Monday, 19 August 2013

Training - 12 to 18/08/2013

Wednesday 14/08/2013 - morning
Quickish Cliffe Run
0:21, 250' (2.3 miles)

Grabbed a fairly quick run around the Cliffe just before dawn - beautiful morning with trails of mist in the wide Severn and Dee valleys either side of me and trees poking out above the sea of grey. Lovely sunrise too.

Thursday 15/08/2013 - evening
Pre-Committee Wrekin Blast
0:34, 900' (2.8 miles)

Squeezed a climbing session out on the Wrekin in between work and Mercia committee. Up the scree gully to Halfway House, down Beeches to the bottom, then up the BMX track and the main path to the summit. Down via my network of tracks on the east face to pick up the main track at the hairpin below Halfway House. Pushed fairly hard tonight, good session, climbing ok. Descended quickly but fairly easy.

Sunday 18/08/2013 - morning
Nav Coaching
0:45, 450' (1.1 miles) - walk
1:05, 1,600' (4.9 miles) - run

Coached basic nav skills to a group of 12 this morning. Walk - trip to bottom of Hundred Steps, then Townbrook reservoir and return over hill in Rectory Wood. Run - relays leg 1, followed this pretty much exactly with Kate W, Steve T and Steve B. Plenty of stops to practise map and compass work. Nice run with some quicker sections. legs a little tired on Yearlet.

Sunday 18/08/2013 - afternoon
Skyline Reccie
2:25, 2,050' (10.4 miles) - slow run

Cleared up coaching session and went straight over to the other side of Stretton to run a reccie of the second half of the Skyline with Zoe. All fine until Gogbatch, climbing quite well, then suddenly desperately tired and quite low. Dehydrated too. Found our way back to All Stretton via Plush Hill and a bit of the Batch Bash route only to discover the pub was shut. Walked back to Church Stretton along the road. Finally the blind blisters on my heels from the Hundred have moved forward a bit with one blowing up and tearing (the skin underneath is nice an hard though so it should be ok). I thought I'd done the job at Stiperstones, but it's taken another month and the use of an unusual pair of socks!

5:10, 5,250' (21.5 miles)
Another rather easy week, need to do some proper session planning. Two short relatively quick sessions, but were they hard enough? And was the running on Sunday easy enough? Evidently not in the conditions. Mileage a little low, but a reasonable amount of climbing. Would like to keep climbing >5,000' per week as I have found I go quite well off that. Distance could creep up a bit.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Training - 22 to 28/07/2013

Not much done this week because Zoe arrived back from a month in Africa on Tuesday and I took a few days off to enjoy a bit of time with her. We did however manage to take part in the Gritstone Tryal on Sunday 28th as a first run back for Zoe and a nice steady long run with a nav challenge thrown in for me.

Friday 26/07/2013 - evening
MAF Pace Jog
0:31, 300' (3.0 miles)

Three easy miles around Nesscliffe. A loop round the very outside of the school field is 400m, useful for future reference...

Sunday 28/07/2013 - morning
Gritstone Tryal
2:37, 1,650' (11.0 miles)

The Gritstone Tryal is a navigation event run by Ian Ankers of Staffordshire Moorlands AC. The format is simple - you're given a map with numbered checkpoints marked on it when you arrive and have up to an hour to decide how to get round the checkpoints (in order). The event then commences with a mass start. Zoe and I thought we had plenty of time to sort the route out, but in reality I was still marking my map up with ten minutes to go.

Event map - my mark-up in blue
After a little footwear crisis (correct decision - trail shoes are nice and comfy and fine even on rough bits of the Peak when it hasn't rained much for weeks), we were on the start line and then away. We all took the same (obvious) line to CP1 with a few queues for the dibbers and a pair of kissing gates, then crossed the A53 and split.

We selected the better line for leg 2 but ruined it with some poor execution, losing the indistinct ROW and being drawn too far round the valley. We came out on the minor road instead of a slightly more major one, I forgot the road width coding on the map and we turned the wrong way to compound the initial error. I thus ended up doing the tough bit of my intended line (first half) and the tough bit of the other line (second half). Never mind.

