Sunday, 11 January 2009

w/c 5 January - Wise owl, or wuss?

This was, on balance, a good week's training, especially when you consider that it was my first week in a new job and the fells are not always especially accessible this time of year.

I did something on 6 of the 7 days this week, climbed about 6500' in total and put in a hard weekend and so i should be pleased, and i guess i am.

Just wondering whether i'm as determined and 'fell hard' as i was. Yesterday (Sat 10 Jan) I went to the Carneddau to reaquaint myself with my classic loop out of aber which takes in 16 miles and climbs 5300'. I've done it before in January and was looking forward to it again.

I got there and set off up Moel Wnion and into a fierce wind but could see quite well. As I climbed Drosgyl (climbed well too) it got colder it was notceable that the weather was coming in. I got to the summit cairn and decided i shouldn't go any higher today. The plateau on the Carneddau is consistently above 3000' and it was not great at 2500 where i stood. The wind was very very cold and it looked threatening above. So, muttering things about discretion and valour, i turned back climbed the small peak of Gyrn and ran back up Wnion again before heading back to Aber for soup and a sandwich at the lovely cafe. I ended up doing 9 miles, about 3500' ascent and was out for 3 hours 15 mins.

Two years ago i did the full route, again alone, in January in similar conditions. There was no snow, but it was cold and windy with no vis above about 2900'. It was a little better than yesterday but the same ball park. What spurred me on that day was a determination to get fell-tough and be ready for the Bob Graham and whatever it threw at me. Yesterday, that hunger wasn't there. What was in the forefront of my mind was that if i were do twist an ankle up there i'd be in real trouble. I'd get really cold, really quickly if i couldn't move and who knows what predicament i'd be in then. But it didn't stop me two years ago when the hail pinned me down high on Yr Elen and the top of Foel Grach was an ice rink. The weather was clearer then, and the ice not as widespread lower down so i guess it would have easier to push on, but i can't help wondering whether i just bottled it yesterday?

Honestly, i think the difference between two years ago and now is that i have done a big round. Back then, i didn't know whether i was capable of doing the BG or anything like it so didn't want to pull out of anything. Now i'm more calculated. I know that during the winter months, it's all about getting a good base of fitness and getting the climbing in. You don't need to go up high onto an icy plateau to do that. For me now, it's not about proving myself every time i go out to build confidence, cos i already have confidence. I simply need to get fit.

So, i think i did make the right decision, but a few tough days in the hills wouldn't hurt either. If this has served to ramp up my determination, it ccan't be all bad.

This week's summary

Mon - 3 miles easy on very very icy roads.
Tues - nothing
Weds - 6 * 800, all around 3 mins, with the last two a bit faster, Rossett.
Thurs - 8.5M road - easy
Fri - 4M very easy at work
Sat - Carneddau - as described above!
Sun - 7 railways - so that's 2400' climbing. Tough after yesterday but did well.

Summary - 6500' ascent, 6 outings, probably only about 30 miles

Tune in head - tiny dancer, again!!! :)

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