My husband’s face went pale when I told him the news. Stunned at the revelation, he hurriedly started making plans to be “otherwise engaged” over the weekend of December 1 and 2.
The cause of his horror? After a gap of two years, the Tour de Trigs is back. And back in 44 days time. In fact one of the Tour de Trigs organisers helpfully left a comment at House With No Name, asking me to spread the word.
For anyone who hasn’t come across it, the Tour de Trigs challenge is a gruelling 24-hour orienteering hike through the wilds of the Oxfordshire, Warwickshire and Northamptonshire countryside. Competitors (lots of them walk for charity) are given a set of map references and have to be checked off at each one.
If that wasn’t tough enough, the event is always held in December – when the days are short, the temperatures are freezing and the fields are clogged in mud. Worst of all, at least half the trek is done in the dark.
I’ve never done it (and never intend to) but my husband has. A crazy five times – and usually in lashing rain. Each time he says he’s never going to do it again but then his doctor friend Tim rings and he always ends up saying “great idea - count me in.”
The walkers compete in teams of three and have to carry rucksacks equipped with everything from blister plasters, maps and sleeping bags to head torches and reflective armbands. My husband takes a flask of strong black coffee, flapjacks and hot cheese and tomato rolls (wrapped in tin foil to keep them warm). A couple of hours in, he can’t face any of it and has to force himself to eat.
They set off on Saturday morning and the rot always sets in as dusk falls. One year my husband felt so sick he had to quit halfway. The next, one of his team-mates fell ill. Another time he trudged on through wind and rain, unable to speak or map-read, and fainted on the kitchen floor when he got home.
So, the big question in our house is – will he sign up or will he flee the country? Somehow I suspect the latter…