THE BACKYARD MARATHON CHALLENGE
by John Ghent
The breeding season is upon us and I can safely say I am never pairing up that early again! I've actually stopped breeding and will have re-paired by the time this article goes live but the cold, the damp, the dark, it's just not worth it for a full-time worker! I must give a massive thanks to Jim Emerton, Chris Booth, Nic Harvey and Alan Baker for their help in the last 3-4 months on my journey towards Everest. Without their advice and assistance I would not be in the position I now am with the first young birds being weaned ready for the long and winding road that lay ahead.
For something a little different I decided to ask Jim if he would put together a little piece for this Backyard article.I asked him what he thought the challenge of racing into a 20 foot yard in the middle of Leicester would hold, and here is what Jim had to say.
"The degree of difficulty of Barcelona International to your loft is a severe test of around 900 flying miles. Very few birds can do it; it will take from 3 to 8 days. Your patience, endurance levels, sleep pattern and resolve will be tested. How will it impact your lifestyle? However it can be done. My system of approach for starting up would be:- Year 1, all young birds to the coast and on open loft. Year 2, all yearlings to 450 miles in BBC/BICC. Year 3, 2 year olds to 500-600 miles. Year 4, all remaining birds up to 400-500 miles, then rested 3 to 4 weeks before all in at Barcelona International in the BICC to win my famous trophy! Fame as a racing man awaits you, not just as a clever journalist or admin man. You can be the complete fancier but your dedication will be tested to the limit."
My birds enjoying the open loft system, resting on the derelict church over the road from me!
So as you can see it is a fairly simple strategy to accomplish a very difficult task. Fortunately the support network that I have developed is very strong and will lend help whenever I call! Nic knows if I am ringing then I am unsure of something and it is brilliant to have someone at the end of the phone that got 5 from Barcelona in 2012 and flys the same system/similar system to me.
The young birds that are weaned already have really settled on the open hole method and I hope to add a good 30-40 to them in the coming 8 weeks to give me a chance at having 20 yearlings plus ready for next season. How daft does that sound, talking about 2014 already? Well failing to plan is planning to fail as far as I am concerned. To have an end goal is very important in my line of work as it is to be a successful fancier so there will be no guesswork, no quick decisions, no stone will be left unturned! Two months and counting to the first season back in the game. I can't wait - it can't come fast enough!
83, Newport Street