Leg 3 was predominately across fields with three shallow valleys to cross. The first sunken lane we used was atrocious, boggy and rough under 3' high reeds. We then had to duck under trees for the next 200m and climb a fence where there was no sign of a stile (near Well Springs Farm). The uphill section to Colshaw was fine, although we use the field adjacent to the sunken lane as it was a lot easier going. We had to be careful across fields near Colshaw not to get drawn off our line by the sight of many other competitors over to our right who'd chosen a hiller but possibly slightly shorter line crossing the valleys a little further downstream. Our next valley crossing was gained by some desperate descending through another scrubby wood with little sign of the ROW on the ground. We found the footbrige OK though and the climb up the next field wasn't too bad. There was no ROW signing after Brand Top and nothing on the ground - a descent on a grassy spur gave onto 250m of hideous bog with neck high reeds: fortunately I found a way through on flattened sections to the final stream crossing. I did manage to get my head up on the way down and had noticed a nice newly mown hayfield roughly where the right hand option was for the final climb to CP3, so we cut across to that leaving some other competitors labouring on much rougher ground and reached CP3 ahead of a few folk.

The leg to CP4 was obvious and very runnable and we put in a good effort here past the HSE fire testing grounds at Turncliff. There were several burnt out tube carriages over to our left at one point. We also passed Stanley Moor Reservoir. This large rectangular structure was built over underlying material honeycombed by solution holes and caverns and was decommissioned about ten years ago under the supervision of one of my colleagues. The works removed a large wedge of the dam on the east side and used the material to partly fill the impoundment, creating a series of wildlfe pools. CP4 was another manned checkpoint - Ian had driven out here from the event centre to do the honours.

I'd looked carefully at the leg to CP5 and come up with an option which was about 3 km, mostly on trails. There was a road option which was nearly 4 km but it meant running 2 km along the busy A53 and a less obvious approach to CP5 itself across rough ground so I'd decided there was no advantage in it. Zoe hadn't trained at all while she was in Uganda and she suffered up the climb to the A54, feeling sick and with jelly legs. We slowed right down and I told her not to worry, she'd feel better in a bit. She forced herself to run most of the section over Axe Edge Moor, but we lost about 5 places on this leg. The checkpoint itself was easily found and we had a welcome cup of water there.

I'd decided to take a direct line from CP5 to CP6 across the moor but after 200m I could tell Zoe was really struggling so we cut back to the fence all our competitors were following and went down that until we were level with a small knoll on the right which was obvious on the map. As the others went straight on on a more circuitous route, Zoe and I took a bearing (which conveniently coincided with Shining Tor, clearly visible to the west) and we walked across rough moorland nearly 1 km and dropped in 50m north of the checkpoint exactly as planned. This meant we'd overtooken all of the guys who'd passed us on the way from CP4, so I was pretty pleased with the leg.

We had a cunning plan for leg 7 too. The more obvious routes used rights of way across farmland between Blackclough and Knotbury, but they looked navigationally complex, so I'd come up with a line to the west, using a byway which would lead up to the road and thence the checkpoint. As a further refinement we could cut a corner where the track zigzagged down a steep hill and save another 200m. The plan worked perfectly and by CP7 we'd shaken off everyone following except Jackie Keasley from Helsby RC.

Leg 8 was straightforward up over Wolf Edge and down to a checkpoint on the last wall before Flash vilalage. Even so we lost half our lead ovr Jackie as Zoe and I both missed a stile on our right near the top of the climb and had to backtrack 20m.

We clipped at CP8 and just had 400m of road running in to the finish, where we found to our surprise that Zoe had won a bottle of wine for finishing 2nd lady! Although the running was pretty comfortable for me I did feel myself getting into it around CP5 and feeling fairly strong.

A good morning out, great views, a good nav challenge and a decent long run for us both - thank you to Ian and all your helpers.

I've attached a scan of the event map showing our plan, and the actual route taken is on Strava:

3:08, 1,950' (14.0 miles)
A much easier week. Nice to spend some time relaxing and to have the practise of navigating under (some) pressure in the Tryal. I need to try to get some more consistency in my training for the next three weeks though...

Friday, 2 August 2013

Training - 15 to 21/07/2013

Monday 15/07/2013 - evening
MAF Pace Climbing Reps
0:53, 750' (3.5 miles)

Got out with the dog on a slightly less hot evening. I'm trying to work on my climbing after the issues I had in Norway controlling my HR on the ascents - and I realise I hadn't done much structured fell work since well before the hundred, so it's probably been three months. Tonight I stayed local, jogging over to the bottom of the steepest sustained climb at Nesscliffe, the one I call "School Gully". I tried to climb well within myself, powerhiking and breathing through my nose every two paces, slowing down if I started to get out of breath or felt my HR creeping up. At the end of each climb (about 3.5 minutes) I jogged down the easy steady descent (about 5.5 minutes) ready for the next climb. Four reps tonight, but that was because the dog was getting hot and tired :-) Felt good, got to try to do this session or something similar more often. Probably didn't gain full fat burning effect though because I was starrving when I got in and had a Twix just before I went out to run...

