Monday, 29 July 2013

July - 6 races in 4 weeks.

My previous 2 blog posts have dealt with my "year of classic fell races" up to the end of June. A day off gives me the opportunity to write about a July with lots of ups and downs.

Previous races...
10/3 - Ian Roberts memorial race - strong start, then fell apart at half way because ran a quick 5k the day before, finished 18th
16/3 - Middle Fell (from Wasdale) - Cancelled
24/3 - Edale Skyline (EC)- didn't get an entry, cancelled
30/3 Causey Pike - on holiday
6/4 Coledale Horseshoe (DFR) - on holiday
13/4 Silent Valley (BC)- on holiday
14/4 Cheviot Summit Race - shortened course, win
21/4 Guisborough Moors (DFR, NE) - winning then got lost.
27/4 Yorkshire 3 peaks race - 3:30, 34th place.
11/5 Fairfield Horseshoe 71st, 1:33:15,
18/5 Goat Fell 86th, 1:47:48,
19/5 Settle Hills (Intercounties) 40th, 54:06,
25/5 Jura, 55th, 4:29:47,
2/6 Yetholm (BC) DNS
8/6 Ennerdale 36th, 4:55:43,
15/6 Buckden Pike (EC), 61st, 36:50,
19/6 Langstrath 8th, 42:14,
23/6 Windy Gyle (NE) 4th, 1:04:08,

The 30th June was Cronkley Fell race, organised by my club, DFR. It featured in the NE champs and I was very keen to do well to keep my hopes of winning the NE chaps alive. Lee Bennet and Jonny Malley were both there, both of who had beaten me at Windy Gyle. I was well rested and confident I could win if things went well. I was drawn at the start line as to weather to go flat out and have a crack at the old course record which stands from 1998 (on a slightly shorter course) or race properly. In the end I decided to race properly, stick with whoever was leading and attack on the way back. All this went to pot when on the first climb I decided to up the tempo a little Jonny and Duncan Archer didn't come with me so I was on my own. Full beans all the way out, nearly 3 minutes lead at half way, realise I was nowhere near the course record and cruise back to take the most enjoyable win I have had. Lee Bennet had a fall and finished 5th making the NE chaps look very close with 2 races left. Thanks to Hangar 18 for the prizes.

A couple of days later and it was the Saltwell, another showdown with Jonny and Duncan. I was feeling fit again and went off full pelt from the start line intending to have a look at the CR splits on the way round and see if it was an option. By the top of the hill I had a good lead and was on the CR splits which I had worked out, thought after the first part of the descent I had lost ground to the CR but held my lead over Jonny, so dug in and held on to the brutal uphill finish. In the end a phew seconds slower than last year, probably to be expected a couple of days after Cronkley, but another win. 2 wins in 3 days!

A few days later and I found myself on the start line for the 31km, 1200m Chevy Chase. It was a brutally hot day but the route is considered a NE classic so I was looking forward to it. I raced with the leading bunch till the climb to the top of Cheviot, where I lost a minute. Everyone turned left at the top except Phil Sanderson, who went sort of straight on, which seemed an odd choice considering he had done the race a few times before. Nobody said anything as this seemed to be the convention that Phil had set up when he sat at the back of the pack of clueless front runners and let us all miss various junctions before he took the turn and we all corrected ourselves. I guess that's racing, not the normal way a fell race is run, but that was how it was. Phil eventually finished 25th, I think he injured himself on the way back. Hopefully not something serious. I got back with Simon Johnson and Charles Hutchinson on the descent, briefly led the way then Charles pulled away on the next climb, had a few minutes at the top and I never saw him again. I was in a decent 2nd place and figured with a mostly downhil, second half I could hold on. Not so. I blew up badly, got a bit lost because of some dreadful mapping on the OS map, (fences not shown, farm land not distinguished from open fell) Bruce Crombie called me back - great stuff Bruce, thanks. I lost a few more places and finished 6th. No regrets, I came to win, but didn't have it in me. Perhaps next year? As a side note I have really enjoyed having some battles with Bruce (in his road shoes) this year, Cheviot Hill Race, Windy Gyle and Chevy, 2 flat out sprint finishes and some cooperative suffering at Chevy all run in a great spirit with hand shakes afterwards. He even lent me a quid for the crap map which got me lost.

I had planned to run Skiddaw just for the experience, I felt good waking up after the Chevy so drove over to Keswick. Got to the top in just under an hour, got to the bottom in a little over half an hour. Not much else to say, it was hot.

Wasdale was next, the beast. I was determined I wasn't going to blow up 3 hours in like I had done on Jura and Ennerdale, so I set off at the back. Took a detour to bag a Wainwright I hadn't done (Illgill head) which only cost me 3 minutes, but took an hour to catch up with the guys I had been with. Made the first cut off by 9 minutes (few), made the second cut off by over 20 minutes, safe now! Took a bag full of places on every climb, took it steady else where and felt strong all the way to the final descent. Lovely race, I don't know what all the fuss is about! It was bloody hot though and only 192 people finished out of a start list of nearly 400.

This saturday was the Blisco Dash, my first British Champs race, I wanted to climb well, have a solid descent and see where I finished. It was a roasting hot day, I felt good on the climb, only lost a few places on the descent and gained back a big handfull of places with a short cut just before the road, worth the last minute reccy! Still just outside the points, in 73rd, but the field was very strong and it was too short to play to my strengths. Next year for some points???

Season so far is 18 races, 3 wins, 3 AL's (too fast on 2, too slow on 1), got properly lost once, 1 fourth and 1 win in the NE champs. Still to come is perhaps 13 more races. A few people have asked me how much I am training at the moment, the answer is really not much. 1 or 2 runs a week in between races and one or 2 bike rides, mostly just over an hour for the runs, and not much hill work. I want to avoid injury first and foremost this year and I seem to be getting fitter during the year without much training, so can't see any reason to change!

30/6 Cronkley (NE) 1st 1:20.54,
2/7 Saltwell Harriers (DFR) 1st, 41.58,
6/7 Chevy Chase 6th, 3:22.39,
7/7 Skiddaw 36th, 1:33.16
9/7 Stoodley Pike - too far to drive, silly idea.
13/7 Wasdale (EC) 102nd, 5:45.05
20/7 Snowdon - decided to take part in a video shoot for Hangar 18 rather than race Snowdon.
27/7 Blisco Dash (BC, EC) 73rd, 44.13. No results yet.

Planned upcoming races
3/8 Borrowdale - can't run (family stuff)
10/8 Turner Landscape (EC)
24/8 Burnsall Classic or Weasdale Horseshoe (DFR)
25/8 Grasmere Guides Race
27/8 Kilnsey Show
7/9 Grisedale Horseshoe
11/9 Roseberry Topping (DFR)
14/9 Peris Horseshoe (BC)
21/9 Scafell Pike or Simonside (NE)
28-29/9 RAB Mountain Marathon (DFR)
12/10 Langdale Horseshoe (entered a cycling event on same day)
13/10 Pentland Skyline
20/10 Fell Relays (not sure I will get a team together for this)
26/10 Meall a'Bhuachaille
10/11 Clay Bank West (NE)
1/12 Angus Tait Memorial Hexhamshire Hobble (DFR)
Leading out at Cronkley Fell

Descending on the way out at Cronkley

Descending on the way back at Cronkley

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