the upside down
For anyone that follows me on twitter, you will know that i'm currently training for the infamous Berghaus Dragon's Back Race. For those that don't know what the Dragon's Back Race is...here is the description lifted straight from the website:
The legendary Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race™ follows the mountainous spine of Wales from north to south. This incredible 5-day journey is approximately 300 kilometres long with 16,000 metres of ascent across wild, trackless, remote and mountainous terrain. It is not a trail race!
The original Dragon’s Back Race™ happened in September 1992, and ever since it has been whispered about with a mixture of awe and trepidation. Its reputation had reached legendary status with fell, mountain and ultra runners the world over by September 2012 when the second race took place. With a third race in 2015, the Berghaus Dragon's Back Race™ is respected internationally for both its bulletproof organisation and 'toughest race' status.
The Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race™ is the toughest 5-day mountain running race in the world.
It's going to be a tough one! There's a great quote from the excellent Damian Hall's blog which sums it up.
"...none of us needed reminding what a daunting task awaited us the next morning. But race director Shane Ohly thoughtfully delivered one anyway. “I have 60 finisher medals,” he tells the room of 139 competitors."
That's not a mistake, this race has a less than 50% success rate!
After a navigation disaster in a race in the Lake District, myself and Ash (training partner and fellow DBR hopeful) headed to Wales for a weekend of recce'ing and training. We decided to recce the Rhinogs and the Cadair Idris area. The thing that was apparent very quickly is that it is near impossible to move fast in this terrain, I don't know how the front guys do it! If you're not scrambling over rocks, then you are knee deep in bogs or wading through the dreaded tussocks grass. Both myself and Ash fell waist deep into a boggy hole on numerous occasions, with Ash hilariously shouting that he thought he was getting dragged into the 'upside down'!
We need to work on our speed, that is for sure. I can happily run a 6:00 min/mile on road, on a good day. Here we were averaging 20 min/miles!!!
My plan is to considerably increase my training load in the new year, hills are already a regular session for me, but they will be every other day come January. My leg strength needs to improve and I need to spend more time moving through mountains, working not only on my fitness, but on my navigation too.
There is a lot of hard work ahead, and i'll keep you updated on here as to how we are progressing. Wish me luck!
Dragon's Back Training from Matt Buck on Vimeo.
I own Running Adventures.