Sunday, 8 July 2012

L100 Training - Ambleside to Threlkeld - A 60 mile journey through the Western Lakes

This was to be my last big days training, and took a bit of planning, and also some good weather would help after the wettest month on record. Starting at 5am in a deserted Ambleside with Andrew McCracken the weather was actually perfect. Through the deserted streets (only a milkman was around) we headed West following the L100  route to Coniston. Mist lay in the valleys as the sun gradually appeared, and we disturbed a couple of Herons in the Park.

Andrew outside one of the L100 checkpoints

The section is mostly very good running on well made paths, so you can relax a bit and concentrate on conserving energy. On the day of the race competitors will have nearly 100 miles in their legs, what might that feel like? I will find out and the end of July.

Today we were treated to the Lakes at it's very best. it may be hard getting up this early, but the rewards are there to be had!

Heading towards Langdale - the view towards Windermere

Descent into Langdale

After leaving the glorious early morning views of mist shrouded Langdale the we had the substantial climb beween Tilberthwaite and Coniston to tackle. This will be a very tough finish to the event. Today after just 15 miles it felt hard enough.
Andrew had planned to run back to Ambleside now, but I was meeting up with 5 other seasoned fell runners to do the next long section of 40 plus miles to Threlkeld. A big loop around the Western Lakes visiting many valleys. It was warm work heading over Walna Scar, and I was having to work pretty hard to keep up with Helen, Martyn, Martin, Colin and Neil with their fresh legs. Picking up food supplies at Coniston (that I had left with Martin the previous night) meant I now had plenty to eat, and for drink I relied mainly on refilling my half litre bottle from the many full streams en route, just adding rehydration tablets, which saved carrying a full 1.5 litre camelback "bladder". There were a few other L100 "nutters" out today doing runs, they are pretty recognisable to be honest!

After the Duddon we tackled a very rough, boggy section just past Wallowbarrow, slow tough and tiring. A short rest at Boot for drinks and we continued on our way, going a bit offline over to Wasdale, and meeting many runners taking part in the Saunders Mountain Marathon. 

With Neil approaching Wasdale
Neil and Martyn

Wasdale was busy, but we soon left the crowds behind as we headed over Black Sail pass in humid conditions to Ennerdale, which is the Lakes most remote valley with its solitary Youth Hostel. Time was passing now and by the time Buttermere came into view it was late afternoon.

The busy footpath into Buttermere welcomed us into this tourist hot spot, and the opportunity to have a few drinks before the last big climb of the day via Sail Beck over to Braithwaite. Tiredness leads to mistakes and we missed a path junction before the col and ended up the wrong side of Causey Pike, adding another mile or so onto our route!

A quick refuel at Keswick and then in the fading light we leaded on the loop up towards Skiddaw House, although this section climbs quite a lot it is on very good paths and leads to a good descent to Threlkeld. Our average speed actually picked up on this section.

10pm at Threlkeld, we all had tired legs but had really enjoyed the day. At nearly 4mph average speed it felt far enough, so on race day it will be important to moderate the speed on some sections. Another 50 miles will be tough, but didn't feel beyond the realms of possibility. The next few weeks training will be "ticking over" and perhaps just checking some short sections to get 100% familiar with the route.


Elevation profile of this section - nearly 11,000 feet.

Thanks to Cress UK for providing me with the excellent GEHWOL foot cream. It is superb for long days out, prevent blisters and damage from having wet feet

Gehwol Foot Cream (75ml)

1 comment:

Martyn said...

Great day out Tom! Will be getting my map out later and trying to work out the correct route around Causey Pike.