Random musings about mountain bikes…

Keswick 2 Barrow Walk (oh the pain)…

Well it was the Keswick 2 Barrow 40 mile walk on Saturady just gone.

Had been doing a lot of running and training for it with the idea of trying to run as much as possible of it on the day.  We did it last year and I ran the first twenty miles then walked the rest and came in at 8 hours and 29 minutes.  Obviously the goal this year was to get a new personal best.

The day started a bit miserable with a smattering of rain but at least it was quite pleasant temperature wise.  Set off from Keswick at 5:30 am with a target of sub 8 hours in my mind.  I had contemplated not taking a pack with me but over forty miles it is nice to have some food and water so chucked the Osprey Raptor 14 on my back for supplies. 

The first ten miles went in approx 55 minutes and then bumped into Andrew (one of my fellow team members) at the 13 mile marker.  He had set off a bit later and was well on his way for an impressive time. Everything went great till about the 17 mile point when we had to climb a steep rough track for approx half a mile, I started to descend down the other side when all of a suddent there was a funny clicking noise and my left leg went from under me.  A sudden pain in my groin told me that something wasn’t quite right.  I hobbled down the hill and into the 20 mile check point were a brief discussion with St. Johns lead me to believe that I had pulled/torn a muscle or tendon in my groin.  There was pretty much nothing they could do at a small wooded car park next to Coniston and needed to rest it.   

The 20 mile checkpoint had the refreshment there so I stumbled over and got myself a burger and a cup of tea to contemplate what to do next.  Do I arrange for our support vehicle (the mum-in-law) to pick me up or try for the next checkpoint which was a bit more accessable via road?  After consuming my burger and cheering Will (another team member) on I decided to try and get to the 27 mile checkpoint were I know the mum-in-law would be.  The pain had subsided so I thought I would be brave.

At the 22 mile marker I realised I had made a mistake, I was now averaging around 2 mph (instead of my 5mph target) and could not put any weight on my left leg.  At 25 miles I stopped at a nice bench overlooking Coniston and rang the missus to ensure she was okay (somewhere on the walk behind me) and to see if transport would be at 27 miles?  No signal surprising for our remote spot.

I finally arrived at the 27 mile checkpoint to see Margarat (mum-in-law) waiting.  She was quite surprised to see me thinking I had been through earlier on.  It was at that point I decided my race was over.  About ten minutes later Alison came through, she had shin splints and could not run so was struggling along at a slower speed than she expected.

Alison continued on and it was at that point I felt like a bit of a failure.  I dont like being beaten or giving up, but knew it was for the best.  My leg felt a bit better taking the weight of it so told Margaret that I was going to hobble to the checkpoint to buzz in and advise them I was pulling out.  On route to the checkpoint I deceided that my leg felt better and that I would be gutted to quit now.  As I swiped in I decided to push on.  I had forgot this section of the race was over Kirkby Moor.  An exposed road leading over the top of the moor with a climb that just went on and on.  It was at this point I bumped into Chris, a young lad who was struggling even more than me.  He had been clutching a Mars bar for the last twenty miles, using it as motivation to finish the race.  He told me his Girlfriend (or Ex) as she had suddently become had arrnaged to meet him at the 27 mile checkpoint with a bundle of food and goodies to cheer him up.  She had not been there!  we shared some jovial banter and this spared us on for  a while.  Chris stopped at the 29 mile marker to rest, I had to keep going on so left him to his personal torment.  It was at that point that it started raining again, it was as if the weather knew my sadness and suffering and deceided to reflect that in some heavy rain.  As I reached the 30 mile checkpoint  I headed to a portaloo and sheltered in it out of the rain.  I must have sat there for a good ten minutes before the door started rattling from someone trying to gain entry.  I realised that I was sat dripping wet through in a dirty portaloo and decided this was not good, as I emerged I realised that there was in fact three people waiting for the toilet,standing in the pouring rain. I apologised and carried on. 

When no one was around I would mumble to myself and groan and then when people passed I would try and straighten up and say hello.  This carried on for quite a distance until we reached Dalton.  It was at that point that I realised my legs were rubbing from wet shorts and distance and the blessed relief of Vaseline from a lovely St. Johns ambulance woman helped me through that scenario.  The marshall at the drinks station advised ‘only three miles to go’ and it was then that my spirtis raised.  I could do this!!!!

The last three miles went a blur with my just focussing on one foot infront of the other.  I crossed the finish line in 10 hours 41 minutes.  No way as good as the year before but I had completed it. 

Alison and Andrew met me and we congratulated each other.  Andrew had done 7 hours and Alison just under 10 hours.  They then headed to the car as they were driving back to Essex that night, I did not envy a six hour drive after that…

My wife Vicky and her friend Sara came in 7 minutes after me, they had knocked off over 2 hours 30 minutes off there time, they were really pleased with themselves, and rightly so. 

I stretched as much as possible and then thoroughly enjoyed a hot dog and a pint of bitter shandy.

The challenge invovled some great successes and down sides. Andrew with his 7 hour time and Will with 8 hours and 49 minutes had both done brilliantly.  Vick and Sara had walked it all with a very impressive time.  Myself and Alison were defeated with injuiries but at least we finished. 

Sara is already talking about next year and getting a sub 10 hour time, currnetly as I sit here deciding to pop into the drop in centre, have no desire to do it again next year, although that little part of my brain is still thinking I can beat that first time. 

Hopefully my injury is not too serious, I have a marathon in July and need to keep up the training.

I cant be off my feet too long as the weather is getting better and my bike is sat waiting to be ridden!

Will keep you posted on my progress.




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