Sunday, 29 December 2013

Festive Disorientation 2013

Dez in pre-race mode
So, last race of the year. As ever it is the rather fantastic Festive Disorientation, run by local Leg-End Dez. This year we started from the Grouse up on Chunal, so the route was going to be a bit on the Bleaklow side and a bit on the Chunal/Rowath/Coombs edge side. Some of it would be paths, and the rest of it would be open moorland.
But all in what is effectively our back garden.

Thinking about route options
Buoyed up somewhat by coming 2nd in the Glossopdale Fell Champs this year, I was eager to get out and run as well as I could. I say that now, but at 9am this morning, I was well and truely stuck into revision for next weeks exams and I was in 2 minds whether to do it or not.

From the Grouse it was a simple choice of Clockwise or Anti-Clock. A brief glance at the map showed that going anti-clock would have a long run down Turfpits, where as Clock would have a long run UP it.
Considering that I'm not as good going up hills, I thought that I might as well get the practice in, and when Dez told our lot to go, off I shot.

Caught up with the group of people that set off 2 mins in front of me, some of which seemed to be having a bit of trouble finding the first checkpoint. I made the decision to take the path around the hill instead of pounding over the hill on access land as it would make homing in on the Checkpoint a lot easier. Slightly longer than optimal, but I hit the point bang on and was off before
anyone else had seen where I had got to.

The next group, who set off 4 mins before me were now in sight, and I caught up with them as we crested the top of Coombs tor and hit the next checkpoint. I felt like I was flying. Really enjoying the run. The day was bright, a slight breeze, and we were about to tank off down the nab, which is a fabulous descent.
The next checkpoint wasn't in the most obvious place, but the route was already in my head.

One used and one non used map
Which is where I made the least optimal route choice of the day. I followed my nose, knowing exactly where I was going. Had I stopped to look at the map- (not so easy when pounding down a hill), I would have noticed another path, which would have taken about 700metres off my version. Ach, dammit. Nevermind.
The point was got easily enough, and I set off over to Derbyshire level via a small Blackberry picking cut that I know from helping Lynne with her inordinately large Blackberry harvesting projects.

As I came up to the turning up Turfpits I passed Ian and Paul, who had chosen to go Anti-clockwise, so they had just come down the longest descent of the day. I hung a right and began my ascent.
Never stop running, never stop grinding it out. Just keep going.
By now there were no more runners in front of me that I could think of, so only people that were chasing me. Turfpits is long and straight, so if anyone was in sight of me they would have had something to chase. Me.

Coming in to the end. Don't stop til the clock stops
The only option.
Don't stop.

Hit the top of the path, got the checkpoint, no rest though, straight on up the bog to the Pennine way, a right, straight to Mill Hill and then down to Harry Hut. The final part of the run coming up, and a glance to my right showed someone thrashing across the moor. Well. Definitely not first then, but if I increase the speed a little, maybe I can hold him off just until the end. A little bit of pride left.

Motoring down the hill to the gate, and just hit the top of the spot height perfectly. I took a line that I saw Andy Oliver take on an evening run a few weeks back, and surprised myself by hitting the path about 4 metres in front of another runner who had appeared out of nowhere. Another person to beat to the end.

Ian and Paul coming in at the end. 
Down the hill, over a stile and a final sprint up the road to the Grouse. A lung burner, thats for sure, but I managed to keep running for as much as the race as I could. Maybe the hills weren't quite as fast as I wanted them to be, but I didn't stop. Some progress then?
Now the worst part. Waiting for others to come in. As a handicap event, you're never quite sure until the other fast guys come in whether or not you've managed to pip them or not.

As it was, I had held on to 3rd, a minute behind Nic Barber (whose GPS track was a km shorter than mine), and 6 mins behind the guy who won. (who was from Calder Valley- but I can't remember his name).
So my first ever race in which I came in the top 3.

