Monday, 3 January 2011

80% Wrecked - 03/01/2010

Needed to take advantage of the last day of the holiday today, so I got out to do the best part of the Wrekin Wrecker route. I missed out only the starting section from the rifle range up Heroes and down the scree gully, and made a slight short cut coming off Little Hill. Otherwise it was pretty much the race route.

I had a sore left achilles again, but managed to run steadily to the bottom of the Goaty path, which I climbed at 70% effort (hiking). Nice view at the top - the trees are vertical which give a better idea of the steepness of this ascent:

I then ran past the (very busy) summit and down to Hell Gate, turning onto the BMX track which is always a very rapid, technical descent. There'd been a frost and some heave of the mud so the surface was crunchy but grippy and yielding - perfect! I walked briefly on the two steepest bits of the Beeches track back up to Halfway House, but then managed to run (very slowly) right the way up the main drag to reach the top for a second time. Here's a view of the summit from just above heaven gate - loads of folks on the skyline with the sun behind them.

From the summit there's a lovely half mile gentle descent south west past Needle's Eye before the ground steepens. I took the steepest bit fairly steady today, but still ran with conviction - you really just have to trust your shoes and footing and descend positively here. Straight over the path and then the col and a short struggle uphill brought me to the top of Little Hill. I love it here - the Scots Pines give the place an eerie feeling, particularly the standing remains of one which looks as if it was probably zapped by lightning. I paused for a drink and to take this picture:

From here I descended to the east (the Wrecker route goes more to the south) because I liked the look of the track, but pretty soon it degenerates into a steep forest ride with nothing much to recommend it. It comes out about 50m south of the path junction at 617076 and saves around 300m of distance on the normal route.

I managed to run gently all the way back up the initial climb and over the switchbacks to return to the Rifle Range and Forest Glen.

I did 6.2 miles and 1,900' today (roughly - the GPS is dreadful in the woods round the Wrekin). This is a good start to the week - I need to get the climbing in early as Sunday is the Cannock Chase Trig Points race which is 16 miles, but with only 1,500' of ascent (info here). If tomorrow is the usual club run that'll be around 7 miles and 1,100', so I will only need to do a short run on Thursday or Friday with a few hundred feet of climbing to get to the 30 mile, 5,000' target.

I'm aiming to start building up for the Long Mynd Valleys and Edale Skyline races in March, so want to be covering this kind of distance and climb most weeks, but with a quality speed session (hill reps or intervals) around once a week.

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