Thursday, 13 January 2011

3rd at the Open 5 - Sutton Bank

I've been a bit quiet over the last month or so....and that's because I've basically done nothing (well apart from sit in a room, read papers and write a review with the very occasional run/bike). So I set myself a target - lit review to be finished an entire 5 days early so that I could do the open5 without thinking about bone metabolism every 2 minutes.

Friday at 7pm it was finished! On Saturday it was time for a leg stretch - I ran up fairbrook to find the first of DPFRs 'roving boxes' - a new challenge for 2011 involving running, navigation (of sorts) and a fair bit of looking under rocks! Oddly I felt like I'd never seen a hill before and my descending skills had completely disappeared! My balance and coordination had gone out the window - I think my brain capacity for the month had been used up!

A good nights sleep and my brain was back in gear, just in time!

It was a bit chilli up at Sutton Bank, with ice covering a fair bit of the ground. It was the first outing for my skins tri shorts, but I had to put some long tights on as well in the cold. I decided to run first as I'm more confident with distance judgement and route choice with running. There were two key climbs in the route (and a bonus one if I was feeling good), but for about the first hour I managed to run on the flat or downhill. I felt strong on the first big climb, so on the second added in another control before going for a bit of descent and the third climb.
I was out for just over 2hours, only missed 3 controls and covered just over 10miles. The route wasn't perfect, mainly because I thought a track was entirely out of bounds when it wasn't, so ran into and out of my first control the same way, adding on a fair bit of unnecessary distance....

After a brief stop to eat a sandwich and take a picture of another team, it was onto the bike. I had a much better route planned than the last Open5 I did, it was just a matter of which way round to go....I decided to head anticlockwise which, in some ways was a good choice as it meant I didn't reach the icey track unexpectedly at the end of my ride, but also meant I spent 45minutes getting to my first control. I heard somebody say 'I've seen glaciers with less ice on than that track'.....

After that bit of hike a bike, I picked up another icey control before deciding to go only for controls close to the road....the next control, although on a road, was also extremely icey and by this point I'd been out for over 3.5hrs out of the 5hrs.
The steep climb to the next control resulted in my legs almost giving up, but I decided to ignore them and hammered it round to my final two controls. Again I found myself pushed for time
and rode as fast as possible to the finish, ending up 2mins 25 over time - 6 points deducted but worth that last control! Just over 16miles covered...not my quickest pace ever but not bad given the ice...I found the riding very tough!
I'm undecided if my route choice was a good one or not on the bike, if I'd gone clockwise I would have got more of the high pointers at the end of my ride, but might have gone for number 18 anyway and found myself stuck on ice and extremely late back, who knows!

The choice of skins tri shorts was a good one as it removed some of the faff from transition, as well as being comfortable on both sections! I can see a new favourite garment being chosen.... It was also the first time I'd raced in new balance 749s which were great on the trails, just cushioned enough without being high enough for me to go over on my ankle in rougher sections (as I've found happens with some other shoes...).

My total was 404points putting me in 3rd position - more than I could have hoped for with the amount of time off recently! I mainly need to improve my route selection ( it has never been my strong point but is getting better) as fitness is coming back quite quickly! The best way to do that is do the rest of the open 5 series! :-)

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