If the journey to Mongolia was anything to go by then this race is going to be a tough one. It started off fairly well with the flight from heathrow to moscow leaving on time. I was travelling with Al, another competitor who didn’t tell anyone he was racing again. He did the race last year but decided he would surprise a mate of his who is also racing.
Our journey to Moscow was fairly uneventful.
Once we arrived at Moscow I asked a lady behind the desk which way it was to the connection for Ulaan Bataar. Bearing in mind she was sat behind a desk with a name badge and airport ID I thought it was safe to assume she would be able to help. It seemed I was wrong as she looked at me strangely and said “I don’t work here” ummmm then why are you wearing an airport ID? Not a good start.
We met Duncan, the race medic here, who was also waiting for a connection. We were due to leave at 8.20pm local time but that time came and went without any announcements. Eventually they told us it was delayed until 930pm so the crowds that had been queueing dispersed – it turns out they love queueing here even more than the brits do.
By 930pm the queue had optimistically formed again, we were sat down though, there was no sign of any Aeroflot staff so it wasn’t looking good. Again there were no announcements and the flight actually vanished from the departure list. First thought was that it was going to be cancelled but it was frustrating now as if we had known there would be such a delay we could have had time to get something to eat. By 1010pm we were told the flight was delayed til 1045pm, hmmmm I’ll believe that when I see it. Amazingly it did start boarding at 1030pm so it looked like we would actually be leaving.
When queueing to board some poor lady in front of me was fishing about for her boarding pass, holding the queue up for a nanosecond and one of the crew shouted at her to get her to hurry up – like it was her fault the flight was nearly 3hrs late. The poor woman scurried forward looking petrified. I can’t imagine I’ll be flying Aeroflot again in a hurry.
The flight itself was an hr longer than they said it would be. Not sure how that happened, must have taken the scenic route, and the inflight entertainment was ok if you understood Russian.
Eventually we arrived and were picked up by the lady running the hostel which is pretty nice.
After a bite to eat we went back to the hostel for a siesta and went to the local Irish bar to watch the England v Germany game. The Mongolians have really got into the world cup. There was a massive big screen set up outside the bar under a pretty permanent looking “World Cup” Marquee. It was an amazing party atmosphere with the the locals switching between supporting England and Germany depending on how the mood took them. Some were genuine England fans and were gutted when they lost though. It was an incredibly surreal way to watch an English match, outside an Irish bar in Mongolia surrounded by locals who had their faces painted with the St George’s flag, quite the experience. One I doubt will be repeated.
We fly out to the desert tomorrow and the race starts on Wed morning, I’ll report back after the race.
In the run up to the attempt I decided that doing a 6hr session on the treadmill would be a good idea. I managed it yesterday but it didn’t get off to a great start as my legs were feeling pretty heavy – think I am due a sports massage – and I was wondering if I would be able to cope with the boredom of being in a gym for 6hrs straight. Somehow I got into it and managed to keep going, even upping the pace towards the end. I did find it incredibly boring at times but luckily I had some company for parts of it so these times were not so bad. I will have a few people with me for the 24hr attempt at all times so at least I know this will keep me going.
I talked to the Esporta people yesterday and instead of doing the 8hr session mid feb they are looking at the start of march as they want to publicise it more. Apparently they are getting quite excited about being a part of this and are looking to see what they can do for me. Seems like it is all coming together but I will admit I am looking forward to doing some outdoor training after it is all done and dusted
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Due to my injured glutes I am going to have to postpone Loch Lomania. I got injured during Eagle Isle and am still not fully recovered over 2 weeks later. I have left it so late to make a decision as I had hoped to be back in good shape in time for this event but swimming almost a marathon (on top of a run and cycle) would probably destroy any possiblities of me racing for the foreseeable future, thats even if my glutes held up for the entire swim.
As it is so late in the outdoor swim season (the event was due to be this sat) it is looking likely that the next possible date for this will be spring. I will work out what can be done as A2A is in september so would have to ensure there is sufficient time in between the events before I set the date.
I am very disappointed but don not wish to be out of action for longer than necessary, I will be doing a run later today to test out the muscles and have another physio appointment on thursday – thats the other bad news, my sports therapist who I’ve been seeing for 4 years has cancelled his clinics so need to get used to a new person. I have booked in with Roberto, who I’ve been to before, he treats a lot of my friends and I know he likes to inflict pain!
Caesars Camp 100 is coming up as is Indo Ultra so want to make sure I am as fit as possible for these, I have my title and record to defend for Caesars and Indo is the first outing of this race so am really looking forward to it
ext July I am off to compete in the Gobi Challenge, this will be my first desert race since the mdes in 2007 and am looking forward to seeing how I do in comparison to that. When I did the MdeS I had only been doing the ultra distances for a matter of months so my aim was to finish it in one piece, not to go for any placings. I would have been nowhere near good enough to vie for a top place so settled for enjoying the race at my own pace.
The Gobi Challenge is a week long event in which competitors will tackle, amongst other things, the highest sand dune in Asia, ice and mountain gorges whilst running 140miles. Anyone I have spoken to that has done this race has been full of praise for it and I am looking forward to going out and competing for a ranking.
Anyone interested in any more information on this event please visit www.sand-baggers.com
As the time gets closer I will be giving updates on how my training is coming along for this too.
After last weekends trip to Paris as well as a sea swim I was pretty tired so took tuesday as a rest day. There is, however, still a lot of work to do before I am ready for arch to arc so carried on with my swimming and running during the week but had a rest from the bike.
I stocked up on new goggles so that when I do my 4 hour swim off the boat this weekend I will have no excuse.
Last weekend I travelled to Rosie and Jasons to train on the South Downs. Saturday morning I did a 2 and a half hour run and followed it with just over 4 hours on the bike. The cycle route was planned by Jason and he came along for it all while Rosie did half of it. I reckon there was more hills in that route than 100 miles of the Calais to Paris route, I was certainly cursing him for picking such a route (think he was cursing himself too). Both of us were pleased to finally see the sign for the town they live in.
Sunday morning we headed off to norman’s bay for a swim – well I would swim and Rosie would walk the shore. The intention was to head to a certain point – basically to where a couple of their friends lived by the beach. I have to say I was not in the mood to get in and was dreading it as the wind was bitterly cold. Once I got in all worries were gone, the water was a bit choppy which is how I like it and the tide was fairly strong but it was running with me. I had expected to cover the distance in about an hour and half but thanks to the strong tide I did it in 45 minutes (basically I had managed a decent walking pace) and was feeling great to carry on although had a little bit of cramp, . Unfortunately Rosie was feeling a little worried that I was being swept out a little far for her to keep a safe eye on me especially if I got a cramp attack. To be safe we finished the swim there (at the point we had intended to anyway). Next time I do a swim with them we should hopefully have a kayak which can come alongside me which would solve this problem.
Awesome swim, I am really getting into this sea swimming lark and am looking forward to this weekend.
The intention this weekend will most likely be to do a long run on friday eve, then get the train to weymouth first thing sat and travel back after the swim rather than staying in bournemouth as bloomin’ rail replacements make taking the bike down for training a pain in the a*s. This way I can do a late cycle when I get back and possibly have a lie in (I can vaguely remember what one of those is) on the sunday