Tuesday 16/07/2013 - evening
Rest / X Train
Resisted the temptation to run. Mowed the lawn and walked the dog instead. Stiperstones race tomorrow.

Wednesday 17/07/2013 - evening
Stiperstones Fell Race
0:37 plus warm-up, 1,250' (3.7 miles)

I hadn't done a short fell race for too long! They are fun, even if you're not properly trained for them and you are tired. Primarily this was a good opportunity for some intense training, and I decided beforehand to work as hard as I could for as long as I could without risking damaging myself. I should have started a little quicker on the wider section as I got badly held up on the first climb and descent but by the second climb I was pretty much in the right place in the field. At the top of the steep section of the second climb, the character of the route changes completely, from singletrack to an ATV road, which continues to climb at about 1:10 for nearly a mile. I struggled up here and did a deal with myself to keep running. I did manage to run the route out, only Paul and Val passed me up this section and they are both considerably quicker than me on the flat. I held position on the steep technical descent but by the road my heels were burning hot (it was a very warm dry night) and I eased off for fear that the damaged skin from the ultras would give out altogether and I'd have a recurrence of the foot problems I had after Three Peaks in 2011. In the end they just about held together and a dunk in the stream at the end saved them! I lost about 7/8 places on the final run-in but wasn't bothered, and given the lack of any specific prep I was quite happy with 37:09 and 34th place of 79. My previous race was not a good one (in 2011, after no sleep whatsoever the night before, I'd run 43:41.

Saturday 20/07/2013 - afternoon
Very Easy Run on Snowdon
1:51 (moving time), 2,100' (7.6 miles)

My friend Mel got her first England cap today, in the Snowdon International Mountain Race. I went out to support, setting off up the hill 20 minutes before the start of the race after a natter with some of my many friends who were running. I jogged up to about the 1,250' point and waited for the lead runners. I stood chatting and taking photos as most of the field came up. Mel looked great and very happy in her shiny new England kit! Then walked gently on up with some of the back markers - it would have been rude to run past them... At 2,200' I met Al Tye, and stood with him for a while as the leaders and the first third of the field came back down. I then headed off in the extremely strong sun and heat, picking a nice line down into the valley under Cloggy cliffs, then diagonally up steep rough ground to pick up the Snowdon Ranger path above the Cwm Brwynog - Cwm Clogwyn col. From there a still over the fence leads to a sketchy but lovely traversing path under Moel Cynghorion. I cut across the Afon Arddu valley and climbed up to Hebron Station to pick up the main Llanberis path as the tail enders were finishing the race, and stopped at the ice cream barn for a 99 and a Fanta on the way back to the event field. Paul Jones of Mercia had won the V40 open race and Mel had done great finishing between Pippa Maddams and Helen Berry as second counter for the England ladies. A meal in the Corn Mill in Llangollen on the way home rounded off an excellent day.

Sunday 21/07/2013 - lunchtime
Burway Hill Climb (Coaching Session)
0:42 (moving time), 650' (3.6 miles)

Did our first Mercia summer coaching session this morning. Mostly on uphill technique. Afterwards 19 of the 23 students, plus Tom and myself, went for a run up Burway Hill putting some of the technique into practise. Mostly back marked and coached.

Training - 08 to 14/07/2013

Monday 08/07/2013 - evening
Caer Caradoc
0:54, 850' (3.6 miles)
Stopped at Church Stretton on the way back from Gatwick after the Norway trip. Yomped up Caradoc past Three Fingers Rock with Bailey. Skirted around the rocks a bit then down fundamentally the same way.

Wednesday 10/07/2013 - evening
0:55, 1,150' (3.8 miles)
Bits of the Wrecker and some new trails, trying to link up recent discoveries and avoid the main path. Some of this was at an easy pace, but I pushed on in one or two places, particularly the top half of the Goaty path. Feeling ok considering, some tightness at bottom of hamstrings and slight soreness in right ankle after Hornindal.

