What a roller coaster ride of preparing for an Adventure race we have just had. With only 3 weeks to go we lost our regular team mate, leaving us with a big gap and an urgency to find a replacement at relatively short notice. The emails and phone calls went out to a number of recognised experienced racers, with the vast majority being otherwise engaged for the bank holiday weekend. Injury had taken out another large proportion of potential team mates. So we started to spread our search wider and wider to include athletes from more single discipline backgrounds. We had kayak tow systems planned, we had a tandem MTB on standby, and we drew the line at carrying in a papoose. So we started to narrow our search into more pure fell runners. The common response was that if they had know 3 months ago they would have loved to but thought it was a bit too much at such short notice. We had some really good potentials sign up with a great opportunity to race with athletes from others sports. Niggling injuries and fear of the expectation on a 4 day multisport race ruled them all out. So we had to go further afield, to foreign shores. We are deeply in debt to all the people that helping in the BIG hunt, as very few stones were left unturned. Messages went out to contacts in France, Spain, Sweden and America to which we got some very encouraging responses. We were very close to securing the team strengthen skills of a number of top international racers. The internal discussions were getting repetitive now, a name would come up, we would research as much as possible and make contact via all sorts of friends and media. We would light up with the hope of racing as a strong team, to then receive a message that for one reason or another they couldn't make it. So we sat and thought about the people that could race but for one reason or another we hadn't asked or they felt too scared to race with us.
So poor old Sally started to get discussed! Magnum PI would have been proud as we checked records and local knowledge to see if we would be able to enjoy racing as a team. Would Sally be strong enough in all the disciplines? Happy to go through the bad patches? Honest enough to ask for help or say how she was feeling? Ultimately would Sally enjoy the experience of racing with us or be put off for life? This was all put into an open discussion with the new complete TEAM and we all agreed that we have the potential to be a good strong team who will enjoy the experience. Sally is definitely excited to have the opportunity to race with some experienced team members and boy does she have bags of enthusiasm. In fact we are starting to worry about how we will keep up with some of her strengths and experience. So we have added a new and different dimension into our skills melting pot. This is what makes this sport so challenging yet exciting as we have no idea and neither do our competition about what the finished product will look like.
We have all had to go through a massive emotional shift. Firstly being in deep disappointment to be potentially missing the biggest AR race the UK has seen for 3 years. Having planned and prepared for this seasonal climax for over 8 months. Then watching all the other teams and friends preparing and getting excited while we make endless calls and emails. To suddenly having to throw all that emotion into 3 days of intense preparing and getting ready. We had nothing packed or planned until Sunday when we secured the team. All systems are go and we will only know somewhere in the middle of the hills at the worst time possible that we have forgotten something. We will deal with each and every challenge that is thrown at us as we have survived one of the biggest and hardest by being able to toe the start line this week.
So now it's time to chill out, sleep as much as possible and eat as much as possible and just enjoy the whole buzz of getting ready to race with great people in great soundings on a great journey. See you all at the planetFear store opening in Keswick on Thursday, it will feel so good to be there for so many reasons.