This weekend we found ourselves (or lost ourselves) at Yoxter in the Mendips, with a 7-strong team taking part in the day race and Michael, Matt and Tom staying to brave the night race.
Yoxter day race report - by Sophie Gordon
T'was a beautiful sunny morning (we wish)... it was a damp and foggy morning when Lawrence, Sophie, Tracy, Meredith, Michael, Matt and Tom Dobra set off towards the Mendips. Mike entertained some of us on the way there with a story of the last time he ran on this area, when at the mass start of a mens' relay everyone ran off enthusiastically, saw the vast maze of depressions on the map and immediately stopped dead to have a good think. As you can imagine this filled us with confidence for our runs. Compulsory waterproofs donned to ward off the stealthy drizzle, we ventured out into the fog. It was an interesting experience which made an open area much more challenging when you can't see the fence you're heading towards! My general race tactic ended up being follow the compass and hope you hit the control bang on, then when you don't, wander around until you see someone popping down into a depression and back up again in meerkat fashion. Lawrence made the right call of being fast (5th on the Blue course) and finishing before the heavy rain started; meanwhile I dripped along an earthbank hoping to find my last two controls as quickly as possible. Tracy accidentally retired due to what must be an unprecedented technical problem: the end of the dibber broke off and got stuck in the control box, so she went to punch the finish and found she only had two thirds of a dibber! Well done to Tom for being unfazed by the technical terrain and finishing second on the Brown course.
Yoxter night race report - by Matt Pickering
Three lads, now soaked to the bone recalled the teachings of society as to what men their age should be doing on a Saturday, retreated to the nearest pub for the afternoon. The pub, warm and homely served cool chips, blackcurrant & lemonades and coffees, a roaring fire dried the dripping gloves, buffs and coats. This time the temptation of a cool beverage was resisted. As we waited for darkness to fall, we finished our race preparation by trying to guess control sites for the evening race but little difference that would make. The darkness fell, the fog fell, the rain lifted for the climb back up to event hq. Visibility down now to less than 5m in places, accuracy was going to be crucial. Steep, sticky contours drew us all into the centre of the map. Dobra escaped with both 122 and 123 on his way to a great result just behind Big Purks :clap:, but Michael and Matt have a lot to learn and left something of themselves behind in the gulleys and pits of Yoxter.