I suppose the writing was on the wall for a disappointing performance the moment that Karl Gray text me on Saturday morning to say he was pulling out of the relays….
and it didn’t fill me with much hope when Tod fatty no.2 A.K.A Goldie turned up to the start field eating a bacon and egg butty as big as his head just before his leg (breakfast of champions ay Mark)
But despite not having our finest day, the lads and Jo B still did the club proud, even if there were a litter of navigational errors 😉
So how did it all go wrong I hear you ask? Well hopefully this will help explain… The day started brilliantly. Everyone turned up on time, Goldie and Shaun were well fed and after leg 1 the A team were in 3rd place just behind 2nd place favourites Borrowdale and leaders Dark Peak. It was this leg we were most concerned about, worrying perhaps the lads had a chance of getting lost or taking a bad line. But ironically this was the only leg that our runners didn’t get lost! Our young superstar Max ‘Power’ Wharton dragged Joe Washington round the leg in an excellent time of 35 mins and set up the A team with a superb start. Arguably Joe had the run of the day by hanging on to Max and really did himself and the team proud! Equally impressive was our heroine Jo Buckley and local hardman Roberto Pazzolini. Paz told me afterwards that Jo ‘destroyed herself for the team’ by running extremely hard throughout the leg and they flew round within the top 20 and sub 40 mins ! Leg 2 was full of promise. BOFRA boy Godsman and ‘the flying postman’ Alex Whittem were hopeful of running one of the fastest legs, especially as Shaun had reccied the route a number of times and in his words ‘knew all the best lines’. The thing is I’m not sure Shaun’s best lines were the fastest ones because 30 mins into the leg they had gone horribly wrong and lost around 15 mins and 20 places. Alex told me afterwards he knew they’d gone wrong when checkpoint 2 turned out to be the McDonald’s drive through in Kendal, Shaun however said ‘it’s the way he always goes!’ Oddly enough Alex also said the big man had exactly the right amount of change for a supersize Big Mac meal and an XL Cadbury’s Mcflurry AND it was ready for them as soon as they arrived! Weird. Maximum points earned for Tod’s finest in the navigational cock up of the year competition. In comparison navigational cock up 2013 pre race favourite Steve Smithies had a much better day than everyone else! This was mainly due to being partnered with top nav man Bill Johnson who made sure that Steve got safely round without being *’Smithied’. Well done lads!!! * definition of ‘Smithied’: being utterly and hopelessly lost, usually in familiar territory and mainly in the Calder Valley area (but pretty much anyway to be honest). So if leg 2 was a navigational nightmare, thank god I’d played a master stroke by putting James ‘Mr Dependable’ Logue on leg 3 to save the day and pull back a ton of places and avoid any further embarrassment. So picture the scene…Timbo Baggins and I were waiting patiently at the start of leg 4, freezing our b******s off in the driving wind and rain, hungry and cold but safe in the knowledge that Britain’s greatest orienteer was about to work his magic like Harry Potter and his wand. 1 hour later than schedule … feeling like Scott of the Antarctic and wondering where my next meal might come from and dreaming of a time when I could actually feel my arms and legs, I was delighted to see Logie and Joe Crossfield emerge from the mist having been horrendously lost and 110% Smithied. Unfortunately no one has seen James since he wandered into the woods above Patterdale after the race carrying a large amount of rope. It’s probably also worth noting that Goldie and Lee Shimwell DIDN’T get lost on leg 3 and beat Logie and Joe’s time by quite a number of minutes 😉 cue Goldie taking the p*ss for at least the next 5-10 years. Don’t worry James I’m sure we won’t rub it in….much 😉 did I mention you’re sat next to Goldie on the coach to Llanberis? Needless to say by the time we set off on leg 4 it was almost getting dark and I was 10 minutes away from my trademark visit to the back of a St John’s Ambulance. However, true leader and inspirational captain that I am I soldiered on to set the early pace for Timbo. Things were going swimmingly, I was picking up all the best lines, climbing well (for a fat lad) and Timbo was looking equally strong! But then part of me started feeling a bit sorry for Godsman and Logue… so just to make them feel a bit better a took a really bad line on the way up to Fairfield and we also got a wee bit Smithied. Also I thought Timbo really needed to sharpen up his nav skills in preparation for the British relays so I let him take over to stop me running us off the edge of a cliff. Thankfully he sorted it and we finished the leg in a respectable time. Shame really cos if we hadn’t have gone wrong we’d have been very close to the fastest leg!!! The final pairing on the B team, ‘housewives favourite’ Johny Helliwell and ‘ultra man’ Ian Symington had no such navigational worries and finished the day as it started…by showing the A team how to use a compass! Well done lads! So all in all it was a day of mixed emotions. Not quite the result we were hoping for (14th for the A, 29th for the B) but team spirit was once again the real winner. This was just a bad dress rehearsal for the Brits…roll on 2 weeks! Over and out, El Capitano xx
P.S. Shaun/Logie: don’t worry about what happened today, no one really reads my emails anyway so perhaps no one will ever find out ? 😉