Thursday 11/07/2013 - evening
Sports massage
Went to see the ever-brilliant Dianne. Good release of my back between the shoulder blades, probably from wearing the running sack all weekend (inc.l as had baggage for flights). Worked quite hard / deep on the shin muscles (tibialis anterior). Need to keep working on the flexibility stuff I think - I'm considering a one-off physio appointment to get an assessment and some kind of training / stretching plan. Nice two mile walk along the canal towpath with the dog afterwards.

Friday 12/07/2013
1:07, 600' (5.0 miles)
Quite warm very gentle jog around the Cliffe, Hopton Hill and Nesscliffe Wood with Em. The emphasis was very much on the social aspect tonight, so I had a nice easy run. Felt ok after yesterday's massage: thankfully no adverse reaction in my shins! Di always seems to get it just right :-)

Sunday 14/07/2013 
Longmynd Longish Run 
2:47, 3,050' (12.6 miles) 
Started at 9:30 am which was way too late on one of the hottest days of the year. I was going to go round the Longmynd Valleys route, but realised as I reached the top of Jonathan's Hollow that, with many of the streams almost empty, water could be at a premium today. A change of plan was to drop down Ashes and if there was not drinkable water in the stream to go all the way down to the campsite, then cross Yearlet / Ashlet and do half of the Cardingmill Canter route to finish off. There was water in the stream in the hollow, so I went straight up Yearlet on an experimental line, right up the vague ridge between the west and south faces which is a pretty direct line to the top. It eases after a while and on a cooler day the top half of the climb would be runnable. Coming off Yearlet I bumped into a Newport/Telford AC trio - it was nice to see them after a while. Went round onto Ashlet and then down the Green Path and the ramp to the cafe in Cardingmill. Filled up the bottle and grabbed a salt sachet, which I ate half of on the start of the next climb. I tried the path which goes round the back of the bungalow and takes Bodbury on pretty much direct. It's steep, unrelenting and compsed mostly of slippy gravel. I had to stop a couple of times and really felt I was running out of steam. I managed to drag my weary carcass up to Haddon Hill, then did the Canter descent and jogged round the pipeline to New Pool. It was heaving with sunbathers and swimmers. After a quick swim / cool down I jogged down the valley to finish off. Some good climbing, but I felt pretty weak today. Maybe it was just the heat? 

5:43, 5,650' (25 miles) and a massage.

A start in getting back to training properly and specifically for fell running. After the problems at Hornindal on Saturday I managed to get some decent climbing done. I'm also thinking it might be an idea at this phase in my cycle to get a bit of physio support to sort out a few niggles and weaknesses: a slight left side groin strain I've had for months, the under-activated glutes and psoas muscles, sore/overused shin muscles and the stiffness in my lower back which can lead to tightness down my glutes, hams, calves and Achilles. That's quite a shopping list!

Hornindal Rundt - 06/07/2013

Looking fairly composed five minutes before the start!
The advance publicity for this race offered a "38 km fjelløp. 2 900 høgdemeter!" and a "75 km ultrafjelløp. 5 600 høgdemeter". I don't think a lot of translation is required but a fjelløp can be roughly equated to a fell race. I found the event on the UTMB qualifying events list (not so much because I wanted to gain UTMB points but because it's a great way to find events), and entered early this year. The main event of the "season" was the LDWA 100 and this was six weeks later, so I figured there would probably be enough recovery time to get it sufficiently together for a big fell ultra. After all I'd done Brecon 40 and the Tour de Hellvellyn, both at 40 miles and about 10,000' feet of clibing, not to mention last year's CCC at 56 miles and 19,000' so 45 miles and 18,500' should be do-able, right?

I organised to travel over on the Thursday to give Friday to settle in / recover and reccie a small section of the route, then race on Saturday, recover on Sunday and travel home on Monday.

It all went fairly straightforwardly and I arrived in Grodås (the main village in the valley of Hornindal) as planned on Thursday night, and spent Friday doing a gentle reccie of the final section of the 75km full round and registering then attending the race briefing.

Saturday morning dawned dry and hot and we all gathered at the start. There was a delay while some chips which had been wrongly programmed were cleared, but at 09:20 we were off.

