|Stuck in a queue going down the cliff - should have jumped!|
I started hard up the first rise on the forest track, keeping up with some of the better midfielders, and then took it steady on the run across the fields to save a bit of sting for the climb up Middletown Hill. I remembered the first steep bit, but not the second, and found this bit of the race a struggle.
I went down the hill, gaining places, and then was pleased to see Andy Davies marshalling for us at the gate onto Moel y Golfa. Gave him a shout up and then climbed hard (mostly it's walking but you can make places by running the short easier bits). This seemed easier than last year and we were soon at the top of the steep section and running through the woods at the summit.
We dropped down to the cliff and I learnt a bit of tactics, losing 15 seconds or so waiting for more tentative descenders in front. One of the locals has a secret better way: now I know I'll try it next year.
|At least I managed to overtake one of them!|
|Homage to the Hike!|
It all went a bit rubbish after this for a bit though, with three detours. I was just not thinking about the route, and following guys in front, and the taped markings had been tampered with. Anyway I guess I lost a minute, minute and a half, but I was soon on the climb up through the woods. Crossing to the final bit of Rodney's Pillar I looked back and saw people I thought I'd outrun some time ago. Not good, so I put in a big hard effort to the top, then rather cruised down until I was nearly at the forest track when some elite guys who must have been badly lost passed me.
Anyway having protected myself for the Relays on the steep descent I picked it up and ran a very fast last three quarter mile on the forestry track to finish in a respectable 1:15:59 (70th of 149 finishers, and . The %age score was a bit disappointing at only 78%, but this was a Welsh Champs race I suppose, I did go off route and I wasn't 100% full on all the way round...
Compared with last year though I can be pretty pleased with the progress. I blogged that I'd had a good one last year, but I ran 1:27:30 then, so I can't complain going over 11 minutes faster! I'm starting to worry about where I'm going to hit the performance plateau, but I don't think I'm there yet - this wasn't as good an effort as Ragleth Inn, but I still improved on last year. There's more there, I'm sure of it!