Monday, January 02, 2012

Proper Snow

Well, if I embellished the truth a little on my recent Llanthony run and the first 'snow' of winter I  didn't need to today. I got snowed on big time.

The drive across was sunny and somewhat glorious. I was near to overheating during the first half hour of running up from the Tal-y-bont reserve along the Taff Trail - yes, that's its real name. I held off the urge to take a few layers off - right decision. After that, within minutes, conditions changed from sunny to cold, wet and windy. The hail stones stinging my face as I powered - OK, more chugged - along. It was nothing less than forecast so the first half hour was a bonus but I'm bloody glad I didn't strip off 'cause I'd have been all hands on deck to get 'em back on again.

The rain and hail eased off after a while and visibility improved to once again reveal the tops. At this point I was still only about 12k into what was a planned 30k run but I felt alright although I didn't feel I was running efficiently and every step seemed a little laboured - and I hadn't even got to the difficult bits yet. To that point it had all been relatively flat.

From the reservoir at the end of the road I started the first major climb and it went well, if a little too boggy for my liking but I had my water proof socks on so my little pinkies where cosy and safe from the harshness of the cold, icy water. Once onto the top ridge for the run to Corn Du the heavens opened and the snow flooded the sky. It was almost a blizzard as visibility plummeted to less than 50m. Still, I knew the route I was on as well as anyone can and kept on grinding out the miles.

I had plenty of kit with me including spare layers and on that ridge, with the wind biting, I almost stopped to put some on but by the time I hit Pen-y-Fan the snow had stopped and dropping down off the top, just those few hundred feet made all the difference. I decided to stay off the tops from then on and skirted round Cribyn before slipping up the side of Fan-y-Big. There wasn't much to be doing to avoid the wind on the run across to Waun Rydd but as I ran the wind eased slightly and from there on down to Tal-y-Bont it wasn't too bad. The final drop off was hideously slippy though and after sliding a metre or more a few times - I stayed on my feet I hasten to add - I decided to ease off and walk the final bit. Once onto the track I picked it back up for the final half mile to the van.

A good days training and my longest so far of the traverse training, 29km and 3,500 feet of ascent.