First and last attempt, 4 March

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vimchallenge
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First and last attempt, 4 March

Post by vimchallenge » 06 Mar 2016, 10:03

Completed the Challenge on Friday, starting at Heathrow T4 and ending in Amersham. I had to do it this way in order to make one of the early Olympia trains as my planning does not run to working out how to be in the area for one of the late ones! This was a completely solo effort even to the extent of getting to Heathrow, which I did the night before, spending a rather restless time on a hard bench. The (armed) police also check people waiting overnight in the terminal, and they hadn't heard of the Challenge.

Just before the 0502 arrived at T4 I had a disaster when I noticed an engineering works poster that told me a large section of the Piccadilly line would be out of service on 5 and 6 March. I checked my watch and was very depressed to see it was the 5th of March. How much of an idiot was I for attempting my challenge on a day of engineering work when completion wasn't possible! I decided to start anyway, but after a few minutes I realised that my watch hadn't adjusted for the leap year and that it was actually March 4th. Phew! The next few connections all went well and I found myself on a District line train up to Upminster. It was toward the end of this journey that I realised the train must be going slowly, even though it was not stopping between stations and there were no announcements. It was due in at 0728 but didn't arrive until 0737, by which time I had already seen the C2C train I was aiming for heading back the other way. Decided that I hate the District Line. I then spent several connections catching up and by the time I got to Hammersmith for the District Line to Richmond I was in time for the 10:07 when I was hoping for the 10:17. And then the 10:07 didn't appear at all! Did I mention that I hate the District Line? Still, the 10:17 arrived dead on time and I headed down to Richmond in time to get the train back straight away. Except that somehow it lost five minutes in that short journey and I just missed the return train. Did I mention that I really really hate the District Line!

The next few hours were more or less as expected, except that I really worked hard on the only bits I could control - the running parts. I thought I'd given myself a tough schedule on those timings, but it was the only way I could get the time back which I did. I'm doing marathons this year so it was all good training! So there's nothing really to report on those connections, other than the stress of keeping to time and trying to claw a few minutes back or get a few minutes in front. I should however mention that at 1612 there was some incident at Green Park and the station was evacuated and closed. The Piccadilly line train I was on therefore did not stop there, so I hope that doesn't invalidate my attempt - I would hope it would be similar to stations that are closed for engineering work? Anyway, arrived at Cockfosters to find a 384 bus right outside, which wasn't in my plan but does go to High Barnet. Turns out it does go right round the houses to get there, but I also needed some time to top up my mobile and register my new debit card (which of course I should have done before the Challenge!)

The main problem happened a few connections later when I was intending to go from Moorgate to Edgware. There was an announcement that someone had been taken ill on a train further south and that there would be no northbound trains for the foreseeable future. Disaster! When I worked in town and something similar happened I would have left the station and worked out some other route. However if I did this I certainly wouldn't be able to get to Old Street and Angel and thus fail the Challenge. So I waited. Eventually they turned round a southbound train at Moorgate and sent it back northbound. I took the train and continued the Challenge but I had lost quite a bit of time. departing 1922 maybe 15 minutes behind schedule and with fewer options for making up the time. I'd also become very stressed again. I was thinking things like "how ill is this person?" "couldn't they just take the person off the train" (etc) Not a very nice thing to think and not the sort of person I want to be. Anyway, I had a bit of luck at Edgware as I was able to sprint for a 79 bus that took me to Canons Park and the Jubilee Line was being efficient. Later the Bakerloo Line set me back a few minutes when the train terminated at Stonebridge Park instead of going to the Harrow and Wealdstone. Also when I got off at Kenton at the front of the train (which is where the exit is of course) it turns out the exit is closed and you have to go to the opposite end of the platform, over the temporary bridge and back to the front of the platform again. Then there's lots of stairs which my knees weren't very keen on by that stage! I cut some time from the remaining runs again, and a the remaining trains were kind to me.

One final vital piece of luck was coming back from Watford to find a Chesham train on the opposite platform. I had visions of it going just before the Watford train arrived, and the few seconds it took to arrive in the platform seemed so long! Nevertheless the train was there for me to catch, and it left just after. I have no idea if the driver held the train, or that connection is intended, but basically I would have failed if the train wasn't there. I then ended up completing at Amersham at 2356, for a time of 18 hours 54 minutes. As I said I did this solo, but I do have a note of every coach number I traveled in and departure times. I also swiped my Oyster card everywhere I could.

Incidentally getting back from Amersham wasn't much fun as the 00:20 back from there only went to Wembley Park, an area I'm not familiar with. I won't bore you with details but I had a bit more walking to do before I finally got home! I must confess that I didn't really enjoy the Challenge. It's just too stressful trying to keep to a schedule which you often can't though no fault of your own. To me a challenge is something that if you plan well, train hard and execute your plan properly you can achieve. However as you know, you can plan and train as much as you like but you can still fail. Plus I ended up with a raving hatred of the District Line and bad thoughts about someone ill on a train who might have been really ill. For those reasons I won't be doing the Challenge again.

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tractakid
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Re: First and last attempt, 4 March

Post by tractakid » 06 Mar 2016, 21:13

Congratulations on completing on your first attempt!
*insert boasting about notable tube accomplishments here*

Nigel
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Re: First and last attempt, 4 March

Post by Nigel » 07 Mar 2016, 08:10

Well done! If you let me have your name and time including seconds, I can add you to the top times list.

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Steeevooo
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Re: First and last attempt, 4 March

Post by Steeevooo » 07 Mar 2016, 09:23

Congratulations on completing the challenge - I can very well understand your frustrations that you describe. It is very frustrating when you've put in all the hard work and then things outside of your control let you down, but it is rather rare to have a pure challenge in any form where external factors don't come into play somewhere along the line!

As it hasn't been answered above, you're completely fine with your pass through of Green Park - if a station is temporarily closed then you are able to just pass through without stopping, so your attempt is very much valid. Welcome to the Tube Challenge Completion Club!

Cheshire Cat
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Re: First and last attempt, 4 March

Post by Cheshire Cat » 07 Mar 2016, 18:51

Well done! A word of warning, though. However determined you are not to do it again, somehow the urge to improve your time is irresistable!
Metrolink 91 stations 6:27:01
FNC: 18:48:00

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tubeguru
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Re: First and last attempt, 4 March

Post by tubeguru » 08 Mar 2016, 10:08

tractakid wrote:Congratulations on completing on your first attempt!
And congratulations on completing his last!
One thing only do I know, and that is that I know nothing - Socrates.

Champion of bugger all, 2004 to 2018
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tractakid
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Re: First and last attempt, 4 March

Post by tractakid » 08 Mar 2016, 11:05

I was just making the point that it takes some people several attempts to even get a completion. My first two attempts failed!
*insert boasting about notable tube accomplishments here*

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