The Deer Runner

The Deer Runner

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Double Tikka

Thought I'd better update the blog.

It's time for me to give something back to ultra running.  I've volunteered to help out at the WHW race and if accepted I look forward to seeing the event from the other side.

I've been doing Marcothon, mostly the minimum 3 miles but I'm not too concerned with the low mileage.  Marcothon gives runners a good mid winter base fitness, ready to step up the miles in January.  I've chosen a training programme leading up to the Double Cateran so the higher training starts on Saturday.

The DC 110, it's never far from my thoughts as this is going to be a tough challenge for me.  Thanks to Mike for uploading the Cateran times.  This allowed me to compare my three race times    in which my splits are remarkably consistent.  My average finish time is 12 hours, on that basis I only have a one hour buffer for the 13 hour first half cut off.  One hour is not a lot considering seven hours will be run in darkness.  So, with such a tight cut off I have two concerns - navigation and illumination.  Even after completing the  race three times, missing a turn is a worry.  Running any course in the opposite direction makes it seem completely different, and the lack of light will make it a lot harder.  Navigation I'll leave for another post.  This post is about illumination.

I've been planning a lighting system for the DC, it's crucial I get this right so I can run as if it's daylight and beat the 13 hour cut off.  Over the years I've always used the Petzl Tikka XP2 head torch, maybe not the most powerful head torch around but it's served me well on two WHW races.
The WHW race starts on a pretty good surface, there's also a couple of hundred runners helping to illuminate the track ahead until daylight breaks.  On Lairig Mor, towards the end of the race, tiredness creeps in where for me, illumination is not so important on the march to Fort William.

For the DC I realise this won't be good enough, so without spending a fortune on a new all singing and dancing head torch, I was going to continue with the XP2 and carry a powerful hand torch.
Then I had an idea, I own to two Petzl head torches so I put them both onto one head band. 

A six mile night run around local country roads, the testing ground for my new system.  These head torches have a diffuser, a sliding plastic lens spreads the light for close up illumination, leave it tucked away for a longer distance spot light.  I started the run with one on diffused and one on spot.
I thought this would be ideal, the way ahead lit up and also close in illuminated.  It didn't quite work out like that, mainly because the head torches were slightly askew on my head.  It was a good system but required a twist of the head to see either close in or further ahead.  I then diffused and adjusted both torches to give an extra wide illumination, this was a revelation.  Instead of being focused on one circle of light ahead, I could see wide across the road.  Wide light will be perfect for me on the Cateran so I can choose the best and clearest path on the difficult sections.  I'm still going to carry a powerful hand torch, one with an arm band which I can use to light up the trail ahead when required. 

The double head torch is not perfect, being mounted on a single head band, the extra weight meant the torches kept sliding down my forehead.  Hopefully, a third party central band should sort this out.        

That's illumination just about done, a future posting will be navigation, something I'm a complete novice at.

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