Most difficult part of the day - choosing which alcoholic beverage to pick
That'll do for the end of the year.
Now back to the revision.

Thanks to Dez for a great race, and to the Grouse for putting on some fantastic grub for post race racees. Also Well Done to Lindsay for coming in 1st Female on the Short Score, and Beryl for winning the WV65.
Glossopdale Harriers results are up on our website

Thursday, 19 December 2013

2013's Gear of the Year

Before everyone gets stuck into the year reviews and stuff that they've done, and stuff they want to do next year because they haven't got around to doing it this year, along with familiar excuses, I thought I'd just do a quick run down of gear that I've found incredibly good to use in the hills this year, and if you don't have them, these are the gems that I'd certainly suggest looking at.

Gloves- Montane Extreme Mitts
Warm hands? While walking in the cold? I didn't think that was a possibility for me, but these mitts just keep doing the business. In the snow, in the rain, in crazy high winds, at night, where ever. These are the best Gloves I own.
Not only do they keep my hands warm, but if I take them off to do something fiddly, and freeze my fingers, they actually enable my hands to warm up again.

Top - Mountain Equipment Ultratherm
I've raved about this before. I will do so again. Pertex outer (DWR- water resistant), fleece backed inner. Zip away helmet compatible and head compatible hood that has all the excellence that you'd expect from a ME hood (I reckon they are the best on the market). Stretchy under-arm panels. Its all I ever wanted from a Rab Vapourize and more. I run in it, I walk in it, it's getting battered, and I suspect will be even more battered by the end of next year. At least 4 other people have bought one because of that review, and they all have as big a smile as I do about it.

Shoes - Inov8 x-talon 212 - new style
Different widths on the 212's
Ok, so I haven't actually reviewed this one officially yet. Allegedly they are nearly exactly the same as the original model. I am really not so sure. The forefoot is definitely thinner by about a centimetre. To me, thats not an issue as it means I simply wear thinner socks and I still get the same slipper-like fit of the old shoes. If you have wider feet- you might encounter some problems with the new streamlined shape. (then again you might not).
Same confidence inspiring grip. Same gloriously comfortable fit. Crazy new colour scheme. Same expensive price.
Love these shoes, and if you ever find a pair in size 7 in a sale, tell me.

Waterproof trousers - Montane Superflys
Yes, yes, I haven't talked about or reviewed these either, mainly because they only get pulled on when I'm wearing trousers- which only ever really happens in town. No, they aren't as light as other waterproof trousers, but they are bombproof. They also have solid zips which zip up and down when you want them to and don't get stuck.
Was out in miserable heavy crap weather yesterday for 3 hours. The arcteryx jacket I was wearing let in water. The Montane Superfly pants - none. Best eVent trousers I've ever owned, and best carryable ones as well. (heavy duty bib-waterproof trousers would come under a different category).

Light - Silva runner
I thought this would be "just another light". It's a revelation of lightness in weight and lightness of lumens. Revolutionised my downhill running at night - on full beam mode its almost like cheating. Crazy expensive. Crazy light. Rechargable. Worth it for night training, night running, and generally lighting up the dark.

Rucksack - OMM Adventure Light 20
A shocking pose. But a great sack.
I got this for Christmas last year. I've used if for races, recces, holidays, commutes, walks, runs, on a bike, through all seasons. It is solid on the back, has pockets in the right places and compression elastic that has
enough clippy bits to make it stay on in the right places. Quite simply the best and most useful all round sack that I think I have ever owned - and I own a LOT of sacks. It's put the Jirishenca out of a job - which I really didn't expect!

Other notable things that ALWAYS seem to end up getting used.
OMM cypher smock - it gets taken pretty much everywhere that I run. Showing signs of age with a couple of holes here and there, but it is a great bit of kit. The hood is so good that it nigh on rivals an ME hood for construction and fit.

Inov8 caps: I own 3 of them. Despite my (apparently) remarkably small head, they do a great job of not getting blown off it.

