What a fantastic event. It wasn't really a race. There was no start time and your time for completion wasn't recorded. If you wanted your time you had to record it yourself - obviously I recorded my time - not that it was a race. The official start of route 'A' - the long one - wot I did, weighing in at an official 43km, was 7:30. According to my gps it was nearer 45km and, for information purposes only, about 6,500ft of ascent. You were allowed to start any time after the official start time. I decided I should let a few get off ahead of me - so I could use them later as 'route fodder' and track them. This turned out to be a sound tactic. Although, there were points when a bit of ye olde map work was required. I haven't used a map for ages but it's a bit like riding a bike - you might be a bit dodgy to begin with but after you've guided yourself over the edge three or four times you soon get the hang of it again - only kidding - about the going over the edge not the getting the hang of it.
So off I set at 7:40 and took things very easy. I decided before the start that I would not allow myself to even attempt to run up any of the ascents, limiting running to the flat and downhill. Even so I felt 6 hours was a good target to aim for.
The weather threw everything at us. At the start the sun was threatening to make an appearance by the time we reached the first summit it was raining and blowing a gale. As I trekked across the ridge to the next summit, at points I was running on an angle to counter act the wind - just to stay up there. And was it every cold - my face started to go numb so I had to stop to get my hat out. Then, a few summits down the line, the sun was getting ready to make another appearance and that was pretty much the story of the day. Overall though, I think the conditions were pretty good - although I did hear one guy moaning that the weather was better last year!
I steadily overtook people through the hike. The highlight being a group of soldiers - as I slowly got nearer and nearer the racing adrenalin kicked in and I went flying past, within a mile they were out of sight. The next bit of needle came on the way to check point 6 (of ten). It was like this, there were these two blokes who had the same tactic as me - running on the flat and downhill but walking on the ascents. I ran a bit, they looked back, then ran a bit. It went on for a few miles but eventually the racing battle haze came down, as I turned to the 'darkside', and reeled them in and finished them off in the space of a mile. When I next looked back they were miles away - beaten men. I then returned to the 'lightside'.
At check point six, the marshal told me I was in sixth or seventh place - not that it's a race or anything. Over the final miles I picked off another two 'A' routers (that I know of) so I may well have finished in fourth or fifth - I repeat - not that it's a race.
I wasn't too pleased about having to go up 'Lord Hereford's Knob' on the way to check point seven though! That was bang out of order. Anyway, I just managed to scrape home under the six hour mark, with 5:58 but it required a lightening fast final descent - something that I didn't really want to do but I would have been disappointed to not get sub six - so I just had to go for it. I threw caution to the wind. One of those final places I gained was gained on that descent as I went screaming past - quite literally screaming - my quads were shot and I was getting out of control but I made it down safely.
After my disaster on Thursday this has put a spring back in my step - probably won't have that spring tomorrow but if I feel at all capable, I think I am going to head over to the Hogweed Trot 10k on Monday night. I hope I'm recovered. I've never been on my feet for six hours before so I'm not sure what the after tremors are going to be like. At the moment the pegs feel ok and for the most part I did hold the 'darkside' in check during the event so hopefully everything will be fine.
Thought for the day: Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement.