These things happen but hopefully we’ll be able to prevent it in the future with more advanced planning. In sharp contrast, there was no chance that Mr Brennan’s Select Over 60’s were going to melt. Since November, Brian had coaxed, coerced and cajouled us into the lean, mean, if spluttering machine that we were on that day and it was only this motivation that got me out of my bed at daft o’clock on that dark, foggy Saturday morning.
Foggy drive over, there is the wonderful gathering of the clans in Falkland, a village of huge historical interest but it seems that each time I arrive my only interest is in where to park, where to pee, have a cherry scone and black coffee (put the emphasis on the ‘ee’ to make it scan!). Anyway, I love the pre race hubble, people faffing about kit, muttering about maps and boring each other to death with injury stories. This babbling, multi-coloured throng heaves from hall to carpark, to street to hall like a starling murmuration for about 90 minutes then suddenly dissolves as folk depart for the start and their handover locations.
Amidst the babble and hustle, Brennan’s Select remained icey cool and focussed; it didn’t matter that with ten minutes to go there was no show from Hamilton – we nodded sagely, agreeing he was a man of substance and intent and would be there when it counted. He was and, if the slightly pornographic sound effects were anything to go by – he gave of his all on Leg 1, handing over to our two gazelles – Gordon and Murdo who floated effortlessly back up the barley field and into the clouds. We were there to watch them go and the two other high points of this handover location were seeing Pete Baxter back in the fray – great effort, great time only to be followed by a pregnant pause whilst we desperately searched for Hamer and Klaas who had adopted the relaxed approach to the handover – Pete’s face was red but the air was blue! Claire meantime played a stormer, running a PB on Leg 1 for the Ladies’ no-more B Team!
Helen, Mr Brennan and I headed on round to the start of Leg 3 where Brian and I hovered and twitched below cloud level until Gordon and Murdo flew down the steep descent to hand us the ticket to pain – the punch card! Never in all my years of doing the race had I felt so obliged to perform good or so dreaded the effort that would be required! On the day however, Mr B and I worked well – he no doubt cursed me on the ascent, we ran step for step across the bogs, I cursed him on the track (not a second to stop and take photos of the blue sky, frosted paradise), we flew step for step down the descent and we jointly staggered up the last 300 meters; Helen took over and battered round Leg 4 to come into a triumphant, surely trophy winning, sexagenarian (yes, that is the correct term – look it up!) finish.
Well – committed and focussed on a win we might have been, but our big mistake was that on the Leg 3 descent, Brian and I had dismissed the slightly older looking team who were heading out on Leg 4, as 50 somethings that hadn’t aged too well! Big mistake – they were all 60 and beat us into second position. However, all was not cricket as Murdo pointed out – these characters were six, I admit if a little resentfully, clearly talented individuals from a range of obscure clubs, not the one club. So dear potential B team ladies – you could have touted other clubs and made up your team that way – but you were right to do the honourable thing and wait for another year; better to be proud and united in the golden vest, than chasing dreams under false pretences!
A fabulous day as we have all said – and you have seen the results – we came we swore, we didn’t quite conquer but we know we are great!