Saturday, 1 January 2011

Morning After Race - 01/01/2011

Overtaking on the descent to Cwmdale and the bottom of Novers Hill
(all today's pics by Al Tye -

Morning After?? In my case there wasn't much of a night before - I spent the whole of New Year's Eve feeling grotty, with a thick head, sore neck and blocked sinuses. Thanks to the dual miracles of buprofen and sleep, I did manage to rise from my pit and get to Church Stretton in time for a run out this morning.

Limited tactics for this one - there are a lot of narrow trods in the middle third of the race, so go as fast as possible from the gun (whistle actually) to get a decent position, and then try to hold it all together later on.

The race starts with a cavalry charge up the High Street and into the Rectory Field (I jumped the gate rather than queue at the kissing gate). Then a short steep climb into the wood and a fast run up to the Townbrook Valley reservoir. Keep running up the steep 40' climb on the path round to the Burway Road, then across the road and down fast to the finger post in Cardingmill Valley. 200 yards on the road and onto the Stanyeld path and steeply up on single track. I got held up here and didn't get past the chap in front of me until the descent to Cwmdale.

Charging down into Cwmdale

Straight over the road in Cwmdale and onto the steep ascent of Novers Hill, but the momentum won't take you much more than the first 20 feet up the fell. I tucked in behind and climbed steadily, but on a short race I don't get as much chance to recover. The traverse of the top of Novers Hill is usually lovely on soft single track, but today I had to force myself to run. The descent steepens on slippery grass, I nearly went down, and then had to hurdle as the chap in front of me fell. Mudclaws would help here, but the trail shoes suited almost all of the rest of the course. At the bottom it's a sharp left onto the path up the Batch, but I had absolutely nothing in the tank here and got passed by several runners. I regrouped on the climb back up the west side of Cwmdale. This is the last "summit" on the route, from here it's downhill on good tracks and road all the way to the finish.

Glad to reach the top of the last climb

Beyond here the line cuts through another kissing gate to Madeira Walk before a left turn into the bottom of the Carding Mill Valley road, and a quick shuffle across the Shrewsbury Road and along the stream into the cricket field, where the finish is by the pavilion. I got overtaken by a couple of folk coming onto Madeira Walk, but managed to accelerate past the stream and get the two places back just before the finish.

I felt quite pleased with how I ran, given the near continuous cold I've had for over a month, but reckon now I really know the route I could have possibly pushed the pain barrier a bit on the road in the Batch and finished maybe 6 places further up the field. Time was 44:32, and I was pleased with a 74% of top ten time.

I've put a route plan below.

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