As expected, the weather for the Original Mountain Marathon (OMM) this weekend looks somewhat changeable. Here’s the mountain forecast for the weekend. It should of course be slightly less cold at lower elevations!
That’s not all that’s changeable for me. Lawrence’s health issues haven’t improved as much as he had hoped so he’s made the sensible decision to withdraw. It was a big decision as he’d been planning for this and looking forward to it for 2 years but it does make sense. He’s not happy about it, but it would be silly to do it only to make matters worse for his health when he should be healing. So, with the decision made, it left me looking for a new partner.
Who to choose?
There was a list of pre-requisites for a suitable partner so those that made the shortlist were few and far between.
- They would have to be slightly crazy.
- They would need to have all of the equipment they’d need ready to go as it was very short notice.
- They would have to be relatively fit and capable.
- They would have to be up for a couple of days of pain, suffering, blood, sweat, tears, wind, rain, cold, fear and getting lost in the mountains.
- They would have to be available and able to get to North Wales for the weekend.
- They would have to be willing to spend a night in a cramped tent with a somewhat smelly, sweaty Alan.
- And most importantly they would have to be someone I could spend a couple of days with without them getting on my nerves!!
Steve and Biddy were asked. Steve was busy, Biddy said she wasn’t fit enough (although I suspect that point 6 above probably had some bearing on her decision – and who can blame her!!)
Morgan was asked, somewhat jokingly, and as expected he said No – Probably a good thing as I wasn’t sure if I had the kit that he’d need.
A few other options were considered and then I thought of Mike. I fired off a message to him and the response was fairly positive. With a little bit of time to think about it and some negotiations with his wife, the answer was ‘yes’. I had a new partner.
There were then some frantic messages back and forth to make sure it would all work out and to sort out some logistics but soon the OMM was back on for me.
Who the hell is Mike?
I’m glad I thought of Mike as he’ll be the perfect partner. He’s more than capable of doing it, had all the kit ready and waiting to go and it’ll be good to catch up with him again and have a couple of fun days in the hills. He also clearly fits point 1 above just for agreeing to do the OMM with 3 days notice! Thanks Mike! 🙂
Mike is a friend from University. We hadn’t spoken to or seen each other for years (Since we left University back in 1997). Then last year, after I posted a blog post about a scramble in Snowdonia Mike replied saying that he’d always wanted to do that and before long we we got together to scramble up Tryfan and Bristly Ridge together. We had a good day and obviously vowed to do it again without a 25 year hiatus. We hadn’t sorted anything out this year so the option to do OMM seemed like a good one.
It’ll be another chance to catch up and it actually takes the pressure off somewhat for me.
Speed vs Comfort
Lawrence and I were never in it to win it but we were making certain balanced compromises between speed and comfort and we were likely to be running where we could. We were therefore travelling light and planning to wear minimal kit whilst moving. We would rely on putting in some effort to keep warm. We weren’t going all out for speed, so were planning to carry some slightly warmer kit for the camp, but even this was lightweight so did err slightly more towards speed than comfort. With the kit aimed a little towards speed, there would always be a little bit of pressure to move as fast as we could to make the most of these decisions.
Mike has only had 3 days to prepare and doesn’t necessarily have super-lightweight equipment. However, he has told me that his pillow is only 26g which I’m somewhat jealous about as mine is almost twice that! He also isn’t a runner and doesn’t even own a pair of trail running shoes. In fact, he might not own any running shoes at all (looking at my little collection I find that hard to believe!).
He’ll therefore be wearing boots, carrying a slightly heavier pack and we are likely to be walking most if not all of it. You never know, I might tempt him into a jog in the heat of the moment! This is fine for me as I’m just looking for a nice weekend in the hills and was never racing. Considering my recent health history I don’t want to be pushing too hard and just being part of the event will be fine.
It does however have me second-thinking some of my equipment choices. If we’re going to be moving more slowly I won’t be generating heat and might need an extra layer to stay warm. Mike will no doubt end up being more comfortable and warmer than I will thanks to his kit ‘that is aimed at comfort rather than speed ‘choices’. We will obviously be sticking together as a team so I think I might need some warmer clothes myself.
A thicker base layer might be needed or maybe a fleece over the top of my thin base layer. I might plump for running rights rather than shorts as well.
I might also end up carrying all of the shared kit (tent and stove). Lawrence and I would have shared this out between us but if Mike’s pack is already heavier I might just take it all. The upshot of taking more clothes and all of the shared kit is that I might have to change my packing system and rucksack choices too. I’m going to have to do some more practice packing today to see what works best!
It’s a shame I won’t be doing the OMM with Lawrence after all the planning and talking about it, but as replacements go Mike should be perfect and we’re looking forward to an uncomfortable, miserable couple of days in the mountains.