Saturday, June 09, 2018

Race to the Tower 2018

Subtitle: But mostly not about our race :-)

Today Marcus and Agata participated in the Race to Tower organised by Threshold Sports   We have a lot of positive things to say but first

Technical Oops
Marcus had planned to Video all the food stops and interesting points of the race.   But this all went to crap.  A simple technical error drained my phone and then rendered it useless.

My Android Smartphone uploads all its Photos to Dropbox allowing me to pickup, then manipulate and delete bad photos on my master PC.  

Trouble is if you shoot a video then this also gets uploaded.  Or tries to be.  And if you are out in the English or most countryside with less than 4G reception upload of a 1GB or so file just does not happen.

So it tries on a lesser connection and just ends up flattening the battery, so  after the halfway point of the race my phone was actually dead, with 0% battery.   ooops.

Our Race Reports

Agata Race Report
To be added!

Marcus Race Report
A race of many emotions from odd, to frustrating, to too hot,  to too slow

As usual I started off from the back and this time really regretted it.  The first 15Km had numerous styles meaning the front runners just left me and the big queue behind.

In practice therefore catching them up is a pretty futile task they had at least 10 minutes head start in total on us.

Half Way

I found the first Marathon distance quite challenging as I was fresh and tried to run up all but the steepest hills.  Most others immediately walked hills meaning that since they were faster runners I was continually catching and overtaking my nearest group, only to be left standing on the flat :-(

 At the middle main pitstop, were other runners who do the 2 day event camp for the night and do the second half tomorrow.

I was out of the main pitstop so quickly that it literally took a whole hour for others to catch me.  It's a bit eery running for a whole hour without any company.  Only the brilliant signage from Threshold made me confident that I was on the right track.  This really helped my brain to keep running with confidence.  Thanks again Threshold, the best signage I've seen ever....

Latter Part of the Race
After the hour of lonesome running my stage 1 marathon runners caught me up.  Then began a long cat and mouse game where I would again get past them on the hills.

Then with about 10Km to go it all changed.  I found the strength to lead the group and everybody else followed on the flat.  This continued to the end 2Km which is straight hill when this time everybody else went past me.  So in the last 30 seconds I lost about 5 places :-(   How annoying.

Signage  (A++)
The signage was absolutely unbelievable.  And I will tell you how and why.   So many well thought out signs marked the course  (that followed the Cotswold Way) it was impossible and I mean impossible to get lost

The organisers did not rely on the sporadic Cotswold Way signs, instead over 100 Red fluorescent arrows

- Telling you Where to Turn
- After the turn about 20 metres further on another sign confirming to you that you made the right choice
- On junctions where you might still choose the other branch, Signs saying : NOT THIS WAY.  Absolutely brilliant
- And some humorous signs along the way to keep everybody in good spirits

Marcus and the Leg
I've got a possibly serious issue with my left leg, which after the Arc of Attrition race and damage seems to have healed but pointing the leg out leftwards.  Not only is this not efficient for running it hurts too.    I had to put up with this issue all race ... grrrr.

Recovery Food

I got a tip from another competitor and tried it at home.  Milk seems to be the most amazing recovery drink, especially when you come in from a hot day to an icy cold litre of it.

Overall Organisation (A+)

Threshold, the organisers did not just cover the basics like registration, routing signage,  pit stops and their contents.  They went the extra mile.   Just 2 examples

 At the midpoint they had great self use medication facilities

At the start they installed some steel plates to give drivers a better experience and also save the grass.

Our Organisation
It actually takes a lot of time and effort and particularly planning to execute a pretty big sporting event, in a day, and have everything put away so in record time so we can fully relax for dinner.

Here is a partial list

- Download or create .GPX routing files for our Garmin Sports Watches
- Monitor likely weather for event as this will dictate clothing e.g. mud shoes,  full waterproof jacket or light rain jacket, extra fleece if cold
- Make a water and food strategy to compliment what the organiser offers.   For long events it's not efficient to carry food and tablets and electrolyte powders because it's all extra weight.   You have to research what is provided and where.   For example in this race there was a maximum distance of 15Km between water stops so Marcus could comfortably only carry 750ml of soft flask and no need to carry a bladder, which is more time consuming to refil, and get it right in a race environment without putting lose air into the sack.

- Logistics for getting to the race, and any bag transports to the start, midpoint of finish
- For a non circuit race, then you park in one place and run to another.  How do you get back?
- Taking pictures and videos on the event.  Marcus in charge, above cockup explains all
- And live blogging or Facebook so that friends can know how we are doing

Post race
- If any injury then assess and try to deal with it
- Getting photographs off our smartphones and into permanent storage
- Possible Blog article
- Processing of Race number dossard and medals
- Washing of Clothes
- Washing of Kit e.g. Rucksacks, Water flasks
- Doing the right exercises and stretching so that you are in good shape for tomorrow

And Finally

Marcus and Agata really enjoyed ourselves today.  The highpoint was the fantastic organisation of Threshold Sports which combined with the unusually sunny weather (> 20 degrees C) made for a fine event.   It was expensive for us, but still thank you Threshold, we thoroughly recommend you to other athletes wanting to experience a polished significant sporting event.