Once again my good friend Andy Cole joined me for a recce of Day 2 of the Dragon’s Back course over the weekend 17-19th August 2018.
I drove down to Chester after work on Friday arriving about 6.30pm. After a lovely meal with Jan, Andy & I drove in convoy to Llanberis where we staying at the Chester Mountain Hut.
Day 2 involved a bit more driving so we set off from the hut at 6.45am and by the time we had dropped my car at the end of the day and drove back to the start in Andy’s car it was 8.30am by the time we started.
On Saturday we ran 25.70 miles and on Sunday 15.11 miles. I took some video clips of the weekend which I posted a few days ago.
Here are a few observations from the weekend ..
- The weather wasn’t too good! The visibility from about 1,000 ft was around 50 yards so that made navigation a lot harder.
- Sometimes it is good to run in bad weather as it could be like that on race day.
- Day 2 is a long tough day! It is not as high as Day 1 but the climbs are very tough with lots of soft and clumpy grass plus lots of boulders to scramble over.
- There are a few miles of flatter runnable sections along Ffestiniog railway.
- The section to the CP 6 (drop Bag) is really tough and we did do a loop in the mist trying to find our way over the boggy ground.
- The final climb up to Rhinog Fach is really tough up boulders and the descent initially through a narrow gully is even tougher.
- Rhinog Fach, Y Llethr and Diffwys aren’t so bad but by then legs will be tired and I know they will be tougher on race day!
- It is really important to find the path of Diffwys because if you don’t the bracken and rocks all around would make going extremely slow.
- There is a sting in the tale at the end of the day in a final climb through the forest before heading down to the overnight camp.
- I was mostly happy with my gear for the weekend. I wore my Altra Lone Peak again and happy with them though I did slip a fair bit on the wet rocks.
- On Sunday I decided to try a pair of Seal Skin socks. I realise that I need to find a good system to look after my feet. The conditions were very wet and we spent a lot of time wading through ankle deep water. My feet felt okay but I couldn’t really work out whether they were wet or not. Once I finished I had my answer! They were very wet. In fact water poured out of them when I took them off. My feet were soaked and I was glad I was only out for 7hrs. Anymore and I would have been in big trouble. So I’ll need to rethink that one!
I have now covered Days 1 and 2 and I’m getting a good feel of what I’ve let myself in for! This is going to be some challenge but I’m looking forward to it!
Next Weekend I’m doing the Ring o’ Fire 3 day ultra around Anglesea. I’m really looking forward to as it’s a great coastal path but I’m also using it as a preparation for the Dragon’s Back as I’ve never done a multi-day stage race before. I’m hoping it will give me an idea of what is involved in recovering after a stage and then getting ready for the next day.