Friday, 12 December 2014

Part 10 :Race plan.

 OK You have all your Kit as sorted as it will ever be .
        You are fit but wish you were fitter.
        You have read as many blogs as your brain can handle.
         You are convinced that everyone is better prepared than you.
         You have looked at the maps (and got confused)
         You have perhaps spent some time on the course.(but wished you had spent more time)
          You have looked at the weather forecast.

 You are still nervous about the actual race.

       Its time to think about a race plan.

          Most of you will have read Damian,s comment : "Grams Matter"

          This is indeed true but in wildly different ways for different runners .

         Take the top 3 in 2016.  They all had light weight Kit because the faster you move the more effect weight has on your pace and energy expend ensure. Pavel ,Eoin and Eugeni will all plan to move light and fast in order to reach CP3 without sleeping if possible. Eugeni

        The first thing to say is that : A Race Plan Has To Be Flexible.
         Having said that once the race has started you will find that you will be faced with a series of decision points. Some of these  decision points are predictable.

         I won,t tell you how to plan your race but I can give you a "Heads UP" on the decisions you may well have to take as your race progresses.
         Each decision you make will have ramifications later on in the race and  will alter your race plan.

         The bottom line at any stage is the simple question: Do I push on or do I make changes?

         The main factors that will demand decision making are as follows.

          Cut Off Times. 
          You should be aware of the cut off times stipulated in the race rules.
           This will be particularly relevant to slower runners. However even the Elite runners should be aware of the cut off,s
           Its 268 miles and literally anything could happen. ( You could have an accident and be hauled of the course . After being patched up and assessed by the medics they may allow you to continue. One way or another you will have lost time. Your pace may also be seriously affected.

             The Need For Sleep.(how much /when/where?)
             There is no avoiding the fact that a tired brain is lousy at decision making. Added to that your ability to judge how cold you are can not be relied upon.
              To get good value from your sleep you probably need to be fast asleep for a minimum of 2hrs. Less than this is just emergency rest . If you get less than 2 hrs you may suffer later. However we are all very different in how much sleep we need.
              If you get really tired you may become hyperactive.  You are now out of control and even if you know you desperately need sleep you just can,t fall asleep.

              Nutrition and Hydration
             The time to feed and drink is before you really need to.

              Coping with the weather.
             Again the time to add layers or strip off is before you need to.

               Working with other runners.
              If you "team up"then any decision will have to take into account other runners.

              You as a runner  . Just how strong and fast are you?
               I won,t give advise to the front runners. Their tactic is usually go non stop for the first 110 miles then sleep/rest  at CP2 and every CP from then on. This will either work or they will DNF in a big way!
              The leaders for the last two years  kept  going as far as CP3 , and then sleep. (This gives them  a massive advantage but I doubt if many runners can emulate this feat of endurance). 
               If  you can hold it together as far as CP2 and then try to sleep. The use of a separate CP from Challenger finishers has made sleeping much easier.
                 CP2 was an  open hall with no designated sleeping area. The Challengers arriving at the hall all receive cheers and clapping when they arrive . (Keeping the noise down for full Spine Runners trying to sleep  was a big issue)

               My blog has always been aimed at the mid paced runners like myself who just want to get to the finish line. The following thoughts reflect how I feel you can achieve this aim based on my own timings and crucial decision points.

             The Night Before The Race
              Sleeping soundly the night before should be a key part of your race plan.
               If however you don,t get a good nights sleep then not sleeping at CP1 will become a less wise option.

             Day one 

              Equipment---- You won,t need to sleep before CP1 so if you have a tent and a Bivi bag you will only need to carry a  Bivi bag for emergencies.
             You all know my views on moving to fast on day one. You really can afford to take it slow and start to get a feel for the race . Your first real  decisions will probably be about self confidence and deciding to get in a team or go solo. You need the self confidence to let other runners push past you. Run at your own pace and take control. As dusk approaches running solo will feel a much less safe option.