Buffs- I go through these at a rate of knots. Ridiculously versatile. If you don't own one, go and buy at least 2.

Suunto Ambit. It's still going and goes out with me on every single run and walk.

Arctery'x Atom SV. A few years old. Still warm. Still water resistant. Still looks excellent despite being used on and off the hill for a remarkable number of occasions. It is probably my most used jacket.

There you go. Some of the best stuff out there at the moment. Just because its not on the list doesn't mean it isn't good- it may just mean I haven't got around to buying and using it yet. There looks to be some good stuff on the horizon for next year as well. Inov8, OMM, Haglofs, Montane and a number of other manufacturers all seem to have been pulling out the stops to bring out new gear.
More money to be spent... but will it be worth the spend? I think next year will be a year for really scrutinizing stuff before getting committing the cash.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Scarpa Charmoz - Destroyed (again?!)

I've had two pairs of Scarpa Charmoz. I needed a B2 boot for Ice climbing, knocking around in the UK, summer alpine trips, and, more recently, for bashing up local hills for Mountain rescue callouts.

The first pair got used in Ryukan for a week, teetering up a few low grade ice falls, and then during the next year I noticed that my right foot was getting wet- just on the toe area. Not so good. A pretty much brand new boot, that I really didn't wear very much, leaking already. I hadn't had a wet foot in a boot for years.

The offending boots- let in as much water as Fell shoes.
So I sent them back, and the Mountain Boot Company- Scarpa's representative in the UK sent me another pair. Which was very nice of them.
To be honest, the new ones really haven't had all that much use either. If I'm out and about on the hill I tend to use fell shoes. My workhorse boots for MR are a pair of Scarpa ZG10's, with the Charmoz only really coming out when I need to have a C2 crampon on (really, not very often), or when the ZG10's aren't dry enough to wear on a shout.

I used them in the Alps for the summer- just a week of knocking around in Bettmeyeralp and Grindlewald, (during which time I mostly wore fell shoes, or a pair of sandals), they've been up on Kinder and Bleaklow a few times, and I recently noticed that my right foot was getting wet.
Nothing too alarming about that, as I was getting a wet left foot as well- I put it down to the fact that I probably sweat quite a lot in my boots.
Charmoz and ZG10s- which are battered, but watertight. 

Out in Wales in August, I was wandering around doing some nav practice, and ended up with a very wet foot. Could have been down to the bog trotting, but I was wearing gaiters... and someone else I was with was wearing a pair of Scarpa Cristallos - which apparently have the same Goretex inner as the Charmoz. Is it just me sweating a lot then?

On Sunday I wore them for the first time in about 3 months for a recce up onto Kinder. My feet were fine, until I crossed a river, and the right foot, on the little toe, felt damp. Then cold. Then wet. The left foot was fine, and this continued all the way through the rest of the walk. Bummer. Left foot fine, Right foot cold and wet. Certainly not sweat, but from ingress of water.
That's the second pair of Charmoz that have been knackered. In the same place as well. Having spoken to a couple of others who have Cristallos, they don't seem to have had any problems at all - but the one other person that I know to have had Charmoz's has had leaking issues too. Same Goretex liner? Could it be something to do with the outer? I can't believe the problem is with how I walk. Can it?

I know all about keeping them clean, and making sure that dirt doesn't get ingrained into the goretex, especially under the laces and near the tongue folds, and correct care of the boots, so its not that. The fact that it's only one of the boots points to an issue with that particular goretex inner... can't believe its the same foot.

Old School Scarpa. Still waterproof - but not a lot of grip. 
I know I'm out of warranty, but the Mountain Boot Company have asked me to send them back to see if they can shed any light on the matter. I don't hold much hope, but I don't think I'll be buying another pair of Charmoz again.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Gloves I've been wearing - 2013-14

Seeing as the glove page from a couple of years ago has been visited a fair few times in the past month, I looked through my glove drawer and thought that it could do with a little updating.

