Wednesday, 29 July 2009
Monday, 20 July 2009
High up on Harter Fell
The start of the fell race in Kentmere Village
The summit of III Bell, checkpoint 1 on the race
Kentmere Village Church
The final run in being pursued by a teammate
Yet another Lake District fell race that ive longed to do but circumstances have always been against me. But this year it had been included in our clubs championships so I decided to give it a good crack. Billed in the FRA calendar as 11.9miles with about 3300ft of climbing its not an easy race and has a notoriously difficult long first climb.
Its a frantic start on the road with a one or two runners falling in the scramble. Why people fly off in these long hard races is beyond me as the field soon sorts itself out anyway but each time a starter says go it doesnt matter whether its a 5 mile race or 25mile race its always a dash to get your place.
Like I said a hard first climb and really id just decided to remove the cassete out of my brain and accept that for easily an hour or so its going to be running uphill ( Ouch).
We climb out of Kentmere Village and on to the path heading for Yoke summit which is bypassed to the left as its not actually a checkpoint on the race. III Bell which is the next summit is and I say a thankyou to the summit marshall for his services. Then next summit along the ridge isnt needed to be visited either, so Frostwick as its known is passed by on the left also. Along the technical ridge path now with Thornwaite Crag to our left but we are heading for the furthest and highest summit of the race which is High Street. I cram a few jelly beans into my mouth as I pass the metal post just under Thornwaite Crag and realise High Street is now not to far away.
Although not to far away and not that steep, High Street takes a bit of ticking off but the Trig Point is reached and finally after a long time Im heading downhill but not for too long. This is were it goes a bit wrong. Im suddenly on my own and make the dreaded wrong turn or wrong line as its known in fellrunning. I quickly have to contour across to my right as I realise other runners are passing me. I rejoin and pass them again and head towards Nan Bield pass but stupidly take another wrong line. So enough is enough and my teamate who has wisely decided to follow a local more knowledgeable runner has now caught me up so I slot in behind him and both of us really just allow him to take us the best line through the crags.
We are soon back on the path and we both thank the local runner for his services and start to pace each other back to Kentmere Fell which is the last checkpoint on the race. After the checkpoint its flat out on the descent back to Kentemere which lies far below in the valley. The run in varies from grassy slopes to rocky technical and even boggy. A bit of everything and Im on the limit as i try in vain to keep with my teammate who is faster than me on the descents. My strong point always has been runnable climbing.
All to soon we are on the track which leads back to the start field and both enter the village together on the track. As we enter the field my teammate just manages to outsprint me to take maximum championship points.
We have finished in the top twenty in the race which is good for us both and proves that if you have two teamates together it does help. A quick shake of hands and a few cups of water and its up to the village hall for a sandwich and a cup of tea.
All our fellow teamates manage to finish so its a succesfull day for the club.
Im pleased personally because its yet another new race completed and completed well. One problem I have is the blister which covers the whole of my right heel. A wound from the skiddaw race which has refused to heal up. Driving home is always hard as your body always stiffens up after being put through the rigours of a race.
My treat at home is a long soak in the bath.
All in all a good day and a brilliant fell race. Organised by Pete Bland and his helpers.
Friday, 10 July 2009
The return view of the incline. Your legs should be jelly at this point.
Now being local I've done this one a few times but the race does not actually visit the rocks it winds its way from the Rugby club near the mill in Cromford, blasts along the track and basically heads up to the summit trig and returns via the woods back down to the canal path again and back to the Rugby club.
Normally about a hundred runners attend and this year was no different. A quick blast around the field then flat out along the canal to the start of the incline. This is were you wish you had not bothered. Its a mindset of a climb with one of those gradients that has to be ran and just got out of the way. At the top we turn into the woods and then drop down back to the path at the top of the incline. We then head for the summit after another blast along the path. This is where it starts to steepen but if you can keep going you save a lot of time. I know from experience that its just a few hard hard minutes to the trig point so keep running. All too soon i hit the trig point and the marshall gives me a smile and says the hard work is done but actually its not. The descent back down to the woods is made tricky at first by the many rocks and boulders that have to be traversed with the added problem of meeting oncoming runners that are coming up behind you. You dont want to be running into someone flat out. ( It bloody hurts , i know). we then turn off and there is only one way you can attack this descent and thats quick or you will be caught and god forbid have to race for your place back along the canal path to the finish. I manage to get back to the bottom of the incline with about 150yds between myself and the runner behind me. Now everyone knows you should never look back in a race as it costs you time, but every runner i know does this and if they say they dont there lying. I get to the canal bank and for a crazy moment think im in with half a chance of catching the runner in front. I try to sprint but realise my legs are like jelly and have not recovered from the Skiddaw fell race on Sunday. I am catching him but in the end he beats me by about 20 yds. i descover later that he is the first Under 20 runner. Im 38 so not too bad given ive got eighteen years on him. Things dont ache when your 20. A quick lime and soda in the bar and check my position and time and its another race done and time for home. I resist a filet of fish in Mcdonalds on the way back but have to have a Latte.
Monday, 6 July 2009
A couple of pieces of cake and its homeward bound down that M6 again.