Sunday, 14 October 2007

The party's over.

It was the BGR dinner last night, and Alison and I are now hungover and knackered. It was a late finish, crawling up from the bar and into bed at about 3am. It was a superb evening - with plenty of ale, dancing and catching up. The certificate is already framed and up in the house!

Selwyn Wright, the BGR club chairman, did a great job in putting the round into some sort of historical context. He also superbly summarised the effortthe BGR needs, as well as highlighting the sacrifice of those with whom you share your life. He managed to make the BGR maintain its daunting aspect, despite the fact we'd all done it. I was worried that a room full of BGR'ers would somehow belittle the achievement, but not a bit of it. The atmosphere was convivial, appreciative, well humoured and friendly with not a hint of elitism. The guy who got round in 23:55 got a bigger cheer than the guy who made it round in 17 hours. We all knew that the 23:55 guy would have been pushing to the wire whereas most of the rest of us would have known it was in the bag for varying amounts of time. I loved that reaction.

It was great to see Simon Neville again (and Gerti and Barbara of course!). Simon's round was the single best training and learning session i did before doing my own 5 weeks later. He showed mental strength, control and judgement when making up the time he lost to Wasdale. I admire him for that and it was a pleasure to share in the experience again. It was also a great chance to discuss his amazing prepartion, specifically his tower-block training regime - bourne from the fact he lives in London and does not have Moel Famau on his doorstep.

It just goes to show - where there's a will, there's a hill.

Simon's networking skills were also a joy to behold - here's a guy that lives down south but knew far more people in the room than I. I have encountered a number of people at races since the BGR who i promised i would catch up with at the meal, but couldn't remember any of them from Adam (apart from Geoff Briggs, who it's always a pleasure to see). One slight thing I thought would have been better for me was if i knew more people.

But next time, in 2009, i will. Dave Sykes, Paul Miller, Pete Taylor and Jamie Dowdall will have all got round by then (of that i have no doubt) and i'll be there to celebrate with them. I can;t wait for that. I was a touch jealous of the Maccs, Dark Peaks and Keswicks of this world who have BGRers a plenty to make up a real party at this event. What it would be for Tattenhall to join that clan...

But we had a great time. The ceilidh was superb and we really got stuck in. It was good to fleetingly meet the legend that is Fred Rogerson too - a dignified and revered presence for sure. It was such a pleasure to drink in the atmosphere of pride and celebration.

Enough time and reflection has now passed for my BGR to settle in and for the dinner to draw a line under it. In doing so though, I felt such immense pride. It was good to be able to show my gratitude to Alison for her support by dancing all night and getting all the drinks in (two things i generally avoid doing). It was a perfect way to close the experience off.

It's been hard to let go, and I've had a number of false starts in trying to do so. It's almost been like mourning. I'll never forget it, but now the focus is forward. Forward to supporting other attempts, forward to getting faster and fitter for racing rather than rounds and forward to deciding upon life's next big challenge.

This will be the last entry to this blog. It's been a terrific source of therapy for me and a means of getting some good advice (as well as some unexpected and very much appreciated support and compliments, including from strangers at last night's dinner!). I would recommend writing a blog to anyone who is building up to any kind of event. It provides a great souveneir, but also helps you to learn as you prepare. It is also a motivating factor - knowing you will write it on a Monday meant you had another reason for getting out during the previous week.

More than anything else though, it helps you make the most of the whole experience, which is something that i didn't think this blog would do when i set about writing it.

Thanks to everyone who has read this. I hope you enjoyed it or at least found some of it useful.



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wightplodder said...

Just read your blog again and really enjoyed it. I completed my BGR 10 days ago and thought my blog of the event might be of interest - thanks for your support and for the help which your blog gave me.