The first section headed out of town along a road  before an undulating bit of forest road.
Five minutes in, on the road out of Grodås
Right after the first checkpoint though it ramped right up and a steep rough path led up through the forest to about 2,000' where we came out onto open fell (fjell?). Looking back there was a great view to Hornindalvatnet, Europe's deepest lake
Climbing Middagsfjellert, about 650m up
A more steadily graded section (but still rough underfoot) led to our first summit of the day.
Summit of Middagsfjellert
From the top the descent was initially fairly similar to Scottish fell running conditions, fairly soft underfuut, but rough with lots of rocks and peat hags, but it soon steepened. The next section dropped about 500m steeply down on a very rough, narrow trail which was rocky at times. Pretty soon we were down in the valley and running a 1km out and back to CP3 on an easy forest road. I took the opportunity to walk for a few hundred metres, rehydrate and eat a cereal bar. Another section of forest road took us gently up past some lovely hay meadows towards CP4.
An easier section, the gravel road near Grothaugen between CP3 and CP4
Norwegian barn at Grothaugen. This was the easiest going for 25km.
After CP4 we started the climb that would eventually lead to the high point of the race at Gulkoppen. The first section was a steep climb up through woods to reach a large wet meadow and aother short haul up under power lines to get on the west ridge of the Saetrehornet.
Doesn't look too bad up the power lines onto the west ridge of the Saetrehornet,
but this was rough ground and a faint track which was boggy where it wasn't rocky.
Just onto the Saetrehornet ridge, looking back
I made a bad mistake on the ridge - I was in a fair sized group and I knew there was a checkpoint coming up but I just assumed that I'd see it as everyone stopped to make sure their electonic tallies had registered. Head down and climbing hard I must have gone straight past CP5.
Climbing the Saetrehornet, just after I'd missed CP5. I went up almost as far
as the peak on the right before I realised and double backed.
I continued on for about twenty minutes, covering about 1.5km and 200m more climbing before I realised that I must have missed it. A quick chat with a fellow competitor confirmed that I'd gone past it, so I had the heartbreaking job of running downhill past maybe fifty competitors to get back to the checkpoint and register my tally. I then started back up and had tob try to forget about it. I lost 35 minutes in the end, and probably went a bit too fast on the re-ascent too - never get angry on an ultra, it can lead to some really bad decisions. Anyway I got it back together and went fairly well up to CP6, taking back a few of the many places I'd lost...
Small snowfield just below the 1102m summit of Størehornet.
CP6 at the summit of Størehornet with Niels.
Niels kindly took a picture for me.
At CP6 I took a few pictures and while I was doing that weighed up how things were going. I'd probably gone too quickly up the climb and I was blowing quite hard with my heart racing. I was concerned I wasn't recovering as normal, so despite a brief stop my HR wasn't dropping much. I decided to take it easy and make sure I enjoyed the next few legs and see how things went. Taking it easy wasn't particularly straightforward on the next leg - the last stage of the massive 1,100m climb to Gulkoppen. We could see the snowfield that unlocked the approach to the summit with many tiny figures climbing up it. As we got nearer we passed a guy from the local mountain rescue all kitted up ready with a stretcher! I took a bit of care on the snowfield, which was very steep in the centre section... We were soon up it though and a short jog along the ridge led to the summit.
Tiny figures climbing the final snowfield on the way up Gulkoppen

On the snowfield, this was steeper than it looks!
The gradient on the top section of the snowfield did ease off somewhat!
Checkpoint at the summit of Gulkoppen (1,304m) - the end of a continuous
3,600' climb.
The descent from Gulkoppen was almost as big as the climb, initially with huge open vistas across boilerplate rocks and small snowfields to the peaks in the distance. I went down at a reasonable pace to start with, speeding up and passing people as the oack and snow gave way to mud and bilberries and then to scrubby woodland. There were two out and back sections in Knutsdalen, first downhill through the open birchwood to CP7 at Holskardsaetra. There was a good crowd here and a nice vibe, but I only stopped for long enough to register my tally.
The start of the descent from Gulkoppen gives an idea of the vastness of
these landscapes. 
High mountain lake Holskardvatnet with Holskardhornet (1,247m) behind
Back up past the waterfalls to the end of the out-and-back and I noted a lot of dumped rucksacs which seemed a bit unfair - if you're asked to carry kit to my mind you carry it all the way round. Anyway the route now climbed quite steeply up to the next chackpoint on the Daurmålhornet. The total ascent was only about 300m (the smallest on the whole route) but I felt absolutely spent here and couldn't manage anything more than a slow walk up the hill. It wasn't even that steep or particularly rough by the standards of this route anyway. The Daurmålhornet (890m) is a rocky plateau rally. We crossed the northern edge of it, clipping at the checkpoint by the cairn.

