Bogong-Hotham 6.1.08 11.29
short version: i told whippet i would kick his arse. and i did. i kicked it goooooood. funny thing was i was joking :)
* went with the early (5am) start to maximise my chance of making the 11.30am cut at lanfords gap
* was a bit thrown at the start when following a group of hardened veterans we seemed to have trouble finding the track: there are a few small tracks off to the side to bridges over the creek and we had to backtrack once or twice
* going along one of these only a km from the start a guy 3 ahead suddenly went down and grabbed his ankle. will never forget that scream. wasnt a normal 'i've rolled my ankle scream' was this a persistent horrific blood-surdling sound. he waved us on after a bit. found out later he couldnt get back up and whippet and tim who were at the back helped him hobble part way back before he told them to go on and he hobbled back on a broken ankle!
* pushed on ahead of tamsin, G and mellum up the first climb to bogong (1986m). was catching quite a few people but suddenly felt crap about half way up. figured i was probably pushing things a bit hard - was a bit humid.
* best views of the day were above the tree-line heading to the summit: lots more features on the landscape than the flattened high plains later in the race. a beautiful area of the world.
* bogong summit in 1.55 (thats ok) tied the shoelace, looked around for 1 second and off i went
* seemed to lose the trail heading down t-spur (the 1000m drop to 'big river') so back tracked a bit and couldnt find anything else so kept going. it was just so overgrown with trees. very difficult to run down. figured someone would (hopefully) catch me and sure enough whippet came hurtling down the mountain to confirm we were on track.
* the big river crossing is one of those much talking about parts of the course. how deep will it be. how fast is it flowing. is the log still there to get across. i paused to fill my water bladder for a few second and was looking at all these people faffing around tiptoing and arse-scrapping along this log. said i quick hi to spud who had arrived exclaimed 'bugger this'. went straight in grabbing the chain and was across in 5 seconds and off up the hill.
* next climb up d-spur is around 800m and once again is a real trudge hard on the toes but didnt feel it anywhere near as much as the bogong climb
* the section thru warby corner is really quite runable and this is where a lot of people caught and passed me who i'd passed on the hills
* for some reason i thought it was 5km from warby to langfords gap and the first cutoff but it was 5km to the track intersection then another 4km to LG so i was merrily walking along thinking 10min/kms would get me there well ahead of schedule until i got a rude awakening looking at the map!
* spud caught me just before LG and we trotted in a few mins behind schedule at 6.18
* quick bite, bladder refil, sunscreen application and i was off. thanks to mel for the help here. was a bit buggered and all i could do was look at her strangely and use the word 'fck' a lot.
* reminder to self next time to not miss bits with the sunscreen and not to sit on the prickly plant at the checkpoint (which accounted for some of the swearing)
* the next and last cutoff at omeo rd is 6km away and we are allowed 45mins. looking at previous splits i wanted an hour so spud and i worked pretty hard in this section and actually did it in the 45.
* very very very happy to arrive at the last cut on time. just happy to walk it in from here. gave paul monks (CR spoonman) a big hug here. i think his wife was in the tent and probably thought i was a wierdo.
* spud and i coked up and waited a bit to see if the better half of mellum would arrive but left about 20mins before the cut.
* did some housekeeping (phone calls etc...) and basically walked the 8km to pole 333 hoping the twins would catch us and although we thought we caught a glimse at one stage we were never really sure they made the cut until we'd finished.
* teamed up with CR exe at pole 333 who i'd met at 4-peaks and with spud we had formed our 'finishing team'.
* very pleased to have those boys with me going up the last of the 3 big climb - swindlers spur. its about a 500m back up from cobungra creek to the finish at mt hotham most of which is int he first few kms once again leaning forward climbing on toes. neil was ahead and would stop every now and then and catch his breath and feel the cooling breeze. i couldnt help think about hardrock and how much harder another 7 x 1000m climbs would be there at altitude!!
* arrived at the last pit stop - derrick hut pretty much spent but in good spirits
* spud looked at the split times and exclaimed we were 15mins ahead of blue dog (who we'd heard had done an extra ?8km)
* took me a microsecond to get up off my chair and run up the hill
* by the time i looked back spud was with me but neil was just standing there looking stuned. i screamed we're ahead of dog cmon and he soon joined us again
* pushed hard walking up the last few hills - you can see the finish (well mt hotham anyway not the finish line) from a long way off which is sort of nice but the problem is you think youll be there in 5 mins not the 25 it takes!!
* arrived at the carpark/road crossing and mr g said with glee 'hey the dog is only 3-4 mins ahead' having no idea we thought he was behind
* looked at the watch and figured a sub 11.30 was on the cards and we ran the last bit hard to just squeeze in by 14 seconds
* sat there with head in hands for half a minute just ignoring everyone and everything. just had my own little meditation session just to let it sink in and recover
* great to see tim then whippet come in to the finish. i may not get that chance again! it was a great mellum weekend. amazing how those guys backed up from c2k to run this!
* nice social atmosphere at the finish. bit hot in the sun tho. had the best cheese and salad sandwich in my LIFE!
* the bus trip home was 'somewhat entertaining'. one of the runners who was struggling on course pushed through for a gutsy finish and seemed 'ok' at the end (dont we all!). on the bus home he was having trouble with cramps and vomiting. its a long story but we ended up getting the ambulance for him when we got to the campground.
* spud is an absolute legend. thanks heaps mate for basically being my personal pacer for the day. he was very encouraging and made me feel tough by calling me 'mountain man'!
* the terrain was tougher than i thought: a lot of the high plains is difficlt to run on due to the deep narrow 'ruts' made by the hikers. which means 1 or both feet on the uneven tussock. lots of rocks on other sections. and steep/technical downs.
* the hardrock CV is now complete