           CP1 Decisions.----- Do you sleep or push on?
                                           Whatever you do you should shower and feed well.
                                           If you stop to sleep you will find this CP noisy but not as bad as in previous years with all the Challenger tail enders milling about. for a first time Spiner this is still the safest option.
                                           If you push on then there is no obvious comfy sleeping place before Malham except the small Top Withens bothy.
                                           If the weather is bad then sleeping on the trail will gain you nothing.
                                           What time do I start again if I sleep? -----If you can get away by 5am you may have a chance to get a feed in the Pubs at Malam.  Whatever you do try to get back on the trail before dawn to make best use of the light.
                                            If you don,t sleep at CP1 then some time soon you will need to sleep  out on the trail. (Only the Elite runners will make it all the way  to CP1.5 /CP2 in one hit.)
                                            The next decision point is Pondon Reservoir. There is a cafe just past the road junction SD 979379. You should be ready for breakfast  but this stop adds 1km to the course. I will probably stop here as it will help me move faster later.
                                             Next decision point is at Lothersdale. You walk right past the pub and stopping to eat here by the warm fire should be part of your plan.

            It may appear that the race plan is obsessed about food . You should consider this phase of the race  as an intensive course in training your body to consume more food than is normal. This re-programing  of your digestive system will pay dividends later in the race.

                                              Next point Gargrave . Drop in at the Co-op for hot food if available and possibly  stock up food for your  sleep stop near CP 1.5(there are also good pubs just down the road from the co-op.
            For the first two years of the Spine it was just possible to sleep actually in the CP 1.5 tent or a marshals tent but now with larger numbers this is unlikely so prepare to sleep on the ground. You will need a good sleeping mat!
             Don,t count on any shed or bothy to be unlocked. (you won,t know until you arrive!)

            CP 1.5 decisions ---- Do I bivi/camp  before or near the CP or in the shelter of the woods further on . You will be warmer and less exposed if you camp at lower elevations near Malam itself but there are usually hot noodles at CP 1.5.
           In 2015 CP1.5 was at the Outdoor Training Centre (there was no food there but there was a kettle so use it to make a :rehydrated meal. (Getting hot food inside you and cooking it up in a warm dry place is way easier than out in the open while you set up a Bivvi)
             How long you sleep will depend on how tired you are. One way or another you will need hot food and plenty of it as the trail over Pen-yghent and Cam high road is very exposed to high winds.
              The 2015 Spine Course runs through Horton . ( The cafe in Horton stayed open all night in 2015) 
         By now you will be well into the race and your pre- race energy reserves will be used up . At this stage of the race you will be running on the food you consumed over the last 24 hrs. Your body will still not have fully  adjusted to what you are asking it to do and so be very vulnerable  to the cold.

                                               CP2 decisions:  I have pushed on past this CP for the last two years heading for Tan Hill Pub..Never made it before closing time! perhaps in 2017?  CP1.5 all the way to Tan Hill is a long day on minimum sleep. There is little shelter at Tan Hill and the pub porch is tiny so Look for a good bivi spot around Keld before you climb to high towards Tan Hill.
                                                Once past Tan Hill and the notorious bogs around Washfold Rigg you do have a possible emergency bolt hole : The underpass tunnel below the A66. This tunnel is frankly disgusting but it is sheltered with dryish patches of concrete covered in litter. If you sleep here you need a sign saying "Don,t wake me!" as everyone passing will be concerned for your welfare. 
               Once past the A66 the trail rises up over the fells then crosses a track with a large Bothy where it is possible to sleep.
    The Middleton CP is a good place to sleep. Make sure you know exactly where the CP is located by looking it up on google maps before the race . It,s not easy to find

     The next leg is Middleton To Dufton. You are now heading for the high open exposed ground at High Cup Nick. Trail finding ,footing ,navigation,snow cover , river crossings , and high level cold winds will notch the race difficulty up higher than you may encounter before on the PW. (Be prepared for anything)
      The Dufton village hall will be open .
     Once past Dufton the ' hardness  level'  goes up yet again (it may well be worth teaming up for safety reasons)  with everything except the river crossings.
     Gregs hut should be with luck the end of your external physical challenges . It,s pretty much down hill to the next CP.
      CP4 onwards will give you the first taste of real bogs. (They will get steadily worse from now on ). Although the PW is not very high on this section much of the trail is badly marked and they appear to have run out of flagstones to lay over the tricky bits of the trail.  Fortunately there are no massive climbs to worry about.
      You should have a much better idea of how your body is coping with the race by this stage. You may be able to push on a bit harder as you will be able to judge your energy levels and forecast what you need to do to get to the next CP.
       Just before Hadrians Wall you cross a busy road and have the option of turning sharp right ,  diverting to the pub and Cafe in Greenhead . ( you need to back track up the side road to rejoin the PW and cross the Golf Course. NO SHORTCUTTING!) The Start of Hadrians Wall is the last settlement area before Bellingham so if you need to stop and rest this is the best place.
       Once you leave the Wall you hit a succession of bogs which will leave you drained.
CP 5 onwards . Stock up with food at the Bellingham Co-op before the fast march to Byrness. (the Co op is about 1 Km past the CP so if you are short of food   and it,s approaching 9pm .you may have to re-stock before checking in . This is a massive pain but without  enough food for the last leg you could be in trouble)