The next leg took us down 120m to another out-and-back, this time starting with an uphill section over rough moor and boulderfields to a cabin by the picturesque lake at Kupa. I was tired but managed to run much of this, drinking loads of clear cold water from the river near the lake outlet and taking five minutes to sit in the shade on the hut's veranda and eat a KitKat and a gel.

We now had a 280m descent over the next 2.6km through scrub and bog to reach a lovely wooden bridge over the river in the bottom of Knutsdalen. I swapped places with a nice local lady who I'd been with on the climb to Daurmålhornet a few times over this section. Finally at about 28.5km we hit the first bit of forest road in 15km. Another 300m and we were at the first manned checkpoint (A), Sandgrova, just a cluster of cabins and a rather disinterested marshall (he may have had a mechanical on his car because his head was under the bonnet - I'm not sure how he logged my time but he did).

Looking up Knutsdalen with peaks in the 1,300m to 1,500m range
Hornindalsrokken from just above manned checkpoint A, with some
 typical race terrain in the foreground.
From Sandgrova the climb up to the next CP was just unbelievable. It started fairly steadily, but ramped up until the slope of the ground around us must have been close to 45°. Even the map shows a section of about 300m horizontally where the climb is 200m vertically. All I could do was grind out 50m or so of climbing then stop and rest for half a minute, then do it all over again, still having problems con. Towards the top I caught up a guy called Mattias and we chatted which helped pass the remainder of the climb. There was a local lad called Rolf with us there too - he couldn't have been any older than 17 and was doing great. The checkpoint was on the top of a hill called Muldsvorhornet.

Crossing the river in Knutsdalen
On the summit of Moldsvorhornet, looking to Hornindalsrokken
Rolf and Mathias at Moldsvorhornet

By now I had decided that given my difficulty with the climbing I'd call it a day at the halfway point rather than risk having problems late on in the event on the exposed section of mountain terrain around Hogenibba where there would be the least amount of light (the Norwegians call the peculiar light when dusk merges into dawn "the grey light"). So having made that decision there was only one thing to do coming off the final summit - belt it down. I had a pretty good descent, taking aorund ten minutes off the competitors who were with me at the top in 4.3km. I reached my final checkpoint at Horndøla bru at 18:08 for a total time of 8:48. I'd done 41km and 3,100m of climbing (25.5 miles and 10,200').

Little Saetra with typical old time huts above upper Hornindal

All done for the day at Horndøla bru

There was hot soup and chocolate milk for the finishers (and for those going on to do the full loop Ultra Fjellop). I got a lift back to Grodas with the Race Organiser and arrived with plenty of time to snack and lounge about, then take pictures of the leading guys finishing the full round. My neighbour in the B&B, Mattias Gärdsback, finished an awesome second and he and his grilfriend Caroline shared dinner with me in the late evening. I popped back out to the finish line to see a few more guys completing the round including another I had chatted to in the B&B before the race, Per-Einar Roth.

Winner, Kristoffer Normark just beyond the end of the final descent

Second place was Mattias Gärdsback, my neighbour in the B&B

I went back in the morning and saw the last finishers come in, three locals, just before the presentation, then had a great afternoon out on the hills which form the last quarter of the full course.

Final finishers, Stian Løkken, Anne Raftevold, and Inger Margerthe Nordskov
after 25 hours 50 minutes out on the 75km course

Brilliant race organisers!

Men's podium

I'll definitely be back to complete the full round.

Lessons learned

I struggled with hydration, drinking a lot of water (all from streams and rivers on route) but I think my salts got out of balance a bit. I forgot to take any salt tablets with me and only managed to buy some Ritz biscuits as a substitute. Although I ate several at one point I don't think they really were as good!
I also didn't really take account of how I was feeling early enough and went too hard on the first climb and descent when I lready felt I was struggling.

And finally I do really need to sort out my health issue which may be underlying the odd off day when I can't seem to control my HR. That's twice I've had a problem, once on the CCC which I put down mostly to being mildly hypothermic but I had very similar problems at Hornindal - maybe it's when there's additional stress (heat, dehydration / salt depletion) as well as the normal ultra running issues.

I did have a great day, and actually a great trip with good runs the day before and after the race too, and a fairly smooth journey in each direction. More details of the race are at: