Windermere is big. It rained and the end of the lake never seemed to get any closer. I resisted asking 'how far' (something I never do... so demoralising) but it was the closest I ever was during the race. Rain trickled down the back of my neck and I could feel my base layer soaking up warm rain water. The smell... my smell, of unwashed bodies and days old sweat puffed up warm and sickly every time I twisted my torso. The air was full of water. We were damp. Spirits, bodies, kit.
Eventually we landed at Winderemere Canoe and Kayak and rushed our boats through the carpark, sorted out our kit and got ready for the next bike leg. If we hurried, we'd make the next ferry. Steve lead the race... running around the buildings to the queueing cars. We didn't quite make it, but fortuitously ended up waiting outside a bacon butty van! So for 20 minutes we refuelled in the rain, drinking tea and eating delicious bacon rolls.
The ferry was surreal. People stared. We stared back. The rain lashed down.
Steve winced as we got back on our bikes. We were over 30 hours in now and his saddle sores were raw. He never once complained, but in his post-match analysis he wrote 'Things I would do differently: Buy bike shorts more than once every three years." I saw his sores. They were unbelievable. He resorted later in the race to wearing his shorts inside out and once put them on back to front because we got changed in the dark, on a hill in a sleeping bag. Not a good move!
The bike leg saw us fix our only puncture of the race and continue to storm past other teams. People were dropping checkpoints left right and centre so we had no idea what position we were in. We were fairly confident we had dropped back to fifth behind the other FGS team but that was fine.
The sun came out eventually and we drifted calmly into transition at Langdale for the dreaded Langdale to Langdale trek. This was going to be an overnight trek, which would take us high up into the mountains; up over Scafell in the early hours of the morning. It was the Make or Break stage of the race. A lot of luck would be required to hit the checkpoints in thick clag and zero visibility.
Unfortunately luck was not on our side.
To be continued...