I still have a few of the gloves that I wore back then - though they are looking a little battered now, and not a whole load of new ones. I have, however, got rid of a few that just didn't work for me. (and lost a pair... they're probably at the bottom of a bag, or something).

What do I still own and use?

Mountain Equipment Mountain Stretch

Since it has got colder, the most regular gloves in use have been the Mountain Equipment Mountain Stretch gloves - fluffy on the inside, schoeller fabric on the outside, generally great to use, and perfect for me on a run. Walking-wise, just not warm enough for me. I don't produce enough heat at a lower level of activity to get any blood to my fingers, so they
basically freeze. I wore these gloves on the Full Tour of Pendle and didn't take them off the whole time. They're great if you run and get really cold hands.

But what if you walk and get really cold hands? Which is what happens on an MR callout. You need to have warm hands, be dexterous and not loose your gloves, which is quite a challenge.
I have to confess that I have gone from gloves to mitts. Not a "cool" thing to do, but it has saved my fingers many times, and I have a couple of pairs that go out with me on every callout. The advantage being that I have warm hands, and even when I take the mitt off to do things that require dexterity, and my hand gets freezing cold, as soon as the mitt goes on, the heat of my hand and fingers together heats up the space in the mitt and the whole hand heats up to a point where I don't need to worry about it any more.

So which mitts am I using?

Montane Extreme Mitts

These mitts are based on the original soft shell principle- a bit like the Mountain equipment gloves above, but in a mitt format. Water resistant- but certainly not waterproof - on the outside, and warm cosy fleece on the inside. The wrist is done up with a velcro strap that is long enough to strap the glove to your wrist should your hands actually get TOO hot and you need to take them off. (this actually happened to me the other day, I was astonished to be walking across Bleaklow with barehands - heat emenating from them like 60w lightbulbs - a completely new experience!
When your hands get too hot - the velcro volumiser can be used to strap the mitt to the back of your hand. Good when you need dexterity and don't want to lose the mitt.
These are my go-to mitts on a day to day basis on the hill. Comfortable, warm, not bad when wet, and if really necessary, there is plenty of space in the hand portion for a hand warmer as well.
Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant.

Montane Resolute mitts

Again, a montane mitt - with the same kind of inner - based on the softshell idea, but with an eVent shell that you can put over the top to be completely waterproof. (until the rain drips down your arm and into the hole
where your arm goes...) but yes, again, a warm, waterproof mitt, with 2 layers.
It is a bit of a faff getting them on and off as the outer layer has a habit of coming off separately to the inner layer, so I suppose its a bit like putting on 2 gloves at the same time, but for dry (ish) hands, that really isn't a problem.
I have also used the outer waterproof layer as a waterproof cover for some of my thinner gloves earlier in the year, which was quite successful. If it isn't cold, but I need gloves on, once they get wet they are worse than useless. Once I put on a hardshell outer, though, protection from the wind and the rain is there, and my hands stay toasty warm.
Much more expensive than the Extreme mitts, and made for worse conditions. For my money though, the Extremes see a lot more action.

Sealskinz Lobster mitts

Looking a bit the worse for wear now... 5 years on. 
Yes, I still have these. They are still brilliant, though I fear their insulative properties at the ends of the fingers are wearing out. The grip certainly is. I think this might be the final season for these beasts, but they have
served me very well. Once the weather gets colder they will be making more and more appearances until they just fall off my hands from overuse.
Once that happens, I will either buy another pair, or, I have spied some of the same kind of thing made by Craft. Whether or not they are as good is another matter, but I might try and get hold of a pair of them instead. They aren't primaloft filled... so may not be as warm.

Dynafit X4 Performance gloves

I bought these in Switzerland. Dynafit say that they are a summer glove - I think they are more of a changing season glove... One of those purchases where later you think... what? Proper bright lycra with an excellent
storm jacket thing in the wrist pouch. I've used these a couple of times, but not enough to give a decent verdict. This winter might prove too cold for them, but I suspect that when we get to spring they are going to come into their own.

