A race, a lie-in and a hill run made for a tiring weekend. I overslept by two hours on Saturday and it was almost light by the time I started delivering in Ramsey at 5.45am. Two coffees on the way to work (wide awake) and radio off (I'm easliy distracted). Five and a bit hours later, having not missed a single delivery (many people even got the milk they had ordered), I was whacked, but I had broken my Saturday Round 34 record by 13 minutes (I'm sad enough to write down my fastest times).
In the six-goal, FA Cup semi-final thriller at Glen Road (we lost), the wind blowing down the valley was such, that both periods of extra-time were 'kicked-off' by a shot on goal! Surely it would calm down for the final round of the Manx Gas XC League at Crossags.
Not a chance. A congheay (north west gale) added to my discomfort as I plodded around one of the best courses on the IOM, albeit in bright sunshine. My first XC race for two years was hard and won't feature on my off-road CV. In another case of car-swap training, Cal had run to Ramsey and I was planning to run home. It would be a tough run after a race, but it would also salvage something from a very poor training week. The forecast had said 'isolated wintry showers', so carrying a bum bag with waterproofs and 'phone (remember the old days when you took a 10p?), I set off towards North Barrule.
Before I even got to the mountain road, the sky had turned black and I was under a gorse bush sheltering from a tremendous 'white-out' snow shower. It eased, and I carried on, wondering if it was still a good idea. On the summit it became very apparent that it wasn't. I had great difficulty keeping upright (I know this is a re-run of last Sunday, but bear with me...), and it was so cold. It was snowing and my windward side was white. I had forgotten my gloves and my hands were frozen, so I dropped down the first wall into the Corony Valley. 100m below the ridge it was calm. Looking up, I could see plumes of snow being blown over the ridge and hear the muted roar of the wind. Looking towards Clagh Ouyr the whole view was silvery grey, with snow on the ground and an angry grey sky.
The run home was fantastic - not for the quality of the running (if only), but for the surroundings. As I crested the ridge looking across the Agneash/Laxey Valley, the grey landscape was off set by a single, sunlit patch of the brightest green on the lower slopes of Mullagh Ouyr. Half an hour later I was in the shower wincing like a baby as the blood worked its way back into my finger tips.