Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Black And Blue

I had it off - the day from work, that is and headed over the Bridge. The weather wasn't the kindest but could have been far worse. A nasty persistent drizzle was order of the day for about half the run - so that was 2 hours in the dry! And I followed through - stop it - with the Black Mountains plan. That is, I followed the race route for 90% but added an extra bit.

So at 10:30 I set off from the car (parked at Llanbedr) ran up the road and onto the hills towards Pen Cerrig-calc through Pen Allt-mawr and skirting Pen Twyn Glas. From there I dropped down into the valley by way of the Holy Trail. Miraculously I ran the perfect line over the top and round the tump to pick up the trail right at the top - bet your arse I don't do that in the race. No come race day, I'll be fannying around at the top no doubt.

Anyway, from the bottom of the valley I diverted from the race route to add on my extra miles. Instead of heading directly up to Pen y Gadair Fawr - and that is a bastard of a climb, no path just tussock after tussock - I ran up the valley and ascended back up to the ridge and Pen Trumau and Waun Fach. From Waun Fach it went a bit Peter Tong as I faffed around in the boggy grass on my way across to Pen y Gadair Fawr. Eventually I picked up the proper path - but even that it was a bit boggy.

Back on to the official race route, I took my time down off  P Gadair F to save myself for the final two climbs. So it was down to the valley and back up to a 'Pile of Stones' - that's from the map. Then along the ridge to Bal Mawr before picking up the narrow trail to the forest gate. Have to say that the path was getting a bit overrun by ferns and stuff but I fought my way through. Then it was down through the forest, past the 'Pile of Sheep Shit' - that wasn't marked on the map - over the road and up through the forest on the other side to final ridge. Up Crug Mawr. Down Crug Mawr. Past the 'donkey turd' - not marked either. Yada yada yada and back to the car.

It was a very good run and I completed in 3 hours and 56 minutes, covering just about twenty miles and a little over 5,000 feet of ascent. I'm pleased with that. I ran goodly portions of the ascents - not the really steep bits but a good amount of the rest.

And here's the route - but don't follow it on race day, unless you want to add an extra 4k