   You will start a  long severe climb as soon as you pass the A68 at Byreness  At this point anyone with energy to spare will push on . If you have been moving in a group now is the time it could well break apart.  You should however bear in mind that The Cheviots are pretty much A wilderness area (You won,t see any buildings for the next 20 ish miles). This is like the run in of any previous ultra you may have done . Everything is on the line but there are no friendly Marshals to pick up the pieces if you get it wrong. Even if you are full of energy you can,t really relax. Make use of the Mountain Refuge Huts to fuel up . Stopping for 5mins could save you an hour later on .
          Once past the final big hill The Schill and you are home and dry. (Well dry ish possibly)

   Cold Weather Conditions        
         Ice  is mainly a problem on the down hills when you can loose control. (especially ice coated flagstones!) It is at it,s worst in the hours before dawn when you may be at your lowest ebb. (This is something you should take into consideration when deciding what time  to exit a CP.) You are usually moving on the flat or up hill for the first 2 hrs after a CP . Take a look at the gradients after each CP. It is no use heading out early if you may encounter steep  slippery ice descents  in the dark.
         2014 was warm and wet so we never encountered real cold and ice.
The state of the trail can vary enormously . Its not just a matter of temperature and snow fall.
         In 2012 I gather that sheet ice on the stone flags was a real problem for some of the race. ( What happened was the ground was  warm and wet before the start.  The  layer of water froze the night before the start leaving every stone coated in ice . For many the best way to run was on the half frozen bog alongside  the flagstones.)
         In 2013 the early weather was possibly colder but the ground had been dried by a cold east wind for several days so the flagstones were mostly ice free except where they crossed small streams. This made safe  progress without traction aides quite fast.
         Some of the most tricky ground was frozen mud on farmland that had been previously churned up by cattle. Each time your foot hit the ground it could be  twisted .
           If you do find yourself heading down hill on icy ground then run beside the flagstones. ( If the ice is severe enough to make the flags dangerous then it will be hard enough to freeze the surface layers of the bogs beside the flagstones
           Your best defence against a fall moving down hill with patchy ice is using a pole as an extra point of contact with the ground. DON't USE THE WRIST STRAP as if you fall you can create massive loads on your hand possibly breaking a thumb or wrist!

          This is a real problem on day one . There are several slabs bridging streams on day one and even if all the normal slabs are ice free you will find BLACK ICE FORMS ON THESE BRIDGES.


      The Cold Weather Bivi

      Reading reports of Spine Trainees Bivi experiences  has reminded me of what you need to think about.
      You need to be out of the wind and even better out of the rain.
       If you have never tried to bivi in true cold conditions you need to know what to do .
    Do not  assume that once you are in the bag you will instantly get warm.
  There are two forms of bivi: The emergency forced bivi and the planned bivi.
                Either way the aim of the bivi is to stay warm ,safe and dry.
   The first part of the operation is to set out the bivi bag and sleeping mat. If you have a thin foam/bubble wrap mat (Which you will regret!) you can put it inside the Bivi bag. Next put the sleeping bag and liner untwisted into the bivi bag. Thicker/blow up mats can be used outside the bag.
               Put your pack with food and Stove within reach of your bag opening.
     By now you will probably be cold. As soon as you stop moving your body will stop producing heat. If at this point  if you strip off any wet layers and get into your sleeping bag you will probably start to shiver. To get warm and stay warmer in your Bivi bag you need to be produce initial surplus body heat so it can be trapped by your sleeping system. The best way to do this is running on the spot or other vigorous physical exercise before you dive into your bag.
      If your body is chilled and you are not radiating heat then the inside of your bag will stay cold as your blood is diverted away from your skin to keep your core warm. True a good sleeping system will stop heat loss but its your body that provides the heat.  To help the production of heat eat some high energy food such as Chocolate or Kendal Mint Cake as soon as you are in the bag. A hot brew will also help and if you have a  fully water tight bottle then fill it with hot water and shift it around your body (Cold feet really like this!).  
      If the external temp is below zero its worth stowing a water bottle either inside your bag or insulated in your pack so you can brew up fast when you wake and not have to melt a block of ice.
     If possible try to elevate your feet to hold back the swelling.
     Your shoes may freeze solid while you sleep. These can be thawed out with your stove.
And yes I have had to do this on my first Spine!

