Paul’s Blog – Posted 06/06/16

It’s been a little while since I put pen to paper here (O.K. then, fingers to keyboard if you insist) but here goes in my briefest of brief mode which as you’ll know will be anything but brief!

Firstly thanks to all the customers we had over the last Bank Holiday weekend which was our busiest ever, your patience was hopefully duly rewarded by your enjoying your visit to us during what was an excellent spell of weather. Thanks also to Alan Mannouch for hosting our Open MIC Night on the Saturday, a very relaxed evening, please note that our next Open MIC night will be on Saturday 2nd July the same day as the Capel Curig Festival & the Siabod Fell race. This is a week later than normal due to our Reach Out for Nepal fund raising day being on Saturday 25th June. Both dates we hope you agree are worthy of writing into your diary (O.K. then typing into your computerised version, no don’t tell me I should be saying tablet or phone, I can’t cope with that).

Next, thanks to Llion Iwan, Emlyn Roberts, Steve & Judy Jones for heading up to join me at the Keswick Mountain Festival two weekends ago. Sadly our Eryri team of 5 was one less than required to meet the team requirements but that didn’t really dampen the satisfaction & enjoyment of taking part in a great series of Trail races in & around Borrowdale (although Llion’s excellent run over 50K took him a fair way away from Borrowdale, am I brave enough to follow suit next year?). We all left Keswick promising to come back with a bigger team next year to enjoy everything the Festival has to offer.

So apart from being beaten by Emlyn in the Keswick 26K by 4 minutes what else have I been up to. Firstly a few Wainwright’s either side of the race, five with Fraser before the race & then an even more enjoyable four on a fell run on the Sunday covering 11 miles with over 1,100 metres of ascent making me more than a little bit happy about my recovery powers just a day after a long race which itself was less than two weeks on from the beating I inflicted on myself on the WHW.

Back in North Wales the Bank Holiday weekend saw me escape the pots once for a 14 miler over to Llyn Elsi & back via Swallow Falls, this should have been 15 miles but as the Heavens literally opened I aborted the final climb over the flank of Moel Siabod. Truncated or not this is a wonderful route for a run or a long days walk, I fully recommend it!

Next up last Tuesday saw me following Brian Robbins as he showed me the racing line for the Gribin section of the Welsh 1,000 Metre Peaks race, this was a great help to me so thank you Brian. Of course this led directly to last Saturday’s race itself.

Did I really say to John Rowell as he drove me to the start on the North Wales coast ‘the heat will suit me’? Two & a half hours in the heat was almost killing me (despite already drinking a litre of Electrolites) as I descended off the Carneddau to Oggie Base. Feeling like bail-out was my only option I was met here by Dorina’s encouragement & John’s photography as I made a very conscious decision to forget about the time & just re-fuel properly. 3 litres of water/orange juice & two banana’s later I was on my way again but now moving very slowly. The next 5 minutes on the A. 5 was purgatory, my nemesis from two weeks before, Emlyn, wasn’t moving any faster but then it happened, what’s that?, energy?, yes, thank god the re-fuel is kicking in.

From here on I was pleased with the way I managed things, it certainly wasn’t easy but a cooler Gribin taken at sensible pace saw me recover a few of the places I’d lost on the road. The heat returned on the descent from Glyder Fawr but more fluids provided by the Marshalls at Pen y Pass & top ups of Electrolites from Dorina meant I knew I was going to finish if not at all confident what state I’d be in.

The Pyg track climb is always brutal after so many miles & climbs already under the belt, despite gaining almost 14 minutes on a demon descender who’d skipped past me twice earlier I felt laboured but was delighted to finish on Snowdon’s cooler summit after some 5 Hours & 50 minutes to be rewarded with a kit check & more enjoyably several warm handshakes from those I’d been battling against. These included the demon descender who’s final short descent off Crib y Ddysgl proved too much for me to make up on the final short climb to Snowdon’s summit.

10 minutes later I began a modest trot back down the Pyg in the knowledge that I had pulled through quite a pain barrier. For me this trot back down is arguably the race’s highlight, you have done it, you have the ability to still trot & you have the chance to cheer on those brave competitors who are still battling their way up. Emlyn was one of those clearly having had an epic & expressed his concerns about heat exhaustion, for once I had beaten him after several recent losses but the climb did not beat him, I have since heard he was later seen in Llanberis enjoying a very well deserved pint. There were more retiree’s than normal including Brian Robbins for the first time in his racing career, defeat? not a bit of it, extremely sensible & a perfect example of how to manage ourselves in the mountains & the conditions.

Two days on I still have beaten up quads & big toes, am still tired & now have to consider my plans for the rest of June. The Reach Out for Nepal runs are on but Coed y Brenin Half Marathon a week before may have to go by the way as I focus on the Charity goal.

Back to the 1,000’s, provisional results now in, I came 31st out of 79 who finished the long course fell race (having finally moved up from the Mountaineer’s class) & 2nd in my over 50’s category. Best of all despite the heat the Carneddau & Snowdon sections were 6 & 5 minutes faster, respectively, than last year. O.K. last year I was wearing boots & carrying more kit but this news brought an inner smile to my simple mind.

Finally a thank you to Harvey Lloyd & his team of Organiser’s & Marshall’s, occasionally it can feel a little shambolic but this is a very complex race with multiple categories & routes, it is one of the clear highlight’s of Snowdonia’s racing calender & they are warmly appreciated for their efforts.

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