Thursday, April 21, 2016

Out Across The Expanse

I headed over to the mountains after the morning rush hour and arrived at the Cray Reservoir by about 10:45. The weather looked okay. It didn't feel too cold. There was quite a lot of cloud but it was well above the tops. All in all not too bad - I thought at first.

So I set off, retracing the route of many a South Wales Traverse recce. My legs felt pretty good and it felt like I was going okay. As I hit the Fan Hir ridge I realised how much the wind had picked up - but it was on my back so didn't trouble me - at least not at that point.

The run across The Expanse - as I like to call it - on a fairly direct line towards Garreg Las was harder going than I remember. Some sod has been out there planting extra tussocks and I seemed to have the uncanny knack of finding every boggy bit going.

By the time I reached the slopes of Garreg Las I decided I was going to have to retreat from my original plan of looping around it and just headed for the summit. I was feeling knackered and I wasn't even half way!

As I hit the summit I suddenly realised I'd made a good choice on the course shortening front. As I turned into the wind to start the return leg it was like running into a wall of force. I reckon the gusts were more than the forecast 40mph - but then I guess 40mph is pretty fast anyway.

From there it became another Traverse recce as I hit Waun Lefrith and Picws Du but boy was I suffering. On the very tops I was hardly moving forward the wind was so strong but it's not about how hard you can run, it's about hard the wind can hit you and you keep on moving forward - and I was still moving forward - slowly.

One big gust did manage to take me down though! Admittedly I got slightly off balance running in a rutted track but the gust meant I had no chance of recovery. It was soft grass so no damage done but I had to admit a second defeat. I was mindful of making it back to the car so decided to cut down off the ridge and followed the trod under the summit of Fan Brycheiniog around to Llyn y Fan Fawr. From there I retraced my steps back to the car.

In total I covered 24.5km with 1480m ascent in 3:22. Not a spectacular time but by god am I ever knackered now. The boggy bits and tussocks of the expanse and the very strong winds took their toll and let's not forget the almost 5,000ft of ascent in old money. That's my longest run with the most climb so it's not all bad.