I’ve recently added the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge to my silly list of 2020 goals because I thought it would be a good prep for the 2 other main things I am forever procrastinating, the Welsh 3000 and a non-stop walk of the Bob Graham.
The real Bob Graham involves running the whole circuit in less than 24h but I decided to walk it because I’m far from fit to run 100km and the sheer preparation for that would put all my climbing and flying at the back burner…
The Y3P Challenge is about 40km with some 1500m ascent and even for this one I thought I would need smaller goals and a couple of long runs before committing to it. That was until Will invited me to just go for it on a rainy Saturday and fearing the worst, I packed my little rucksack with 1.5L water, some nuts, haribo, couple gels and on a wet morning we drove up to Horton in Ribblesdale, one of the villages from where you can start the loop.
As predicted the weather was wet and windy but with enough good spells of sun, giving perfect conditions for this kind of stuff. We were both surprised by the number of people on the trails, I didn’t think this walk to be so popular, especially on such a wet day.
Will is 11 years younger than me, ex military with a few ironman’s races under his belt so yeah.. I was up for a humbling experience just trying to keep up. As I imagined, he started strong and half a way up the first hill - about 3km in - I was already feeling myself in the red and just wondering how I would cope with the rest of the 37km… Ego under the tail, I would walk/jog most of the uphills and sprint on the downhills to try to save as much as possible of my legs for the unknowns ahead.
All peaks we did were in the clouds but we still had amazing views and passed hundreds of hikers, some who would cheer us up and instantly psyche us to increase our pace.
One obviously go through some highs and lows during this sort of stuff but I was feeling pretty good and actually amazed to feel my legs and knees holding up after so many hours of pounding up and down the slopes and hard slab stones. On the last 5km though, I had this sudden sharp pain on my left knee which forced me to limp and barely allowed me to jog… that cost me a lot of time and fucked my goal of doing it in under 5h30.. Will wanted sub 5 and I'm sure if he was on his own he would easily manage under 4h45, maybe even 4h30!
Back home I still had enough energy to join a friends BBQ in the evening.. Now... Sunday I was pretty stiff when going up and down the stairs but Mon I was already fine and enjoyed the first indoor climbing session of the season. Tue I went for an 8km run and a mega 3h30 indoor climbing session again so all in all feeling pretty good.
It was amazing to discover that although I haven’t done many long runs this year I somehow managed to build a good reserve during the past few months of training. Excited for what is yet to come!
We did 39.33km, 1528m ascent @ 5:49:18. Definitely coming back for a round 2.