Extremeties Sticky Thickies

Yup - being slowly eroded away...
My original sticky thickies have really started wearing out - so much so that I think that on some of the
The new sticky thickies
fingers there is more hand stitching by me than actual glove. I wear them all the time in summer when I'm running. (not because of the cold, but I'd rather trash a pair of gloves than the skin on my hands... it'd mean I wouldn't be able to work for a few weeks if I fell over - which I do more or less every time I run). So I bit the bullet and bought a new pair of Sticky Thickies. They are great. Slightly different grip pattern, and slightly tighter than the old pair - but I'd put that down to the old ones being stretched and worn out a ridiculous amount. Still great, but still not warm enough for me in the winter...  For me they are a summer, or at the most, a mild weather glove - if I'm out in them for any length of time at the moment, I might as well not be wearing anything on my hands in terms of

Gloves I have got rid of

Rab Baltoro gloves- I just didn't find them warm enough. My fingers just froze in them as soon as we left the house.
Sealskinz Activity gloves - again, although they are ok, I don't need a glove that is waterproof and doesn't keep my hands warm. To me, pointless.
Sealzkinz Primaloft filled activity gloves - yes they have primaloft around the hand, but not really around the fingers - where I really feel the cold. Walking in them was like any other glove - my fingers just froze.
Rab Phantom Grip Gloves - I haven't intentionally got rid of these, I just can't find them anywhere.

MDOC Urban series Glossop Winter 2013

What better way to spend a Thursday evening than running around Glossop writing random numbers on a bit of paper and falling over in a load of mud?

Having done an MDOC event over in Rowath a couple of years ago, it was good to learn that they were bringing their Urban series to Glossop this winter. Hopefully with a home advantage, I might be quite good.
It didn't exactly go according to plan, though I had an excellent time. Which is half the battle really.

Lynne and I moseyed on down to the Smithy Fold Wetherspoons (event centre) to register and pick up our control cards. As with most urban events, the controls were things like lamp posts, fire hydrants, substations and post boxes, all of which have unique identifying numbers on them. The control card was a list of these features with some of the numbers written down, all we had to do was complete the numbers.

The day had already included an early morning run, and a speed session, so I wasn't expecting to be entirely competitive in terms of speed, but I wondered about my route finding, and had an idea in my head that I would probably end up just running around the areas I knew well, rather than taking a cunning and well thought out plan and executing it in good style.
This proved to be what happened.

Starting from Norfolk square, I got my map, took a fairly cursory look at it, got confused, and ran off in a panic to get a checkpoint - any checkpoint. Looking back at the map now, I realise it would have been much more cunning to go in a different direction, but it is always difficult to hold back that sense of "I MUST START RUNNING". And off I went.

Most of my nav was pretty good, and everything that I was aiming for I got. My handwriting, at speed, in the dark, with a pencil, on a scoresheet that I fell over on and ended up covered (and I mean, totally and utterly plastered) with mud, slightly let me down.

I ended up getting 30 checkpoints, which, if all of my answers had been a)legible and b)correct would have got me a score of 1170 and somewhere around 6th overall.
My final score was 960, so a good few of the answers I put down were not, technically, correct. After the event I have sat down and looked at my route, making minor adjustments here and there, the main one at the end, which would have gained me an extra 20 points. This would have done nothing in my standings, and as a load of my answers were wrong anyway, its fairly academic.

The guys that came in the top 5 all had about 200 or 300 more points than I (would have) got, which is mind boggling. It is definitely a tactical thing, and I wonder if their tactic is just to ensure they hit every single high pointer on the entire map, and if they happen to get some other points on the way, so be it.

