Last weekend was the OMM and I am now in a rare lull between training for events. How’d the OMM go? Well , it was painful, as I expected, the course organisers pushed us hard and up and down big hills including Ben Chonzie, as I expected.
The first day was fair to middilng, with highlights including racing to a control taking just nine minutes from the last, to lowlights of wandering around bogs whilst being hailed upon looking for controls. Back at camp, unfortunately, my feet were inconsolably cold. I lost sensation in them and then started turning purple. Placing clean dry socks on did not help because they were thin and quickly became cold and wet. I used my freeze-dried spag bol in a foil bag to warm my feet and it took a couple of hours of coaxing my feet to get sensation back in them. Next year: one pair of thick ski socks as my luxury item!
The second day involved plenty of river crossings, with fast-flowing rivers, but none too deep. The course organisers took us up and down hills, practically to the top and back down, over and over. When my partner was navigating, it became a monotonous, almost meditative trudge up through thick gorse if we were lucky, peat bogs when we were not! The views over central Scotland were magnificent. My team was let down by poor navigational skills which let us to spent over an hour criss-crossing bogs on top of a hill without finding either of the controls that we were looking for. At 1.20pm we made the decision to descend the mountain in order to get back to camp for 5pm as there was no chance of finding all controls in the necessary timescales. My first OMM, over.
Once off the mountain, we were joined by a whole bus load of folk who had to make the same tough decision, all from the same race category. In all, over 40% of the course participants retired before completing it. My feet hurt for a few days after the event- maybe I should have taken the advice of a friend who binds his feet to reduce hot spots and blisters. Additionally, where I had strapped my ankle using zinc oxide tape, my skin had been grazed off and the tendons that I had strapped my ankle to were sore.
Next year, with warmer socks, stronger ankle and significantly better navigational skills, I will be back!