Monday, 7 December 2009

OMM 2009 - Class B - Day 2

The pain in my knee didn't prevent me dropping straight back off to sleep. The 6 o'clock alarm woke us up just before the megaphone man wandered round the field announcing start times. The pain didn't make a reappearance so, not wanting to tempt fate, I didn't mention it. As it turned out I had no knee problems all day, unlike the day before.

The new sleeping bag was fine in the night but it probably didn't drop below 5 deg C. I'm not sure it would be comfortable at 0 deg which is what it's rated at but down filling apparently reacts to temperature drops and fluffs up. I'll have ot wait and see.

Breakfast consisted of Expedition Food's porridge and strawberries. It was a bit on the sweet side but very filling. The rain had stopped and the sky was clear but there was a bitter wind blowing. We were ejected from sheltering in the barn while killing time before the start. So we wandered up to the start ten minutes before our time.

The first control was straight up onto the top and along a shoulder heading south. As with the day before route choice was very limited. A mixture of grass, bogs and tussocks took us over an undulating route, west of Drygarn Fawr, to controls 2 and 3.

Things started to go awry at control 4. The woods we thought we were heading for were actually hidden out of sight behind a hill, so we overshot. The fence was a clue but we thought maybe they hadn't put it on the map. Note to self: "Trust the sodding map!!!". Ten minute later we're back on track. At this point I can feel my right heel starting to blister. It was bearable so I kept going. It was at this point that we came across the first of the many dead sheep that we found. There's often one or two sheep remains on a run but we must have come across a dozen by the end of the day. I later heard that one competitor fell into a decomposing sheep carcase.

From there on in the blister was joined by another on my left heel. We had to stop at control 7 to patch up my heels. The compeeds lasted about 5 minutes before coming off. It was a case of grin and bear it from then on. We picked off control 8 then headed across to 9 and on approaching it the tightly packed contours on the map manifested into the world dropping away under our feet. Control 9 was a little dot down at the bottom of one of those slopes you wouldn't attempt without some nice spikey soles. Dave dashed off down while I gingerly eased my way down. We climbed back up at a tangent rather than go straight back up.

Back up on the top we picked off control 10, found 11 in its 'stoney renetrant' and picked up the zig zag path down to 12. Then it was down into the Elan Valley and a flat run of about a mile to the finish line.

A short walk to Elan Village later we found ourselves in a queue for the bus back to the event centre. There was a soup tent serving delicious soup so we indulged in a couple of cupfuls while waiting. What we couldn't see was the queue winding itself down the road.

An hour later we reached the front of the queue. The weather was on our side but had it been cold and wet I reckon there'd have been a few cases of hypothermia. The warmth of the bus was very welcome.

Back at the event centre I had my first ever shower at an OMM. They were lovely and hot if a little grimy after several hundred other competitiors had used them. My feet were in a state. I'd ripped the skin off both heels and had two black toenails.

Our overnight 38th place had dropped to 63rd after our day 2 glitches. All things considered though not a bad weekend's work.

Post script: Dave went on to win the Bingley Harriers' 2009 club championship which shows that he was on a roll this year.

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