Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Kong MMM Bethesda 2018

Thanks to Travs on the FRA forums who restored my toungue in cheek faith in my ramblings.
Lynne and I were over in Wales this weekend just gone for the Kong Mini Mountain Marathon. I got an SI dibber for Christmas so decided to enter a few nav events this year. It's also pretty good to practice my navigation away from the comfort of the Peak District, hence the Kongs.

Saturday was proper grim, and we were fairly pleased not to be running the race then. The guys putting out the controls on Sat must not have had an enjoyable time.... Sunday dawned beautifully and continued into a bright, but very cold day. We wrapped up warm, and I anticipated being out for the full 4 hours. A small niggle in the back of my mind said "you haven't run for 4 hours in quite a few months..." so I ignored it.

At the Start we got our maps and I headed on up the hill at a swift-ish pace (not quite as swift as Welsh/Calder Matt) trying to work out a bit of a strategy. Kong, it would seem, put out a boat load of checkpoints which only a superhuman would have a hope of clearing, so it really is a matter of being intelligent with route and checkpoint choice.
Unfortunately my maths is terrible and as much as I try and create different routes with different point scores, I generally go with gut instinct.

Snow was down to about 550metres, so a lot of the first few checks were in open green territory. I ticked off a few of them, clocking up a fair amount of ascent and descent, and getting myself creatively engaged in the navigation as well.... not exactly lost, just occasionally slightly geographically embarrassed.

All was going relatively well until I bashed across a hill in the right direction and then came across an unrelentingly steep, heather covered (infested?!) hillside that needed to be bashed through. Not fun. I did so with aplomb, getting warmer and warmer, took off a buff, checked I had everything, carried on, 2 mins later, checked again. No dibber.

1hour 50 into using my Christmas present, it is lost on a welsh hillside. So I stopped and searched for about 20-30 mins, covering and re-covering my steps, searching in heather and generally cursing, til I gave it up as lost. Dammit.

Right, consume food, look at map, work out best route home.
The option was a pretty formidable down and up, or a quite considerable round the valley, up and over. Had I still been racing, the direct would have won without a shadow of a doubt. Slightly dejected and downcast, chewing on a bar I made my way back around the valley, up and over Bera Bach and home, via, it has to be said, some pretty amazing views. The snow was crunchy and it was a delight to be out.

At the end, the guys on control took pity on me, asked where I had been and inputed the contols manually, so that at least I had a score. Not a very good one, but a score nevertheless.
Lessons learnt today.... put a cord on your dibber. Take more food. Don't underestimate a 4 hour run. The hills in Wales are a bit bigger than at home.

The soup, cake and tea at the end was well worth it though.
Bought a new dibber, and will be out competing at the next Kong in the Lakes. See you there.

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