They are now, after the 17 miles and 5,300 feet of ascent that is the Black Mountains Fell Race. It was a warm, sunny day - which was a damn shame because it nullified my home advantage in the final British Champsionship Fell Race of the year. I was hoping for low cloud and hill fog because I know the route like the back of my hand while those from up north probably don't. Beggars can't be choosers though and to be fair the views from the tops were fantastic - and although racing, I'm so slow I get time to look.
Anyway, I set off in a very controlled manner. Last year I was out the blocks way too quick and paid from halfway. This year I wanted to have something left for the second half - and I did, although not quite enough to get me all the way to the finish but it was a much better paced race from me.
Once again, I cut my own path and hit the holy trail spot on, picking up close to ten places by the bottom - nice. I struggled on the ups. I just don't have the legs for it at the moment - which is not surprising as I've not done much hill work at all this year [read 'almost nothing']. Still, my race went well and it was only from the final summit that the batteries were showing low - but it's all down hill from there so I didn't grumble.
I finished in 83rd from a field of 200+ in a time of 3 hours and 7 minutes - 20 minutes quicker than last year. I'm pleased with that. With some hill/mountain work I could knock another ten off, easy. Next year I'll set the target at sub 3 hours - that would really be fell running.
It was good to see all my Calder Valley team mates not to mention the myriad of Chepstow Harriers. But now it's time to chill and get some grub down - well, more grub as I've already scoffed quite a bit but I've 2000+ calories to get through - yum.