Posted: 31/05/2015 at 12:57
Red Rose 100: Prudence distated I went on the walkers / joggers start at 10.00am rather than the runners start at 2.00pm - a decision that paid off as I was faster than the vast majority of the late starters. The reason runners don't like the early start is that you have to moderate your pace on the first day to avoid being held at checkpoints by arriving too early. This stops me going off too fast and blowing up on the first day, leaving a long slow plod to the finish.
First section went straight up Rivington Pike with about 1300 ft of ascent, which broke the field up nicely. I set off with Jeff and Tim - as a trio we have completed a number of events - with me navigating and the two of them contributing cheerful banter. Good conditions, dry and sunny but not too warm. Safely through CP1 and then a relatively easy section through to CP2. This is where the first nasty section started as the route attempted to find a decent route round Blackburn, using little used paths and strange cut-throughs. As somebody remarked 'no surprise they are little used given the state they are in'. Rough fileds, endless rickety stiles and long wet grass [it had rained overnight] made for a long 11 mile haul, which included trying to cross a golf course while a competition was taking place. We were glad to get to CP3 in Whalley!
The section just completed had 1200ft of ascent and the next was over 1500ft. We were nearly at the 30 mile point as we set off on this section, which took in Nick O' Pendle and the attendant 'permabogs' on the top. I was extremely glad to be wearing my new waterproof socks and was amazed to arrive at CP4 with dry feet. However this section was very messy, both underfoot and navigationally, so we slowed up quite a bit, although tellingly nobody passed us. At this point Tim was starting to feel queasy and had to be firmly told that throwing up was only permitted at the back of the group
Compulsory kit check at Barley [CP4 36 miles] before re-ascending Pendle Hill to find the witch in full regalia at the top clipping our cards [there were a few surprised tourists]. The bulk of the walk did this section in darkness so we were pleased to get over, down the tricky descent and into CP5 with plenty of time to spare. The route then changed completely for a couple of sections - fields, stiles, long grass, rough ground etc but not much in the way of ascent. We made it to CP6 before needing to get our torches out and then a couple of reasonably good section to get us to the breakfast point at 56.7 miles in Slaidburn.
Tim dropped out here leaving Jeff and I to complete a change of clothes, shoes and socks plus eat breakfast in under half an hour [ a record for Jeff who I normally have to drag out of checkpoints before he puts down roots]. We were both still feeling as good as anyone can feel at 2.00am having completed 56.7 miles, but the next section was quite a test trying to cross featureless moorland on a compass bearing in the pitch black. I was pretty pleased with how I managed, although the wet, slippery descent off the fell was a nightmare - then it started to rain..........