Orienteering 4:55:47  27.4 km (10:48 / km) +1675m 8:16 / km
Mourne Mountain Marathon Day 2
We took a very late start (so late it was in fact outside the start window, but we were allowed away with it).
Hungry to gain back time, we started hard. Marked on 1 & 2, and set off down the track.
Hard to be sure how good our 'mark on the run' strategy is, but we'd but 6-7mins into most of the other top teams by number 1 today (20mins in), and had we started a bit earlier, we would have reeled them in by this point.
Took the left/safe route to 2, took our time to mark some more in, and got caught up by / caught up with McCloy.
We struggled a little to pinpoint where 3 & 4 on the cluster were positioned, but after checking with McCloy, I was inclined to agree with lorrieq's initial assessment. We decided on left up the stream to the col, and contour round the far side of Cove Mtn - which worked a treat and we picked up 3 teams for our troubles.
Then we dropped below the crags to get the lower cluster control first, as we realised we would have to come back up to the other, and you wouldn't be able cross the massive crags. Sure enough, as we battled into it, the teams we had caught came down into, having got the high one first - you could there was a gap in the crags.
Killer that this wasn't on the map, cost us the guts of 10mins.
We ploughed on still, moving alright even if not flying. Could see McCloy ahead as we pressed on the Brandy Pad, and we did the cluster the other way round to them, dropping to the low one early. Tough terrain, but got through the cluster alright, and came into the stile with 3 teams leaving it just ahead (incl. Mahon in 3rd, and McCloy, all about 5mins). This was a bit of a confidence booster, but we still had to refill water, and mark the next cluster, so we did give them a bit of a gap.
Struggled a bit on the next one or two myself, but we worked through it. My arms started going limp, which was weird as hell and mildly worrying, could tell I was just tired, but I could literally feel the blood in my veins.
Saw coming into 10 that McCloy was still close, and one of the other teams were struggling. Reeled them in on the next climb, and decided on wide left of donard, along the brandy pad again, for this next cluster.
We didn't drop on to the track early enough and got caught in some rocky shite. We were struggling now, really at our slowest, and walked up the track to the brandy pad before getting going.
Crossing the mourne wall again, we took a gel and rallied across the hill to the crag foot. Motored along the side, getting most of the climb done through the rocky bits to make it easier. Hitting this I got moving and we ran out a bit of the climb, and once in the terrain got going, and really reeled in McCloy's team.
Strong finish down the track (except for stopping at an awfully grid referenced control).
Better day, but still a good few rough points, and an annoying time loss on the early cluster.
Was tight, with the top 5 teams today all with in 12mins or so, us in 4th.
Managed to get the better of Hill & O'Boyle and move up to 4th overall, about 20mins down on 2nd. Vokes & Paul clearly running stronger and would have taken 2 very good days to beat them, but without our really stupid mistake on day 1, 2nd should have been comfortable enough.
A lot to learn from it though. Hopeful of a map to come.