Saturday, January 13, 2007
Well, I awoke this morning with both apprehension and excitement. This was to be my first fell race and I was looking forward to it. Partook of, what is fast becoming my race day ritual, a nice big bowl of super race fuel - ready brek (how sad is that!).
I was itching to get there and race but I wasn't quite sure how long it would take. Consequently I may have left a little on the early side - I was the first one on the scene. I wasn't sure if I was at the right place but shortly a few more cars turned and I knew it was race on.
The weather was a bit naff. As you can see from the pic, dull, drizzly and windy, especially on the top, of which you can see the peak we ran to (obviously you can't see the wind but it was there, I tells ye). Anyway, did a bit of a warm up and prepared for the off. At 2pm sharp, the crack of the starters gun echoed down the valley and we were off - there wasn't really a starters gun more of a 'wave of the small yellow flag' but that doesn't sound as good.
So that was it, off to the peak and back. This was a short race, only about 2 miles but it was pretty tough all the same. It was tremendously steep. So much so that after the initial run it turned into a sort of get yourself up there as quick as you could be any means. Suffice to say it was the old hands on quads method. Which worked quite well. The wind at the top was strong, almost blowing us off the hill.
Incredibly, I got to the top in eighth place! Then came the insane bit - the downhill. I have to admit I was quite scared at points coming down. You have to be brave and kind of just fall. I couldn't see much through my glasses in the rain and just had to hope I found good footing. During the next few minutes I had more than a few brown trouser moments I can tell you. One person came past towards the bottom of the decent but that still left my in the top ten. I think I did OK coming down. On the final run in I gave it my usual sprint finish to pick up that place I lost to finish in eighth place. I was both stunned and chuffed to bits. I have to say I think I held my own on my very first foray into the wonderful world of fell running. And you know, I think I like it!
I have to say though, it was both scary and exhilarating. I thinks it safe to say I shall be doing a few more of these insane fell races.
It was also a good day for Bristol and West as we placed three in the top ten. That's right boys, the BW brigade is back in town and we're kicking ass! Patrick Woodisse was fourth and Helen Fines was tenth and winner of the women's race (and well on the way towards a series win). Now there may be a few that noticed that I finished ahead of Helen for the first time ever. However, I'm officially scratching the result from the record books on account that she had a bad cold (and I have the gloves to prove it!). Therefore, I decline to claim a first victory over her under those conditions. But you know what? when she's fully recovered I still recon there's a chance....