FRA Relays - Leg 2
First proper outing with HBT and my third go at FRAs, this time doing leg 2 with Murray.
Things got off to a stressful start when Don came in from a stormer on leg 1 while I was still in the scrum getting my kit checked. Started hearing shouts for my name while my kit was all over the floor so had to ram it in the bumbag, force my way out of the crowd and run down the runout with compass in my mouth struggling to put my bumbag on and take my thermal off. Got sorted in the end and while we were running down the path with Carnethy tried to figure out what the hell was going on. Once we got onto the fell it was a bit clearer - could see Dark Peak and Shettleston a few hundred metres ahead and after looking back part of the way up I could see we were driving the front of a fairly large train of teams including Carnethy and Keswick.
Felt really good up the first climb to Beinn Dubh and once we got up into the fog (about halfway up) we pushed on and got onto the back of Shettleston. Jethro was clearly finding the climb hard with Spongey encouraging him along. Hit the summit with them and basically ran with them through the thick fog for the whole ridge section. We had a go at the shortcut I'd reccied previously but missed it in the fog and came out on the path again without having gained or lost anything. I really enjoyed this section too, the conditions were pretty epic but I felt like I was running within myself and knew we were going at a decent pace. I was glad of the strong wind too so I couldn't smell too much of the vest YP had lent me. Anwen popped out of the fog on the way down to CP 3 and sounded like she was having a fantastic time which was impressive!
CP 3 didn't look like I remembered it in daylight so we hesitated and ended up dropping down a bit late which was frustrating but when we did we came below the cloud and could see Kris and Rhys not far ahead. When we crossed the stream we were with Shettleston still, DP were probably about 40s ahead and Keswick not much more behind us. At this point I was still surprised at how good I felt and was having thoughts about catching DP on the final descent if we could hold them up the climb.
Once we got going on the walk/scramble back up the wall to Beinn Dubh though it became clear that we couldn't go at the same pace as the other teams. Sponge and Jethro steadily pulled ahead and Keswick were gaining behind. It think Murray and I were fairly even here but it was a weird feeling - my glutes had a lot of lactic and would cry out each time I took a step too large but I was hardly out of breath. I didn't think I was really pushing that hard but I also couldn't move my legs any faster and my back was quite sore. I've never done a climb like this before (and wouldn't rush to again) but I guess it's quite a specific skill/fitness which needs practice. The average gradient is ~50% and after what felt like a long time Murray told me that we only had MFD to go which wasn't music to my ears at that point.
We hit the top at the same time as Keswick and started to shuffle on the flatter stuff. My legs felt very heavy which I was expecting but I just thought I'd need to run it off for a few hundred metres before they came back to me. Unfortunately this didn't happen, they just got worse, and as soon as we started descending they felt really weird. I was reminded of the videos of Jonny Brownlee recently when he had heatstroke and looked like he was doing a weird dance over the finish line. I knew how running should work but it was like I had someone else's legs and they weren't doing what they were told. I couldn't tell at the time but based on my DOMS I think it was my quads which had popped on the climb and were completely cramped up. Keswick got away despite one of them (and Murray) having to stop to put a shoe back on while I minced down the hill and hobbled along the path at the end just trying not to fall flat on my face.
I was frustrated to lose so much time and hold Murray up at the end but really enjoyed the tactical racing for the first 2/3rds of the race. I'm not sure that going slower early on would have made any difference to the outcome and was glad that, in the end, the time we lost at changeover didn't change anything either. Super keen to run this leg again in future and would love to come and do the Beinn Dubh race next year too. 3rd place for the team in the end after good runs from all (Doug and Coombs in particular making the decisive moves on the nav leg), which is what I thought we were capable of beforehand too. Great day out!
Results - http://www.sportident.co.uk/results/2016/BritishFe...