Saturday, 2 January 2016

Spine Blog 9 - A new Satmap to play with

There are a plethora of blogs about the Spine going around at the moment, mainly because its about a week away, and we have nothing left to do but obsess over kit, make sure all the food is prepped and worry that we haven't done enough to be prepared for it physically.

Personally, I would much rather have had a decent last 2 months of training, but this just hasn't been possible in terms of being injured. I should probably count myself lucky that I'm even in any state to contemplate the race. It is probably the fact that I know a few people that have been out and about loads in these last few weeks, making sure they are getting the miles in, inoculating themselves against the distance and fatigue, and it feels like I should have been doing that too.

No sense in worrying about it though. Plan for it. Execute the plan. That's all there is to it.

Satmap unit
This week just gone the 4 guys from Glossop MRT who are running the Challenger were lent a set of Satmap  Active 12 GPS units. A GPS unit is a mandatory piece of equipment on the Spine Challenger, and to be honest, none of us really has one - the GPS in my watch doesn't count for this race.
Thankfully the guys at Satmap saw fit to lend us these units, rather than having to shell out a load of cash to adhere to the kit requirements....

I was a little apprehensive at first. I'm not a technophobe, but getting to know how to use a new bit of kit, especially one which is electronic, with little more than a week before the race isn't the greatest thing in the world.
Having said that, I was up on the hill earlier on today, and after a minor teething problem where I thought the buttons weren't working (they were.... I was trying to press them in the wrong direction), it started up and worked fine.

It wasn't like it was completely intuitive. Its taken me perhaps 24 hours to work out where all the menus are and how to navigate around where things are within the user interface - but it really didn't take long to work it out. The unit itself is sturdy, not touch screen so I don't have to take my gloves off to use the screen, and it comes with what appears to be a totally bombproof case as well. I'm looking forward to seeing just how much abuse it's going to get!
I'll post up a much more in depth look at this as a GPS unit once I've actually had a bit more time to play with it. 
Looks pretty bombproof
We were also supplied with a huge amount of batteries, which is great, but slightly concerning, as they are a little fiddly to take out and put back in... I don't plan on using it all that much, but if I start having to take out and replace batteries every 5 hours, that might be a bit of an issue, especially overnight.
Don't fancy changing the battery with cold hands...

As much as I want to go out and see how long it takes to run the battery down in real life, I probably don't really have time to be doing that. Its fantastic to have such a useful bit of kit, but I do hope to be doing all my navigation using my head, and having this box of tricks as a back-up, and not something that I am going to be reliant on.

So what is there left to do?
I've worked out approximate race timings, worked out a food schedule, worked out what I'm going to wear. I suppose what really matters now is working out when I'm going to prep the food, when to do a final battery check, and then make sure I don't go too fast in the section to Crowden.
Mantra.... there's still a long way to go.

Why are you running 108 miles up the Pennine way? 

Yeah, ok, its a question we get asked a lot - here is the answer....

The Floods that are happening at the moment - those guys in Mountain Rescue Buoyancy Aids on the front pages of newspapers and news sites- they're volunteers. They don't get paid for their time.
The kit all costs money. The water training courses costs money. Those floaty boats cost money - and for the last few flood calls we as a team have attended, we had to borrow one.
It's not paid for by the government, we are not part of the fire service - it all comes from donations.

There are 4 of us from Glossop Mountain Rescue running the inaugural Mountain Rescue Spine Challenger Event. We will run 108 miles from Edale to Hawes alongside other members of rescue teams, and the Spine Challenger event.
We are raising awareness and funds for our individual MR teams - without the support of people like you, our ability to respond to Mountain and Flood rescues would be severely curtailed.
Please visit our Just giving page and help us out. 

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