Sunday, 29 March 2015

Lads Leap Fellrace, 2015

Having a race on the day after clocks have gone forward/back is always a bit of a risky business. It seemed that no-one had forgotten to do the relevant thing with their alarm clocks, and as far as I know, no-one turned up an hour late today.
To be honest, if I suddenly realised I was late for a race on a day with weather like we have had, I would have stayed in bed. It's been raining in Glossop and the surrounding area for about 3 days solid now, and the ground has turned into a delightful quagmire, so only goodness knows what it was going to be like on the tops over near Robinson's spring.

Luckily it wasn't completely apoclayptic, just a bit of drizzle, a bit of low cloud, but it was proper chilly. Grim and chilly equalled pretty much the majority of the field wearing a waterproof of some kind. There were a number of comments from various competitors about how it was ridiculous that on a day like this the FRA rules dictated that we must still wear numbers on the chest - completely covered over by waterproofs, rucksacks and bumbags. Had we been able to wear numbers on the legs of our shorts,
Post race ponderings
you would have been able to see everyones numbers.
But I digress.

We attempted to warm up a bit in the time leading up to the start - my legs feeling quite tired from a long run that I did yesterday. (the reason for this being that I need to get some decent miles in over the next few weeks, and if I hadn't done it yesterday, that would end up being a week closer to some big races with no long runs in the bank).
The Glossopdale Massif was turning out for this race - it being a Glossopdale Championships counter, but unfortunately it clashed with Edale Skyline, so it wasn't quite as full a turn out as it could have been. I saw Ben Tetler mooching around the start, as was Steve "the Dark" Knight... perhaps eager to lay down a quick time like in Titterstone clee. From elsewhere, Stu Bond was in attendence, and looking strong, as was last years winner, and a fresh looking Clive Fitzpatrick. It was going to be a quick race out front.

The race was got underway by Des, as the rain continued to pour down. The route was the original (not champs) course, so involved a bit of a stampede to the Youth Hostel and over the first Stile. I was somewhere around 15th over the stile, and the first long ascent began. Stu Bond was off at the front, gliding up the hill with no apparent effort and back where I was, the positions were shifting quite a lot. Up the slippy mud, which would be a bit of a challenge to come down at the end. Maybe Mudclaws would have been a better shoe - but to be honest... my Mudclaws have even less grip than my worn down x-talons. As we climbed the hill, I became aware of a guy in a blue vest who was keeping on my shoulder... Ben? Steve? Who knows.
With a decent long run in yesterday, I just couldn't get my legs moving at anything beyond endurance pace. They felt sluggish, tired and generally unable to increase speed or power. This was todays pace then.

Nev coming in at the end
As we came to the top, the blue vested Steve "the Dark" Knight eased past me, ready to take the opportunity of a turn of pace across the top. The top, that was boggy, full of holes, water, rock and generally not exactly fantastic terrain to get pace on. There ended up being a runner between us as we went across the top - which went on for MUCH longer than I anticipated. Steve was a good way ahead, so I figured draw in the runner between us, overtake, and then try to rest before getting back to Steve.
Ankle deep in bog, and occassionally going thigh deep, caused a few challenges, but the legs held stronger than I expected. I reeled in the guy between - but not without cost. I could feel my breathing getting out of control, and Steve was still a way ahead. Down and across, and then the sharp curve left and into a massive rut, where I began to really gain on Steve, eventually passing him just before the final steep descent to the foot of the ascent through to Tintwistle Knarr. The Descent was not fun in any way shape or form. I had next to no confidence in my shoes, and just couldn't let go. I was almost ginger going down there, but still managed to keep ahead of Steve and the other guy.

Rach - still smiling at the end
Over the stile and into the wood, and the long uphill drag. Before I've even gone 40 metres, Steve appears next to me. The speed we go up the hill is not terrific, but neither is it slow. I can't give away any distance, because as soon as I do, thats it. Game over. I'll never catch him again.
All that exists in the world is the sound of soggy running steps up the hill, and laboured breathing. On and on. He leads by a step, I lead by a step, back to neck and neck. Crikey this is hard... but we push each other up
the hill as hard as we dare - and there are runners in front of us- they are still running, but we appear to be closing a bit.
Up out of the wood, and onto the single track. I take the lead and hope I can keep the pace up, but am completely unable to up the pace to even give me any breathing space. Over the stile, and then... oh - its an uphill bog to get back to the top. Legs like lead, bashing through the undergrowth, and trying not to get sucked into a hole. I manage to lead Steve for quite a while, but as it steepens toward the top, he makes his move and again, eases past, gapping me before I can even think about anything.
Onto the top and back to Lads leap, there is a gap of 20 metres, and not one that I can close.
Across the stream, and I come off the steps toward the top, and Steve has 40 metres on me.
What happened there? We have a long flat boggy section and a final decent downhill before the finish.
Lynne showing a clean pair of heels

I desperately try to keep within sight of Steve, but he is having none of it. He is probably more aware of me
chasing him than he is of the guy he is rapidly catching. Through puddles, ruts and bog, we hammer across the top. I saw him fall at one point - but was up so quickly I barely gained anything on him.
Then the downhill came - if anywhen, this was the time when I might catch him.
Down the first steep part - he went like a stone. Crikey, I'm going to have my work cut out here... Over the stile and I've cut his lead down a fair amount, and he overtakes the other runner. Over the next crest, I do the same, but Steve is still going like the clappers. I really need to open up here, and manage to burst down the hill. Closing bit by bit, taking slightly less muddy lines in order to maximise the grip on my wasted x-talons. Then, at the Pennine Way, just above the last stile, I catch and pass him.
But its not over yet.
The marvellous geoff and andy O finish crew

Over the stile, and across the slippy bridge by the Youth Hostel, its the last 100m, and I'd damned if I'm going to let him have it now. I can hear his footfall over my right shoulder, and give it everything I have. holding on to the gutbusting feeling, and hoping that I haven't gone too early. We career down the final slope and into the campsite where I crossed the line barely a second in front of him - with marshals shouting at us about our numbers.... Well, if it was on my shorts, they'd have been able to see it.... so we went about undoing bumbags, and unzipping tops to show who we were. Which took a while (instead of, for example, just pointing at a number pinned to a leg... but again, I digress).

GDH babes post race analysis
Not long after us, Al came over the line, followed by Ben, and then Skusey, who put in a marvellous sprint finish... no idea if he got that bloke at the end.... and the rest of Glossopdale came in at varying stages after that.
Unsurprisingly Stu Bond won today, definitely on form, that man. From Glossop- Lindsay took a prize for first FV45, and the girls took home 1st ladies team (Linds, Rach and Lynne)- which was a great boost for Rach and Lynne.
I'm very much of the opinion that doing a long run the day before a short race tends to a)fatigue your legs and b) slows your leg speed down quite a lot so that speed just doesn't come easily. However, the long miles need to be done, and as long as they don't clash with my target races, they'll get done.

A great morning out, and on a day where most of us would have struggled because of the weather.

Now... recovery.

1 comment:

  1. great race tim - couldn't keep up with your rapid final descent and sprint finish! just keep up those long runs the day before and I might have a chance.....
    Steve K