Sunday, 27 February 2011

MOD Stafford MTBO

Today was Stodge's Mountain Bike Orienteering head to head sprint at MOD Stafford - It comprised of a prologue race (to decide starting order) followed by the main event of 3 gaffles with 3 riders setting off on different loops at the same time.
It was a cold but dry morning until we got to within 5 miles of Stafford....then it got decidedly more wet! Perfect conditions to try out my new, white, Lichfield CC kit :-) (one machine wash down and the shorts are brown splattered still..)
I set off on the 5.4km prologue in between showers and had a reasonable clear, yet steady ride finishing in 27mins. I accidentally went to number 8 again instead of 21 just before the finish though therefore mispunched.
This wasn't a chasing sprint however so all that mattered was the main event! And a mp meant I got to set off sooner than I would have had I finished properly, which was a bonus as I was a bit cold by the second race!
The second race didn't start that well, with me folding half my first route off the map.....This lost me a minute or so, but I was clean technically and riding ok, then on my 2nd loop I noticed I'd folded the map wrong AGAIN! Another 30s lost but now all remaining controls were in view! I managed 2/3rds of the course well and made no major navigational errors, then the cold I have had for the last 2 weeks caught up with me and I lost time in the last third having to think every step through in slow motion :
'I need to go over there, How do I do that? That way, right, do I do that? Clip in and pedal...ok....'
The outcome of 45mins racing on the 8.8km course was what normally happens to me after 5hrs and not enough food :-) Hat's off to Stodge for providing an excellent challenge!
I finished in 15th overall (3rd Lady) which I was happy with as in terms of times that was possibly one of my best races to date...I'm looking forward to the rest of the MTBO season already!
I think I need to do a few intervals before the summer, for now I need to get rid of this cold properly (next weekend is actually 5hours of racing) ....and maybe some origami lessons would help with the map folding...

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Hilly Run in the peaks

Today I met up with JC and Shelf for some hilly training in the peaks. It looked like it was going to be another wet and windy training session but, by the time we had sorted out a route and made it around Ladybower and up to the top of the woods near Win Hill, the sun was out!
We set off from the A57, contoured round Ladybower res then headed up the hill to the corner of the forest. Next we lost all that height and dropped into the Edale Valley before heading straight back up to the edge path of Kinder. We headed round to Ringing Rodger then dropped into Edale, straight across and up Mam Tor, along to Lose Hill via Hollins Cross, another big descent and then finally, the last climb of the day was up Win Hill. Here we discovered JCs camera had no battery and so I had to make proof we were there....The total route was a little over 18miles with more than 1200m climb - got to get a fair bit of climb in ready for Switzerland! My legs were a little tired at the start, but soon got into the hills, shame my lungs had a few problems after 2 hours as the inhaler I took was on the empty side and that made my last few climb attempts a little rubbish....
We outran the weather though and got the best of the day! There was even enough time for a cuppa in Shelfs new van upon return to the A57 before the rain started!

Monday, 7 February 2011

2nd in the Open 5 - Kirkby Stephen

Yesterday was the open5 at Kirkby Stephen. After a break in the weather on Saturday which I made the most of, running Wansfell fell race (to 'test out' the ankle) and finishing in a close 3rd, Sunday saw the return of the gales and downpours....
Riding to the start it was already clear it was going to be a tough day! I really enjoyed the run which I did first and felt good despite the wind trying to push me off hills, getting all but 3 controls in a little over 2hrs, then came the bike. By this point I was already soaked right through, but was glad I didn't waste time changing any clothes at transition as within 800m of leaving transition I had found a river that was marked as a road on the map.....I got my first control then turned around into the headwind.
The ride continued much in this way except with bigger headwinds for a fair bit of it. I thought I had completely lost it by the time I'd reached my second bike control in just over an hour and was really not enjoying 'riding' into the wind so nearly gave up... but I got a 3rd control, then decided to carry on with my planned route. Half way to the next control, for the first time ever I decided to turn around instead of trying to get it. I thought there was not enough time in the conditions to ride the 1km left to the control...I was right! I took the straightest route back which happened to pass through another high pointer and rode down the river/bridleway finishing in 4hrs58 (incidentally the first time Ive made it back within 5hrs, maybe I should think more about how long biking takes me in future)!
I thought it was a good run but only 4 bike controls had removed any chance of me doing well, so was very happy to discover others had got just as many bike controls as me and I finished in 2nd :-)
A successful weekend and great fun (I can say that now I'm dry)....

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

It was bound to go wrong somewhere...

Last Wednesday I ran the Wart's night race from Burbage Bridge....well I ran all of the tough heather anyway....then hit a track and immediately crashed! This resulted in an egg shaped ankle and a couple of days off.

I tested it out at the weekend with a gentle run on Saturday revealing the large amount of strapping required for me to run offroad. On Sunday I ran Tigger Tor fell race, this '9.5' mile race (actually just under 9) took in similar terrain to Wednesday and I so I ran hard on all the places I am worst at running i.e. gentle uphill/flat/road and went very carefully on the bits I'm best at i.e. heather/tussocks/steep downhill. Songs were replaced in my head by 'concentrate concentrate concentrate' and 'don't race that woman even if she overtakes you' in order to prevent further crashes.

I made it round 8minutes faster than 2009 (although there is some question over which route is further...I think they are pretty similar tbh) and finished in 10th place which wasn't all that bad considering that was the first time I'd pushed my HR over an average of 157 since October....

My ankle is fine on the egg shaped bit - in fact was less egg shaped by the end of the race, however my tibialis posterior is a bit inflamed which might mean more rest....maybe 4hrs45 of biking and 15mins running at the next open5....hopefully I'll be ok to run a bit more than that!