Hi! It’s been a while as we’ve all been busy, but needless to say we’ve got plenty of bright ideas as always. Mine for this year is The Dragon’s Back Race – for those unaware of this legendary race, it’s 200 miles through Wales over 5 days! There’s a bit more to it than that as it’s also a tad hilly – check out http://www.dragonsbackrace.com.

Training has been going pretty well on the whole, and there’s probably a load of stories to tell about those adventures (it’s always an adventure!), but my most recent jaunt was up the Langdales (ish) yesterday and was a cracker of a day out.

I didn’t get as much mileage in as I’d hoped, but a number of things worked well, and a number of things didn’t

What worked well:

My new Suunto Ambit – bloody amazing. I got it primarily for the altimeter, and this helped no end with nav, especially contouring on a couple of occasions. The downside was realising that it wasn’t calibrated correctly and is set about 30m high, I think, well it’s not right anyway!
Nav 1 – i was on my own, in unfamiliar territory, and this was deliberate to test my skills. I managed to be pretty much on the dot with my nav and working under cold/windy/claggy conditions a good few times.
Nav 2 – I’m getting REALLY good at aiming off and handrailing. Too good. Ok, I don’t always know exactly where I am still but that’s ok as I’m not in a mountain marathon… Oh… I AM?
My legs – on the whole my ascending and descending was brilliant and I’m gaining loads of confidence in repeated ‘big’ hills. More so since I passed a couple of people going up some fairly steep hills yesterday including The Band
Food – for the second time on an outing, my feeding has worked and I’ve managed to eat plenty. Got hold of a load of Gu gels recently and bloody love them, especially vanilla bean. Also got hold of a load of Beet-It bars, and whilst I’d describe the taste as interesting, it’s not unpleasant and the results are incredible. I’ve also carried on using Chia Charge flapjacks and trail mix as they’re just flipping incredible

What didn’t work so well:

Shoe choice. I won’t say what I wore, but I was all over the place on snow and grass particularly. This is the second time I’ve worn these and I’ve now got no confidence in them at all. I miss my trusted and trusty Inov8 Roclite boots and 295’s! Need to get this sorted, but it’s no major as I’ve got some holey boots to wear and some new Trailroc’s especially for the Dragon. These particular shoes also rubbed my big toes to buggery.
Pack – biggest kit trauma at moment. I’ve just somehow managed to bust my Ultimate Direction pack, and don’t have anything smaller than my Aarn 33 litre that I feel comfortable with. Borrowed an OMM pack off Beavis and hated it.
Litter – I picked up a load of litter, which was off the beaten track and which always irritates the crap out of me – some of it looked like someone had been wild camping and left their food tins. Nod to Stuart Smith here as I did a spot of ‘wombling’ and dumped it back in a bin at ODG car park