Sunday, 10 October 2010

Breidden Hills Race - 10/10/2010

Sprinting away from the bottom of the crag on Moel y Golfa
Photos all courtesy of the amazing Mr Alastair Tye

An excellent race with some really varied running conditions from deep stick mud, through forest trail single track to the gnarly descent of Moel y Golfa.

I started fairly quickly with a good 80% effort up the main track, but lost a little ground on the short descent and the run across to the bottom of Bulthy Hill. About half and half walking and running on the way up Bulthy Hill and on to Middletown Hill, and a fairly concentrated descent kept me in reasonable shape at the start of the ascent of Moel y Golfa. I hiked all of this apart from the last hundred yards, again holding my place and keeping up with the guy in front who was mostly running.

The descent from Moel y Golfa is as gnarly as it gets on the Shropshire series, with a couple of low steep rocky sections, some single track, and a steep wooded gully.

Descending the small crag below Moel y Golfa.
More of Al Tye's excellent pictures.

I benefitted from the recce, spotting the tape on the right at the top of the gully, and knowing the ground was forgiving and I could belt down.

The next section up through New Pieces and across towards Breidden Hill is great - mostly narrow tracks and should be runnable throughout but this was the only part of the race I felt tired in so I hiked the first few hundred yards (this is the steepest bit), tucked in behind John Hart from Loughton AC. I got a gel down and some drink and this must have lifted me a bit, becuase I felt fresher on the higher bit - there's a wonderful 300 yards of dreamy path along the edge of New Pieces.

I kept close behind John up to the final scramble to the top of Rodney's Pillar, where I managed to pass him. I knew he and a couple of others behind were faster than me on the easy descents, so I belted off the top and really hammered it on the steep section down to the main track. This was enough to build a lead over John and the others behind me, and it was enough of a buffer for me to keep the place I'd come off Moel y Golfa in.

This was probably my best race so far in terms of how I felt about my performance, so I was happy enough. My descending seems to be improving since I've started concentrating on lifting my feet and concentrating on turning my legs over faster.

The numbers were: 7 miles, 2,300', in a time 1:27:30 for 68% of the leaders score, against my pre-race expectation of 1:30 being a decent run (and I beat Lightning for the first time, although my hat's off to him for coming and racing again a day after he did the Langdale race!)

This week's totals are 30.6 miles and 6,130' of ascent. The rolling four week total since 13/09/2010 is 121.2 miles and 23,680' of ascent.

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