Monday, 5 December 2011

Open 5, Bacup

5th Male Solo out of about 70 starters, 4h46m

For those of you who haven't heard of Open 5 before, this is their website and they typically do pretty long running / biking / kayaking adventure race type stuff through hilly and mountainous terrain.

I'd do more of their events apart from the kayaking bit, which just doesn't float my boat (sorry about that).

I've done 1 in the recent past - up at Haworth with James Block about a year ago - sadly, my eagerness far outweighed my ability to work out which controls were worth anything, so I came home tired, but way down.

This time, I was more prepared to get it right - I now knew that they put the high value controls in the middle with the lesser ones around the edge (that's the opposite of what I'm used to). I also learnt to take a big waterproof bag so that I could cross off the low pointers even if it was raining. I even learnt to put the control descriptions on my arm, so I could read off the exact values as I went round. Perfect.

What could possibly go wrong ?!?!?!?

Well, my preparation on the morning wasn't perfect, I was still getting changed and gear faffing at 10:15, so I was late to set off which also meant I didn't have time to read the instructions. I never read instructions really unless I've got time to kill, which I didn't. And anyway, I do these kind of things week in and week out, so why would I need to read instructions ?!? Well, have a look at the MTB map and you'll see what my initial problem was... not obvious ?
MTB map with Lee Quarry insert

Well where are controls 1-5 ??? 

They're not marked = utter confusion !!!
Lee Quarry inset with controls 1-5 marked (?)
I asked a guy on the start line who was helping out but who also hadn't looked at the instructions or map and we concluded that controls 1-5 were marked on the inset Lee Quarry map. Phew. In fact, if you look at the Lee Quarry insert, you can see controls 1-5 in faint blue. Sorted so set off. Erm, I couldn't seem to find number 1 - but no problem as I'd get that on the way back to changeover for the run. Hold on ? I couldn't find 2 either ? Too cold to hang around.

Hold on - I found 3 but there was no control there ? This was getting silly ? Someone else found one near me, so I dibbed in. Eventually I stumbled across another. Just then it got too windy and cold to stand around so blow it out was the only option. I got going up towards the Cragg Quarry link. As I cycled up the very long hill into a very strong headwind I was thinking how strange it was that they'd not put any controls in Cragg Quarry. Hey ho. Time to sweep up some controls. 

Picked em up in the order of 8, 7, (fanny around Cragg Quarry looking for the bridleway that  links to contruction site / mast before 13 which I couldn't find so straight to) 14, 19, 20, big shiver after that 10 minute descent, (should have gone to 18 in hindsight), 15, 11, 10, 9 then back to the changeover not seeing any more around Lee Quarry as I zipped through. I never felt at all fast and had virtually eaten and drunk nothing. 

Run map
Bottle of fuel at transition and a bit of a struggle to get fell shoes on, then off on the run. I'd got cold in transition, but it didn't hit me until I walked up the climb reading the map working out the course - I couldn't stop shivering, well shaking actually, shaking all over actually. Just get running I thought and head up quick. Soon got going, overtaking people and generally feeling ok now. Straight to the first control, then straight to the 2nd, and so on. Pretty easy nav, and great running across bogs and tussocks and legs felt really good too. 

Halfway through a bog, I bump into Mick Kenyon so neither of us feeling competitive, we start chatting away and he explains to me how controls 1-5 were 'on the red route somewhere, you just had to bump into them'. Not my idea of a nav event. He also explains how the numbers I'd been looking at on the Lee Quarry inset were actually the information board numbers and nothing to do with the event ! Nice. After the event I also notice that controls 4-5 were on Cragg Quarry red route, and were worth 60 pts. Bugger. Probably went straight past em too.

Just left was to sweep up the run controls. Didn't see a soul in the last hour which was strange but I think a lot of people blew it out early as the conditions were atrocious. There's very few times I've been that cold in an event. Biking + Wet Sleet = No fun ! Anyway, I really enjoyed the run and felt great at the end, in fact I noticed that my legs weren't even aching. Back 15 mins early, download and watch the awards ceremony. Open 5 do this bit very very well.

Turns out I did OK, 5th in my category. Just gotta work out where I'd come if I hadn't cocked up lee and cragg !

Results here
Fannying around Cragg,
generally lost
1st Run Control - No I'm not looking at the map cos I'm lost,
I'm working out my 'best route choice' actually !