      With an emergency Bivi situation you may not have the mental or physical capacity to go through the above . This is why its best to take action early before the real onset of Hypothermia. 
      If your body is not producing enough physical movement to produce more heat than you are losing through your clothing then you need help. Phone Spine HQ early for advise . Let other runners know of your situation and don,t be afraid of asking others for help.
As far as the race is concerned ,if you stop to help another runner in trouble you can consider your race clock to have been put on pause.
      If you just can,t go on then try to Bivi near the trail so you can get help from others. Use your Whistle  and torch to attract attention  The best way to warm someone up is to get into the bag with them  .(after first generating some surplus heat) A tent will always be warmer than just a Bivi bag.
      If you can,t get a phone signal then someone needs to get to a place where they can phone for help.
      Your GPS tracker (at least in 2014) works on the mobile phone network so if you can,t get a signal it is likely that Spine HQ won,t know Your exact position.
      Once a rescue is underway your GPS/Tracker co -ordinates should get the rescue team to within 100meters of your position. (This is still a big area to search in low viz at night). To help them find you faster attach a flashing LED to the handle of your running pole and stick the pole vertically in the ground at your Bivi. In my opinion this is the best use for flashing LED,s


       Apart  from the short lived dump of snow  on Cross Fell the 2014 Spine was fairly snow free. (The wet slush on day one hardly counts as real snow compared to 2013!)
        Snow conditions on the Pennines in january can be severe. If the temp is way below freezing and the air dry you could get driving spindrift. These are the conditions we encountered on Shunner fell in 2013.  Although the snow can be soft it may well drift preventing you from following flagstones if there are any. At times you may not see any trace of the trail at all and find yourself staggering along glued to the GPS screen and feeling for a sound footing with poles and  feet. At night flying snow can make accurate map and compass work almost impossible as you can,t even make up if you are climbing or descending. Working as a team with one of you on GPS and one with map and compass works best.
        If the snow is not actually falling you will be able to follow the tracks of other runners (Don,t assume they are going the right way . Always cross check and don,t stop navigating yourself!)
        Deep fresh snow with no trench of footprints to follow will drain your energy remarkably fast. Again it is best to tackle this as a team , rotating the front "trail breaking runner". You need to take it in turns .
        It gives me a smile to think that in the early stages of the race the Elite fast runners may well  be trail breaking for us plodders.

       Head Torch Issues

       In theory most of us think we have this sorted.
       Having  run in bad conditions of late I have put some thought into what I learn,t over the past four Spine Races.
        Firstly Power ---- Despite what you may have read in the latest edition of" Hello Magazine Goes Muddy Running" you don,t actually need 500 Lumen's to run in the dark.  I used LED LENSOR H7,s with a max power of 180 Lumen's and they were fine ( about £26 on line each , take 2).  Yes 500 lumen's is great when running full pelt along a rough technical trail and it is even better when running in a Park/Street with street lights which will destroy your night vision but the reality of the Spine is that you are moving slow and steady.
         If you are unfortunate enough to be in a situation involving a Helicopter on no account point 500 lumens at the pilots eyes!! 

        The Head Torch And Your Mental State
         Again you may think you know all  about this : The more light , the better the world feels.
         But it,s not that simple. 15 hrs of darkness is a long time and if you are on max power and wish to lift your spirits your only remaining option is to turn the power down. If however you are on minimum power and you feel like shit you can turn the power up . Its your ability to take control that will keep you moving. 
            Self empowerment is the way to cope with the dark hours which also brings me to the issue of being aware of your environment. I have talked before about how getting your head out of the GPS and using your map and senses to navigate can lift your mood. You may not have thought about it but if you use a bright torch, your reduced natural night vision won,t be able to see the surrounding hills outside your cone of light. In effect you are running in a narrow cocoon of light and your world has shrunk.  Some of the most magic times you can experience on the Spine are when the moon is bright and your torch is turned as low down as it will go. The feeling you get from this sort of special magic can get you easily through to dawn.

