got some and felt quite recovered in the morning. We lost a lot of pegs sadly and when we needed to get up and go the weather was at its worst. We got everything ready inside the tent, with our weight being essentially the only thing stopping it from blowing away. When we got out of the tent it was instantly horrible, the hands were freezing, making packing everything up tricky. Once packed, we quickly ran to the bogs, where I put some more clothes and we composed ourselves. Another stint of running to the start and we made it there with a couple of minutes to spare, good job.
GG & HH hadn’t made it to the start on time (though it was a punching start) so we started a minute behind them, with N & T 3 minutes after us. Had it been a real chasing start it would have been a very interesting battle for second since 4 teams (2nd – 5th) were within 3 minutes on day 1. Anyway, there was a route choice to #1, path with extra distance or bosh it straight onto a ridge. GG & HH went for path, we went for straight, we lost a couple of mins to GG & HH but minimal to N & T. On our way to #2 we realised we were catching GG & HH and we caught them just after punching the control.
From here it was a solid day of yo-yo-ing on and off with them. The lines we were taking seemed good, we had no problems finding the controls and I was feeling much better overall. With a few controls to go we couldn't see N & T behind, so it seemed likely that we'd bagged ourselves second, but we didn't want to count our chickens. On the third to last control we took a slightly different route to GG & HH to mix things up, but it turned out a little slower. Then the penultimate control was excellent fun smashing it off the hill, we caught and passed GG and HH near the end which I felt a little guilty about, but it was possible we needed those seconds, so I don’t feel too bad. Then we finished, it was a relief to be done.
So that's that, we came second. Once again big kudos to GG & HH, they wiped the floor on day 1. Massive thanks to Tim for being a superb partner, as always, and looking after me when me brain and legs ain’t werking right. Also, kudos to anyone who ground it out in that horrible place, ideally, I will never return. My OMM elites have gone 4th, 3rd, 2nd now, and if I'm honest, the feels about this result are underwhelming, we were in it to win it and personally I am disappointed with the first day. Having said that, it’s good we’re having to work for it, and I look forward to more grim times to come oh yes.