Saturday, 27 August 2011

Ragleth Inn Race - 24/08/2011

On the initial ascent to Callow
Photo courtesy Al Tye:
I knew I had a good one in there somewhere! After Clee Hill I'd just been waiting for fitness and the course to come together. Ragleth Inn is one of Russell Mapp's races, and he doesn't bugger about. I like his courses. The Callow is like the Valleys with all the farting around in the first seven miles cut out (how many short races have 2,700' of climbing in them? Ragleth isn't quite as bad with a mere 1,250' in what's advertised as four miles but seems nearer to three, but it suits me - there's almost no flat, non-technical ground, and the route finishes pretty much at the bottom of the fell. I was in the mood too, which helps.

I zoned in on the way over from work with some loud music and a planning session. The plan was to go out very hard on the first climb, try to hold position on the initial gentle descent and reascent to Barrister's Plain, and then take it carefully down to Callow Hollow to protect my ankle. Once in the Hollow it's technical single track down the valley and I reckoned I could hold whatever place I had until the big steep reascent of Callow. I could just go as hard as I could on this then and use whatever I had left on the descent (subject to the ankle still being in one piece).

The race went pretty much according to plan. I started fairly slowly on the run in, but was passing people as soon as the climbing started. I wasn't far behind James and ahead of Gra at the top of Callow, and found myself just behind a struggling Chris on the main path climbing to Barrister's.

Very surprisingly ahead of Chris near the top of Callow
(turns out he was running with a back injury!)
Photo: Colin Williamson
I lost a few places on the way down into Callow Hollow running very tentatively on the steep descent, but did hold position on the run down the valley. I was soon on the back of a group with Gra at the front on the climb, and although there was quite a bit of passing and re-passing on the climb I think I probably only gained another place or two. I heard Eddie shout Ruth some encouragement behind me near the top and this encouraged me to get a move on and run the last 50 yards up to Terry, marshalling the summit.

I took the descent carefully, and was passed by another runner near the top, but was able to get onto Stu Tromans' shoulder by the fence (Stu was in road shoes having forgotten his fell shoes). With the advantage of some grip I just had enough to power past him above the gate and get into the finish funnel a couple of seconds in front.

Descending carefully, but with Stu in my sights!
Photo: Al Tye,
When I looked at the watch I was gobsmacked. I knew I'd had a good run, and I als knew I'd really raised the effort level on the climbs, but I'd only done just inside 48 minutes last year on a moderate effort for then. 35:58 seemed almost unbelievable for a moment. Ruth had an amazing run too, just behind me; I think this was the first 80%+ race for both of us in summer series.

I'm very chuffed that it's all come together and I feel like I'm moving up to a new level and consolidating the advances I made in the spring before the Achilles problems. I was 39th of 103 runners and the %age score was 82%.

Photos etc. to follow...

1 comment:

  1. Jim, that first photo is very worrying.

    It looks like someone has run off with your lungs.