FRA Relays - 2nd Leg with Jacob
Always a bit nervous going in to this one, not only because it was a team effort event but with the thought of having to keep up with Jacob on the many climbs there were to come. With a big week and potentially still the skyline in my legs I wasn't sure what would happen especially on any steeper sections.
Jack handed over to us in 7th and we headed out with the goal of catching most of the teams ahead, especially Dark Peak (Jonny and Elk) by the end. It was a long leg with lots of time to [hopefully] do so so we settled down and took the first boggy, twisty section comfortably, saving the tank for the climbs instead. This however only stretched the gap as the teams ahead were battling it out while we were relatively lonely and although it was probably still a smarter move from us, it was an anxious situation. This only got worse when about three teams were right up behind us at the start of the main climb.
However things then began to go our way. Although I was forced into a walk on the steepest bit of the race, we were pulling ahead already and noticeably making gains on the teams in front. Once the climb settled down to a manageable gradient, I got into rhythm and let Jacob push/pull me up as we overtook or caught all of Clayton, Bowland and Ochils before the descent. Ran the rest of the way up without fuss, and even the clag, wind, and mud weren't much of an obstacle. We dropped down comfortably and then set our sights on DP, still a similar gap away.
The next climb was just at the right angle to the wind to allow for a bit of a push and hence this section went by quite nicely. The top lasted for a long time and we grew a bit nervous but eventually the checkpoint appeared in the fog. A horrifically steep and slippery descent followed but the exit track could be seen so it was more straightforward than it could have been with lower cloud. We diverted round a crag (I enjoyed the only part of the course where I was faster than Jacob) and then we hit the flatter section all the way to the final climb.
I took a gel here to be safe and really began to enjoy myself. Didn't even notice Jacob deck it but otherwise the wind was pushing now and things felt comfortable. We hit the final climb with some good momentum and although Jacob pulled away a bit I was never in too much pain. We were definitely gaining on the rest of the front 3 teams now and so I tucked in behind Jacob on the final descent while we pushed to make very second for the final two legs. Apart from diving head first into mud this was an epic downhill followed by some great atmosphere in the arena. Sprinted for the changeover and
handed over to Ewan and Ali. Job done!
The team only kept climbing, with Ewan and Ali nipping past Mercia and then Alex past Keswick to finish in silver! Much better than anyone's expectations and it felt amazing to pull off. Very chuffed to win leg 2 with Jacob but can only imagine how long I would take without him driving the locomotive... Really nice to celebrate with a team effort though, so much better than individual races! So an awesome day, which totally made the almost 8 hour commute back home worth it.
Leg - http://www.britishfellrelay.org.uk/results/provisi...