      The Head Torch And Fog.
       Again it may come as a surprise to some but you will often see better in fog if you turn it down. If the fog gets really thick then take the torch of your head and hold it low to the ground. This has two effects : 1 you get less  back fog reflection so the ground is better illuminated and you can see the edge of the trail better  and 2 the torch will cast shadows that help you make out details of the actual ground where you are about to tread. (With the torch beam near eye level you won,t see shadows cast by the beam.) 
      Carrying a head torch in your hand is worth experimenting with. You will no doubt have straps and cables  and battery packs to contend with. If possible work out a way of wrapping the whole thing around your wrist so you can point the beam and still carry things like poles if you need to.
     The Head Torch And Running In Company.
      If you really want to piss off a running partner then use a torch with far more power then them. If you run in front you will destroy their night vision so their lesser torch will be almost useless. If you run behind them they will be running into their own shadow and again be running blind.
      While I am on this subject I should also mention flashing LED dog tag/bike lights attached to the back of your pack . They are fine when running solo and especially on the short road sections but will have a devastating effect on the vision of anyone coming up behind you.( in company run at the back or turn them off.) If you have a flashing LED save it for emergency locator beacon use (see bivi  ideas)

     The State Of The Art Expensive Head Torch.
      Is only any good if it is charged up. At some point someone will disconnect your charger while you sleep at the CP so you have to have a spare battery pack. Just because your torch is the Dogs Bollocks it does not mean that you should not have a really good back up torch like the H7. Don,t be tempted to take that old Petzl  Tika just because you  have already  over spent  on a  Head torch.
  The torch issue is crucial for your race ,take no chances. I stash a third back up H7 in my drop bag!
      Battery life
       Most head torch run times are measured in ideal conditions at 20c.  You should expect less than half the burn time in Spine Conditions. My H7 is supposed to last 60hrs at min power. Experience has showed that 16 hrs is about the max time when continually adjusting light levels to my mood and trail conditions.

      Last Minute Nervous Retail Therapy!

      You will probably get to the stage at around new year where you feel the urge to spend your way to the finish line by upgrading your gear.
       Having an idea of how ultra runners think perhaps I can give some guidance on how not to buy the wrong things.
       Firstly if you have never run the Spine before I know you will still be fixated by trying to reduce your pack weight. You may well have bought a really sexy -17c extreme sleeping bag but then de-rated it by planning to use a thin layer of Bubble Wrap or the equally thin OMM Duo Mat that came with your pack. If there is one thing that will make a real difference in sub zero conditions it,s a decent 4 season sleeping mat. If you are not warm you won,t sleep.
 The options are:                                1 A min 12mm thick foam mat with foil on two faces.
                                                           2 A self inflating foam filled mat
                                                           3 A non inflating foil matrix filled mat that you blow up.
 Option one is cheep but bulky and not as warm as the other two.
 Option two is better , more expensive and less bulky.
 Option three (thermarest neoair type) is better still less bulky ,more expensive but a pain to blow up.
    I use option 3
         So if you have to spend then consider upgrading  your mat.

         Having survived The Spine four times  I am still not immune to the "make payment now button" and I have to confess that not having changed any of my 2014 Spine Kit I have bought one extra item.
 Kahtoola RNR 22 Running Snowshoes (around £150 from racing the planet).
         I  am now praying for heavy snow to justify them. I can say hand on heart that having them in 2013 I could have taken hour,s of my slog along the Cheviots.
          The Snow Shoes weigh around 1.3 kg and would have to be carried on my pack but to be frank if the forecast is bad for a particular leg it will be worth carrying them.
          For the best return on your money invest in hats. Your head is the biggest area of potential heat loss and on an exposed ridge this is made worse because the wind speed around your head will be much higher than around your lower body. A fresh warm ,dry hat in a bivi situation will go a long way to help warm you up.

       Pack Weight And Packing.

