Monday, 20 June 2011

20th June 2011

        I really hate sitting around doing nothing. It was a cracking day today in the lakes, days when the mountain tops are clear have been few and far between so far this year, and when |I popped in to the office this morning, the view across to the North was one of the best we've had in a long time. You could sense the lines of tourists making for the big ones in their flip flops and t-shirts with mobile phones speed dial set on mountain rescue.

       I nipped in to town in the car, walking in past lines of traffic is so much more stress relieving than sitting in the lines of traffic behind tractors, caravans and busses, but legs must be rested. last minute shopping, coconut water for hydration, batteries, more tupperware boxes for carrying stuff and keeping it sorted. Flasks, bottles, no doubt I'll forget something. I was at sea for twenty five years, and there wasn't a single time when I remembered to pack everything I wanted before flying out to join a ship. I'm off tomorrow, the tanker due in tomorrow afternoon has been delayed til 3am Wednesday so everything out tomorrow on counters, chairs, liing room floor, all in their separate sections, then into bags and boxes and into the car. I don't have to set off til 11am wednesday, it's only 40 minutes to Heysham. Luckily, as Helen is fairly athletic, anything I've forgotten she'll have something similar. Once I set off on the Ben My Chree, then it'll finally seem real.

      Pauline's geared up and ready and the thunder wagon is ready for it's long journey.Your support crew are your lifeline, vital to your efforts. They also need feeding and watering, and I can't imagine what it's like living in a car for twenty four hours, walking in the same gear's bad enough but at least you're out getting fresh air and moving around. Make them soup or sandwiches, and there are plenty of takeaways on the way round, as well as the villages who have barbecues fired up. The first time Pauline supported me I started to make provisions and asked everyone what she liked. "Vodka" was the reply. So, a non starter, I just try and get to Peel by lunchtime so she can stop for a snack, and Ramsey by late teatime for the chippy.
Pauline's safety bib. Nineteen voddies is her record for a session, and her real middle name by deed poll in Peel on a Saturday night.

         So, make sure you have everything in the car, especially in the middle of the night, asking your support crew to drive off to fetch something you've forgotten not only annoys them, it leaves you wandering in the dark alone and tired, not good. Keep them happy and they'll look after you. It helps if they are enthusiastic about the ordeal, after all it's as much an endurance for them as for you. A good support crew is worth it's weight in gold, giving you confidence and keeping you happy. She considers it a vital part of learning to chat with other support crews on the way round to pick up tips that we may have overlooked. a lot of my preparations and activities on the way round have come from Pauline nicking a good idea off someone else. Little things count, like the flask of tea she organizes at Maughold (some of the finest cuppas I've ever tasted) so that I have my traditional post race cuppa at the finish.

        One final thing, a Pauline moment of madness. In last Septembers End to End, Richard Gerrard and myself were making good time after Peel, although the sun had come out so she wet a Tea towel to put round my neck to keep cool. After fifteen minutes or so I would drop it by the side of the road where she would pick it up, wet it again, and catch up to pass it back. After it got blown into a bush where it tangled up, she said to throw it over my head. Which I did. Unfortunately it got caught in a low branch of an overhanging tree. It was only an old tea towel, and we had spares, so no problem. Only Pauline wasn't going to let it go. Flagging down a passing tractor, she climbed in the bucket and raised up to get the offending wet cloth! We maintained a speed of over 5mph for most of the race, but at that moment we stopped, looked back and said "What the ****?"

What's the safe working load for that thing, mate?

       Now, back to packing.

Remember, a good night's rest is better than a training session this close to the race.

Night Night!

        
             

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