Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Jura Fell Race 2018

Jura Fell Race, a week after the Old County Tops is always a bit of an ask. It is even more so if you haven't put in a decent block of hills in the months leading up to it. Add a lack of hill work to a somewhat last minute Ramsay Round instead of the Old County Tops, and the Paps of Jura present a bit of an obstacle.

Getting a sub-4 at this race was generally going to be quite a hard thing to do this year, however, coming off of the Ramsay last week with ridiculously few blisters and no real injuries - just fatigue -meant that I was slowly coming around to the idea that I shouldn't just pootle around, but I should give it a good go, and see if it was possible to get that sub-4 glass.
If you don't try, you'll never know... right?

Before the first Pip Feeling it.
So it was that I lined up in Craighouse a week after the Ramsay with a couple of splits in my head which would mean that I was on for a sub-4. The plan was to go out hard and just see what happened.
Through the bog and up through the first couple of kilometres I was really feeling it. To be fair, the most exercise I had done since the Saturday previously was ride my bike the 5 miles from Fersit to Craighouse, so had little inkling of how my legs might feel. Jasmin P was just ahead of me through the first bog and up through the early foothills - she was with Dave Ward, so it was a pretty decent bet
that they were heading for a sub-4, best try and keep up with them then.

Unfortunately me keeping up with them was not something that my legs were particularly enthralled about and slowly, metre by metre, they eked their way away from me, until I got to the first Pip,
Going round CP1
where Lynne was marshalling a minute behind them, and just about holding onto Spyke who had come past me about 10 metres beforehand.
Far too early to say if it was possible, but certainly early enough to know if I was way off the pace... it was astonishing to see that I was bang on for the split.

However, the amount of energy that felt like it was being expended in order to keep this pace up was a lot higher than I hoped.

Off and over to Pip 2, I caught up and passed Konrad who didn't look like he was having a good day, and ended up climbing to the top of this one a way off Jasmin etc. sharing some of the wind chill with Dave Blund from Dark Peak. I had no idea on the next few splits, only vague ideas and memories, so just went as hard as I dared. Over to the final Pip, and down towards the first Pap, through the bog.

There goes the sub4 crew
The heat was really something, but I had enough water for the time being. Up to the top of the Pap, it felt hard, and it really felt like I was leeching time - but not as much as going down the other side. My right knee hadn't had a chance to get stronger since last week (of course....) and the downhills were evidently going to present a bit of a problem... I was kind of hobble-running down the scree, and ended up upsidedown scraping my leg down a load of rock - which also didn't help.

I have no idea.

Hot. Somewhere.
Things started to get slower along the bottom between 1 and 2, and on the way up 2 the figure of Matt Huxford appeared, hunting me down. I was trying to work out a clever thing to say about me being Adam Yates and blowing up on a hill, while he was Froome- comfortably cruising past.... but in the heat of the moment I genuinely totally forgot to.
He caught me up at about the time where you can kick out on the plateau to the left and go up the steep ground before taking the ridge to the top, so we kept each other company through there.

Looking back to ...pap..1?

Hux overtaking me on 2

Jules and Harshan were taking photos at the top - I still had water so carried straight on, Matt must have stopped for water as he didn't appear to be following me closely off the hill. Again, more knee pain, but only muscular, so it was simply a put it to the back of my head and mince down the hill in the quickest way possible.
thanks Harshan for the picture.
By this time, there was still a vague possibility of that sub-4 - anyone behind me was certainly not going to get it, I was on the teetering edge of possibility. Not wanting to be beholden to the watch, I switched the screen to read altitude rather than time and just put my head down.

Onto the final Pap, rearing it's head up, the mind prepares for a long, hard climb which basically will go on forever. Despite being a lot faster than Matt downhill, he had the legs for the ups, and he easily caught back up with me. We were surprised that the ascent actually took so little time (well, I was, I have no idea about him), and we took the final descent together, finding a pretty decent line or 2 down to the final trod that takes you across to Corrie Beinn... ("the other one").

The face of the enjoyment of fellrunning

Top of Pap3 - ??

Trying to keep up with Hux up Coire Beinn
My legs were pretty much toast by now, and after grabbing a glug of water from Matt, I let him head off ahead, thinking that he might manage to get that sub-4. Half way up the hill I took a glance at my watch - switching it to time for a moment.... not a chance for me. I needed to get up this hill and down to 3 arch bridge in 15 minutes in order to make it feasable for the final 5k to be in time... never going to happen.

Despite that, I chucked in a gel and managed to keep up with Matt to the top, though he then vastly out paced me down through the bog towards the bridge. Down through interminable grassy bog on and on, and it was noticable that my legs weren't cramping. It may have been that I just wasn't strong enough to go fast enough to make my legs cramp today. How odd! oh well.
The heat was bearing down on us, and just past the river on the final off to the road I caught Matt up again, having a bit of a sit down and a rant/sulk about the heat and general not-particularly-happy-to-be-here-ness. So I carried on running, hoping that he would do much the same. We were both out of water, but Lynne was going to be at the bridge with a bottle and some gels, so the best course of action was to get there as soon as possible.
the happiness of the road

We stumbled down to the bridge and managed not to cramp going over the bridge. By now all thought of a sub4 was gone - we'd have to do a sub16 min 5k which was not going to happen.
Gel was shared out, water was drunk and thrown over us as we battered our tired way down the road. Matt thought he had heatstroke, I figured it was *just* heat exhaustion, so carried on throwing water at him.
5k of this
The final 5k stumble/waterfight carried on for a while, and there were only 2 walking stops for us, and we finally crossed the line in 4:10:56, 11 mins outside of target time, but hey, it was a fantastic day out and my legs carried me over the pips and paps to good effect. 
you can just about make us out - coming into the finish
Hux modelling this years tshirt. and a beer.

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