Polaris Challenge Solo

I keep getting bugged to write some short musing on how the Polaris went and well it's only now that I have been shamed into getting something down in writing. Well done Mr Ward you have done what Jim, Ken and the Chunk couldn't do, so here goes.

Everyone else had other commitments so if i was going to do it then it would have to be alone. When I did the last ones with Jim and Ken I was always the slowest so I always felt a little down on how I was performing. It's easy to think you don't have any motivation as someone else is always doing the pushing, so I was curious to find out what it was going to be like, with just me. Would I find myself at the bottom of a steep trail with a 50 pointer and just not be bothered or would I thrash through every checkpoint as fast as could, I had no idea.

I didn't sign up until the Friday just in case I came across a reason not to do it. What changed my mind was a post on the Polaris forum. Some guy had written in saying why he did it and it just struck a chord. In the most part it was saying that people should just get of their arse, but equally not to feelintimidated just because you are not as quick as some of the other riders.

I drove up on Friday night, put my tent up and well not a lot more. I grabbed some food from Wilfs and was quite happy just reading in my tent alone. It's amazing how little time you get to alone, so I didn't feel any particular need tosocialise in the bar. I woke up when I woke up. I didn't really need an alarm clock and took my time over breakfast. I finally set of about 9.00am.

I was a little worried that this time that I would have a lot to carry but in the end with a slight bending of the rules, I think I was actually carrying less than previous years. The one change I did make was to my hydration system. Inprevious events I had carried a full bladder, but this year I went for just one bottle. I did force myself to drink prior to the start and at the camp and overall I was much happier with thissolution, instantly my pack was 2kg lighter which was a big plus.

The event itself was held in dales and the weather was pretty good apart from the wind.

There were a few changes to the event this year. The map was already totally marked up, this means there is no need to hunker down and plan your route the night before. You get given the map as you start and then you have a think about how you are going to rack up 700 points that day.

The first day I blew it, I didn't really know how far I could ride and ticked of a few points but just couldn't commit to a harder circuit. Every time I looked at the map I couldn't imagine myself getting to the checkpoints and get back without any time penalties. I ended up back at the campsite not really having pushed myself as hard as I should have, this is where having a partner really helps.

Nick