An excellent night out, including the rather spectacular spill I had over need Shire hill. Despite it being an urban event, I was wearing trail shoes, and was determined to get some muddy paths in. I did so, and ended up pretty much covered in mud. Well, it had to be done really.
A great event, with a good few lessons about navigating, intelligent route finding and thinking about how long I was sometimes running without actually dibbing a checkpoint... maybe that's a key as well....? (any tips Nic?)

Well done to Charlie for coming in the highest of the Glossopdalers, followed by Neil, Caity, then me, Lynne, John S and Lindsay. And well done to Lynne for getting the highest score on the handicap as well!
The Map is a tad muddy... sorry. and the order of Checks visited is on the right. 

Wednesday, 4 December 2013


As Woatt 1 has been up for a couple of weeks now, I've had a suggestion for a second one. Rather than put up the route originally planned, I've gone with Nevs idea.

Its pretty simple.
Start at Glossop crossroads.
Visit Cock Hill trig, Higher shelf trig and Harry Hut trig as fast as you can. Get back to the crossroads and stop the clock.
In December, and if you know where it is, you can also take in the Glossopdale Goodie Box.
(If you don't know where it is, let me know and I'll send you the clue).

I haven't thought of a Road TT yet, and as only one person has done the first one, I might wait until some more people get out to put up some times before I write up another route.

If you want to take part, let me know if you have done either Woatt 1 or 2, the time taken, route taken, and maybe a GPS route.
Time isn't the most important thing here... if you send me a GPS trail with the correct points visited, and also your name written in the track somewhere... that gets you PROPER kudos.

Have fun out there.

Nev did this Woatt as a walk a couple of days ago, Anti-Clock, 11.63m and 2033ft ascent. No time as he was bimbling around eating chocolate. No GPS track either.

I went out and did this today, Clockwise, not visiting the goodie box- else it'll show up on the GPS track. It's crazy slippy on the bridges on Cockhill, and the slabs on the PW aren't much better.
Felt a bit slow and draggy. 21.8km, 615m ascent. 2 hours. (I kind of cheated and went from home rather than the crossroads, but it's close enough). GPS trail HERE

Inov8 Mudclaw 300 - review

Now thats YELLOW 
NOTE - I've now destroyed these shoes... the update is HERE

How many incarnations of the Mudclaw have we had? I have no idea, but have worn more than a few blisters and destroyed feet in the past. However, the new Yellow 300's and the Red 265's have burst onto the scene and look pretty damn good. They've been around for a year or so, and are very obvious on the race scene as there are so bright despite the best efforts of the mud and bog to diminish their insane brightness.

I tried to be co-ordinated
Having seen them about, I waited until my current 333's were on their last legs before going to Pete Blands to try a pair on, and get them on my feet. After running around Bleaklow one winter in Roclites, I went over to the Mudclaws simply for the grip in such muddy and slippy conditions. I have used the old white ones with the offset laces, which gave pretty much everyone who ever wore them HUGE blisters and cut up feet, then the 330's which I mangled into oblivion, and most recently the 333's which have been pretty good, though the uppers were the weak link in this shoe. (I don't appear to have published a blog on those yet... my apologies, I shall sort that out presently) This appears to have been fixed in the 300's.

First impression of the 300's (other than the incredible yellowness) is that the fore-foot seems a lot wider than any other mudclaw I have ever worn. I always take size 7 in inov8 and this is no exception, though there just seems to be more space. The nice thing about this shoe is that extra room in the toe box. It put me off to begin with simply because I hadn't got the
sock/shoe ratio quite right. Perhaps thats the most important point about getting fit right.
Soles looking pretty good
My first run in them was somewhat plagued by my feet slipping around within the shoe as I contoured, but up and downhill was fine. The grip was confidence inspiring, as ever.
I changed the sock configuration around for the races that I have been in, either wearing thicker socks, or doubling up with a thin pair and a thick pair, and bang, not a problem. No slippage inside the shoe, no problems, just good solid grip right the way around.