        I know you still don,t believe me when I say that trying to make your pack as light as possible on The Spine won,t help you. If you complete this race I guarantee that  some point,( probably around Middleton) you will find yourself changing your attitude to your pack . It will become your friend/parachute /life boat . You will leave the CP wondering if you could have stuffed any extra gear/food into it,s bloated form. If it feels to light you will worry. 
      Remember how you felt on being reunited with your drop bag on the last ultra you did? With 20 hrs to go before your next re-supply you have to carry all you can plus back up. 
      Looking back on 2014 I can say that if I had carried an extra 1 Kg of food and water out of every CP I  could have shaved at least 5hrs off my race finish time.

       Its not just the weight of your pack but also what you pack where.
       The basic rule is try to pack the heavy objects close in to your spine. This is not so easy as heavy objects tend to be hard and lumpy. What I discovered in 2013 is that if I packed my 1.2 Kg tent on the top or back of my pack it pulled my shoulder blades back . this was something I had never noticed in previous shorter races. My tent has long integral poles that prevent me closing the top of the pack if I put it inside. In 2014 I solved this problem by packing the tent inside and using a better system of waterproof stuff bags (I just accepted the inside of the pack would get damp).
      By using a front pack you will get a better pull angle across your shoulder blades and be able to carry more with less effort.
      Plan on how to sub pack each stuff bag .
 I use one bag for my bivi sleeping system . The down bag and liner are at the bottom of the bag so if it rains the gortex bivi bag and blow up map can be taken out first and set out before whipping out my down bag and shoving it into the bivi bag before it gets wet.

         Long objects such as roll mats should be strapped to the top of your pack. If you strap them cross wise to the base of the pack you will get jammed in the numerous narrow wall gates you have to negotiate.
        Take a long hard look at how you pack don,t just stuff!

      Falling!  ---- At some time you will take a hard fall. You will be heading down hill on icy slabs so it will happen. Probably the safest way to fall is onto your pack so think about where you pack breakable items. When we fall we tend to spread our fingers but this makes them more prone to breaking a finger. (your hand is stronger if your fingers stay together). Running poles can prevent a fall or lessen the impact so if it gets icy get a pole out. 

If any one knows of a good way to hang snowshoes on your pack I would love to know.

 That's it for now . This blog started as a race plan blog but I keep getting distracted and adding extras. At some point ,probably after the 2017 race I will re-edit the whole series  and make it more digestible.
 For now you will just have to put up with my dyslexic stream of musings.



  1. Well done Ian! A remarkable piece of work from one who has suffered (and learned!)

    Should be required reading for any 'first timers' on the spine, with learning points for those who have also suffered on the Spine Race.

  2. Thanks for this,great blog and very helpful; to first timers like myself. I spoke to he landlord at Lothersdale and he's looking forward to the spiners coming in. He seems to get a bad rep on Trip advisor but this seems to be because some walkers seem to take exception to the fact he'd like you to remove muddy boots (rack provided at the door) , which seem fair enough to me.

  3. Great stuff Ian. Looking forward to meeting you very soon.

  4. Another great blog, really helpful. Just another pointer - The landlord at the Crown in Horton (the pub at the end of the village where the route goes right through his car park) has put the event in his diary and when i was there a few weeks ago said that he would be happy to keep hot food options going through Sunday and Monday and even perhaps soup and chips overnight if there was going to be enough demand. This could be useful as the cafe is unlikely to be open after tea time and unless they have made arrangements is usually shut on a Monday too.

    1. Hi Julie. That,s great. I am all for keeping the locals on board and putting a bit of trade their way on what is a slack time of year.

  5. Thanks - really useful info in my preparation. Would be interested to know how you attach your poles to your pack. I can quickly stash my z-poles on a race vest but on a 32 OMM pack finding it difficult to reach back or find a way to attach them.

    1. Hi Zoyen. I have made a scabbard out of sink wast pipe. It is about 70 cm long with the top end belled out by heating (With an electric paint stripper) and stretching . The other end is heated and crimped shut. The whole thing is strapped to the back of the pack so you can feel the belled end by reaching back over one shoulder. The poles can be dropped into the tube full length then drawn out "Ninja Turtle Style" when you need them.
      It takes a bet of time to set up but works well.

    2. Blimey - sounds amazing! I've rigged up a horizontal bag at waist height on my side. Worked ok today for 20+ miles but it was very hilly and the poles stayed out a lot. So not the quick stash system you have there.