Since I'd had a couple of good weeks of training under the belt I thought it was time to tackle some real trails!
Last weekend I headed up to Maclears Beacon from the Nek and since that went well I found myself entering The Bastille Day trail festival! I wasn't stupid or anything (am I ever?) I didn't enter the 50km just the 35km.. I did want to test myself and I knew I was good for the 25km (15km just not worth it) so it was time to up the anti...
I wasn't going to race, just run steady and see if I could be in the mix.
With a 07h00 start it was dark, very dark! The cloud cover and light rain didn't make the start any easier. With my (punting my shoes) Salming trails shoes and an 'Extreme Lights' head lamp I found myself in the lead...
|those aren't stars, those are rain drops|
This was not the plan... but I went with it!
Edson, William, and Dylan went with me and we pulled ahead. I promise I wasn't really pushing (to hard). Edson was the first to go ahead and then William past after a steep climb. We stayed in touch for a couple of km, but being in the dark I let a little gap grow and kept telling myself to run my own race. Dylan had lost some ground and I ran the contour to the saddle alone.
I've done the 25km a number of times and at this point they head down to the river while we follow the 50km route along another not so flat contour rapping round the mountain. While I was running on my own I was catching and passing the slower 50km guys who had started 30min before us. This path isn't smooth and easy to run on... and I don't dance over the rocks like 20 km ago!
Dylan caught me as the path eased so I kept him behind and we pushed on.
At the bottom we had a couple of river crossings, it's good the see the rivers flowing, but we need more! The 50km turned off our route at this time to climb a peak! (I hear it wasn't friendly up there, and by morning it was covered in snow!) Unknown to us James had been dancing down the technical single tracks and was right with us as we wadded through another deep river. The scramble up the other gave me a couple of meters and as the legs warmed up I started to run...
I want to say we were on an old gravel road, but not even a Hilux would manage this road! That said the running was easy and I dropped James and Dylan was only just holding on. I love this sort of fast trail weaving along the single tracks. With the mountain to the left and the Dam to the right we headed to the Dam wall... OK it was more of a desert to the right! Will have to come back and run this again when the dam is full, must be amazing.
The dam wall is fenced, so we run a full km past before crossing the river (flowing from the dam) 30km down. Dylan and I were still together, but since I had been gunning it into the wind for the last hour I had nothing left... 3 hours was plenty running for me today and with 5km still to go I lost my 3rd place. James was next to catch me and the tired legs didn't want to race any more. Maybe the cold had taken more out of me than I had put in, but maybes weren't getting me to the finish line, so I had to push on... slowly. I lost 10min to Dylan in those 5km and dropped down to 9th place (2nd 40+).