The soles are proper Mudclaw soles. Fantastic grip in the mud, on grass, and around all kinds of fell terrain. Not great on wet rock, (I'm still waiting for that scientific breakthrough!), and the compound feels very flexible when you run on harder surfaces- I wonder just how long the grip is going to last. Despite having worn them for just less than 150km, one of the studs is, I fear, starting to deteriorate and rip off. Hopefully this isn't the case, but I can't lie about what I see.
Slightly cracking stud, after 145km

I wouldn't say that I've *never* slipped while wearing these shoes - that would be downright lying. However, when I *do* slip, I have the absolute confidence that I will regain my balance and footing with these shoes, and that it is a momentary lapse, and probably on a surface that pretty much nothing will provide adherence to.

As with climbing shoes, the grippy rubber is always the bit you want, and the bit you pay for, but the problem is the grippier rubber always wears out the fastest. The concerning thing is that this might be happening with fell shoes now.

During the Sedburgh race I passed a couple of people who mentioned that they were really feeling the shoe under the ankle bones as they traversed around the hill. (I was in x-talons, so I couldn't comment on that), and on the odd occasion that I've been running over the hills and traversing, I can say that I sometimes feel that. The more I run in them, the less I feel it.

I suppose that's it really. The more you run in them, the more comfortable they get. However, the more you run in them, the faster they wear out.
Looking slightly less yellow
Dilemma! But there is a crossover stage where they are comfy as can be, AND have superb grip. As long as you can keep them in this sweet spot, the better they will be.

Yes, they are the best Mudclaws I have worn yet, the most comfortable and the least blister inducing. They are also the most solid around the toe box and toe crease that I have seen in the mudclaw range, with the rand giving confidence in the construction. This has so often been the weak point of inov8 shoes, and it appears to have been fixed on this model. (indeed, I have yet to see a pair of 300's with bust up toe
No, I haven't destroyed these yet, and I look forward to training and racing in them this winter.
300's being used to good effect descending at FTOP
Excellent grip. Good space for big socks. A proper winter bogtrotting shoe. If you're running on the moors this winter, ok they may be expensive, but seriously, I don't think there is a better shoe out there.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Gravy Pud 2013

The Gravy Pud race, run from the Bulls Head over in Tintwistle by local legend Andi Jones, is a fast paced trail race. Not quite gnarly enough to be a fell race, but certainly not a road race, so it attracts a fair amount of attention from all quarters of the running community.
gravypudracemap.jpg (1171×660)

Today was no exception, and there were a decent selection of fast runners out and about from Dark Peak, Sale and other well known speedier places. Perhaps it was a little misguided to do a Trigger recce with a fair amount of ascent yesterday? Nevermind.

The start/finish road is cobbled, and was really very slippy in x-talons. It looked slippy no matter what shoes you were wearing, so a bit of care was needed on the warm up, and the comings and goings around the area. A good number of runners turned out- nigh on 220 all told, I think, with a good contingent from Glossopdale- this being the final counter in the Fell champs.

This year had a fast start, with me tagging along quite a way behind the leaders, just about managing to keep pace with Chris - who also raced yesterday. He pulled away from me on the first climb, I made it back on the first (and only slightly gnarly descent), got over a stile in slightly less than slick style- picking up a bruise for my troubles, and then proceeded to get passed by as many people as I had just overtaken on the way down. I was reduced to walking on terrain where most people were still quite happily running.

Nothing in my legs, nothing at all. And that was pretty much the story for the rest of the run. Up a hill, lose another place, along a path, the guys in front of me just became smaller and smaller in front of me. No pace, no strength, and no steep downhills to slow other people down to let me catch them up.

I eventually trawled in 28th in just under 41 mins - Chris coming in about a minute and a half faster.
What a beast of a race. No let up - especially if you're already knackered.

As a final race of the year, its good to get completely trounced by a load of other people. It has certainly focussed my mind on what needs to be looked at, what can be improved, and where I need to think about getting faster.
For the moment, though, rest and recovery, something that I should have been doing yesterday!