I’m very pleased to report that the Pilgrim’s Challenge was completed in some fairly challenging conditions over 4-5 February with very little ill-effects. Having set off from Sheffield at 4am the race for those of us deemed “walkers” (for me due to back issues) at 8am in temperatures hovering around -7 degrees C. Day 1 was relatively straightforward and in fact the cold weather helped keep the going underfoot nice and firm, as it looked like it could get really really muddy. With almost 11kg on my back, slipping around in mud would have become very tiresome very quickly.
|-7 degrees stops the mud being too slippy|
Once I got into a metronomic rhythm with my poles click-clacking along, there was no stopping me and I managed to cover the 33 miles, with 1,200m of ascent in 7 hours 51 mins. Not bad for a walker. The overnight stop was in a school hall, with about 150 other competitors, and to try to replicate race conditions as much as possible, I stuck to race rations (with the exception of a cup of tea and piece of cake). Dehydrated fish and potato, Bombay mix and peanuts for dinner. Yum. I was surprised how little I’d eaten during the day (a mini peperami and a pack of dextrose sweets – about 250 calories in total) and yet didn’t feel especially hungry.
|Still smiling at the night stop|
|The North Downs Way|
|Walking in a winter wonderland|
The last week since the Pilgrim’s Challenge wasn’t supposed to be as quiet as it turned out, but my legs did feel quite lifeless and with the snow and ice and a trip to London with work thrown in the middle of the week, it was fairly tame. Some sessions on the turbo were squeezed into a the week but the walking suffered a little.
At the weekend, I had decided to convert the week into a “rest” week and so planned less than the normal outings. Given the now melted and re-frozen conditions on the trails I think this was a sensible move. I also experimented with a little more trotting on both Saturday and Sunday and all was going well. The Yaktrax proved their worth again fighting to keep me upright although both mine and Richard’s paid the price and started to fall apart towards the end – new ones now on order from Amazon so guarantee no more snow now until next winter!
|Almost back running, near Redmires|
I’ve also been busy adding the (hopefully) final touches to my kit list including food, and testing the fuel tablets we’ll be given on the race to work out how many I’ll need to take. I’m aiming to have a full race kit ready to go by next weekend, then to start taking bits out as I realise how heavy it really is.