Thursday, 8 August 2013

A review of the Oxfam Trailtrekker - part 2

On departure from here all our kit was checked by Oxfam Trailtrekker staff as we were now to be walking through the night and at this point it was raining further along the course so we had to be ready for the wet. We also needed to show we had high viz vests, head torches, space blankets, food, water, map, compass and Oxfam Trailtrekker instructions for safety reasons which we did.

We ploughed on to Cam Farm which was to be quite a leg. The hiking trail kicked off being mainly uphill. It was turning dark by the time we arrived at Cam Farm and my blisters were now starting to bite despite the taping and using stride out along with fresh socks at every opportunity I definitely hadn't prevented them. The chafing however was under control, I was ladling the Vaseline on at every opportunity and fortunately it was working - I had no inclination that anything was a problem down there. We were fed homemade soup and pizza at Cam Farm which was great for morale along with biscuits and hot coffee. There was a medical team on standby too to look at participants feet if they were in bad shape. I daren't even look at this point, they were feeling bad, and we pushed on.

This was where it had rained (although we never actually got rained on) and it was really soggy underfoot. I was suffering waves of nausea at this stage and my stomach was doing somersaults, I can only put this down to the food I was gorging in order to continue to fuel myself. I think over the course of the Oxfam Trailtrekker I would burn around 7000 calories, around two days food consumption so I would need to consume that many more calories then I would normally in order to stand still. Obviously this wasn't possible so I just had to chew through as much as I could.

The absence of any hiking trail here meant us yomping through the mud in the pitch black which eventually led to road. It was demoralising in the pitch black but the road only marginally improved things, you don't notice when you're not walking so far but the road is so unforgiving and the soles of your feet take a battering when the ground is so hard leaving the soles feeling badly bruised.

At Deepdale water stop one of our guys retired. He'd given it his all and couldn't go any further. To be fair he'd not trained as he'd been pulled in as a replacement as one of the other guys had pulled out on the Thursday night. In fairness he should really have retired much sooner but through bloody mindedness he'd carried on.

We gave him a hug and left him at Deepdale to be reunited at the next check point in Buckden, which for those doing silver was the finish point at 65km. This section was really quite rubbish, we were hurting, it was pitch black, we were literally following the glow stick on the back of the pack of the person in front of us. It was unpleasant and morale was low. It was a slog through to Buckden. We were however welcomed by the team with sausage sandwiches which was awesome, before I could enjoy the feast though the toilet was calling, my stomach was getting the better of me. I almost dozed off. The sandwich was thrown down as there was too much repair work to do with my feet and we were up against it. The temperature was down at 1 degree which we later found out and sat still was bitterly cold, meaning we had to don all our layers whilst we lanced and plastered our wounds. This was getting pretty unpleasant, stick a pin in your skin a jet of fluid fires out of your heel, squeeze it dry and plaster it up.


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