#The Best and Worst of Times
As the dust mud settles on another Montane Spine Race, Paul took the time to look back and ponder the good, the bad and the ugly of his time completing such a gruelling event.
What the Dickens!? – Paul Taylor
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, a gauge of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, the season of headlights, the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair... it was the Spine Challenger South (MRT)2024!!
Yes, it’s true. It was sometimes the worst of times but eventually it was the best of times 34hrs 27 mins, far surpassing my greatest expectations. Eventually, I realised that I was within 3mph average speed along the entire route, way quicker than I had thought might be possible for me. But conditions were nigh on perfect. A little cold, a bit of fog, a flurry of snow and a thin frost glazing the route with adventure. And my position? 2nd in the MRT category! (17th overall in the Challenger South?)
Chuffed and in bits. The last leg from Horton to Hawes was a case of self-administered first aid, managing the pain game. Blistered soles bruised feet all masking a sprained ankle. Torture? pah! Brutal? That just about sums it up. All sparking from the urge to get it done, who knows why?
I had numerous supporters, both “dot watching” the tracker or cheering from the hillside to whom I am incredibly grateful. Their faces in the fog, icy sunlight or in pitch darkness are now forever etched in my memory of it all. My thanks go to members of Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team. The support was also reflected in the public’s fund-raising donations via a Givey link to CVSRT. Again, this exceeded expectations of a possible £5 per mile and is now standing in excess of £15 per mile or a storming £1,700 (currently!?)
So, what do I want to write about the Spine Race? It’s the incredibly friendly, supportive atmosphere that seems to mask the worst of times.