Luckily for my first long run, the sun was shining and it's always nice to see the days getting longer and longer
23 miles of running + 50 mile mountain bike ride = 14 hours of great training!
I was joined by teammates Jon and Tony, and we loaded up our packs with extra heavy gear as training for our 48 hour Adventure Race coming up in just 3 weeks. The Adidas TERREX Swift is looming large, and we wanted one last big training weekend for preparation. To that effect, we planned on completing the 23 miles of the Meander, and then heading directly out again on a long mountain bike ride that would take us into the night.
Unfortunately with all the recent rains, the waterfall hike up Gordale Scar was running a little too much water, so we couldn't climb up it. Instead we got diverted up and over the moorside. I was happy to keep my feet dry, but Jon and Tony were disappointed as they had never been in the area before and were missing out on a cool part of it. There was brief talk of going up anyway
5 hr 35 min saw us back into the finish for a feast of pie and peas, which we devoured with the single-mindedness of people who know that the day is not done yet. Then it was back out on the bikes for a long loop from Settle to Horton-in-Ribblesdale and then almost up to Hawes. We got plenty of climbing in, going up and over Dodd and Wether Fells, then down to Semer Water. Yet another slow climb and fast descent (with a flat tyre on the highest, windiest, coldest point of the ride) brought us down to the River Wharf. The water level was significantly higher than usual, but as always I imagined that this would be a perfect place to come on a nice sunny day for a picnic.
Sunset was approaching by then, so we hauled out our bike lights and I reluctantly admitted that I hadn't brought my really bright lights, for some reason. I guess I hadn't been thinking clearly and had only brought lights for emergency rather than planned use. Luckily for a while, the ride was nice and smooth through the valley and a large forest and lights weren't needed.
One of the required items for the race in a few weeks is a 4-man bothy. This resembles a giant day-glo canvas drawstring bag, albeit big enough that 4 people can put it over their heads and then sit inside it, sheltered from the wind and rain. We decided that we should try it out, since we'd never used it, and perhaps we were a bit chilly anyway. Well, it was amazingly warm as soon as we had sat down in it, with all our body heat immediately bringing the temperature up inside. It also felt like the oxygen levels were falling quickly, but being warm is more important than breathing, right? Just kidding. We realized that we should have gotten in this when fixing the flat tyre on top off the moors, as our fingers were getting cold rather too quickly. It may be an asset during the race if temperatures stay below normal and/or rain is falling.
After the forest stop, there were just a few miles of singletrack left to get back to the road in Horton. I managed to ride these using ambient light and my bouncing, tiny bike light, plus a little extra glow from my teammates riding behind me. But I will never leave my bright lights at home again. At least, not if I think I "might" need them!