With less than a week to go until the Open 24, the final race of the Planet Fear Endurance Series 2011, and a month until the Adidas Terrex Coast to Coast we asked Team Berghaus Adventure what they were doing to prepare – here’s a little peek at some of the things they’ve been up to in the last two weeks and what they hope to do for the next month.
Last weekend I was out on the mountain bike for a three hour night time loop over new territory in the Peak District to brush up on the night navigation. Helped by a full moon I didn’t feel too much slower than riding during the day … but I know that perception of speed is very different in the dark.
Weekend training has continued with local rides out in the Peak District. Most of the miles have been on the road bike to rest the coccyx as much as possible and help with leg strength. Biking is still very much my stronger discipline so I’ve also been concentrating on increasing both speed and distance on the runs. I’m working in Hampshire during the week, but despite the lack of hills I have the beautiful Watership Down on my doorstop and a lovely 15km loop which I’ve got down to about the hour mark.
Only a week to go before the Open24 so the plan for this week is a couple of runs after work, and hopefully an open water swim at the Tri20 Swim Centre. Aside from the usual physical preparation, I’ve been doing some homework on racing in high temperatures having struggled towards the end of the run in the Open12. Together with the usual equipment checks and bike maintenance I feel well prepared and looking forward to next weekend.
Last week I was out in Saas Grund with the Berghaus team shooting for their Spring Summer 2012 clothing range. I’ve never done anything quite like that before so it was very exciting and an amazing opportunity to meet the people responsible for providing us with such great kit, and in such a beautiful location. Sadly the weather was somewhat more unseasonal than we’d have hoped, but it was an opportunity to reacquaint myself with altitude before my summer holiday in the Alps in a few weeks time.
On my return from Switzerland, like Jack, I decided to focus on my weakest discipline and spent a weekend on the river Ure improving my paddling technique under the expert tuition of River Mountain Experience, a local instructor. The river was really beautiful and teeming with wildlife – I never stopped being excited by the hundreds of electric blue dragonflies that were zooming around. As well as taking a dunking (or two), I was guided to learn more about how to read moving water – I even got to try my first ever grade two rapid! These skills will be invaluable on the longer races and time well spent – just need to buy a boat now……. One of the added advantages of learning with an instructor was that I obtained my three star touring award – the certificate required to allow us to race an ‘elite’ (rather than standard) boat – yeehah!
I will be mostly faffing with kit in the week running up to the 24, with perhaps a quick social run with the local club and a bit of yoga. After that, I’m heading off to the French alps for a couple of weeks climbing and running which will hopefully stand me in good stead for the Coast to Coast at the end of the month.
Team Berghaus Adventure are also thrilled to welcome David Hetherington onto the team for the Coast to Coast. David raced with Emma in the Open Endurance Series 2010 and the LAMM 2011. Below, David says a little bit about what he’s been up in the past two weeks and what he plans to do before the Coast to Coast.
My plan for the last fortnight was to have a holiday on the West Coast starting with a week in Glen Shiel then moving up to Loch Carron. The weather was mainly good with no midges to speak of and even sunburn one day.
My partner and I had a fantastic time with me climbing 20 new Munros and getting in some good hill runs – excellent practice for mountain marathons Emma and I are hoping to do later in the year!
For me, the highlights included a traverse of the Five Sisters Ridge, solo scrambling on the Cuillin Ridge from Bruach na Frithe to Sgurr nan Gillean and a round of Coire Lair.
Over the next few weeks I plan to convert my big hill legs into strong bike legs in time for the Coast to Coast! Like Emma, I’m also hoping to achieve my three star kayaking certificate in time for the race, although I’m one step ahead of Em in that I’ve already bought a boat!