Monday, 4 February 2013

Open 5 - Cheddar

Female pairs winners
 Last weekend was the latest Open 5 in the series, this time down in Cheddar. Whilst I have friends in Bristol, I'd never made it to Cheddar before so was looking forward to going to yet another new place and seeing the highlights courtesy of Eddie Winthorpe!
It wasn't all smooth running in the weeks before the race, however I did at least have 'some' skin on my heel by race day (3wks of healing and only 'some').
My heel after too much fun in the snow a couple of weeks ago...
 After a long trip down I was pretty knackered (and I had been most of the week), but a good nights sleep at my friends in Bristol set me up to start well.
We decided to try out bike then run as I wasn't all that confident my heel would still have skin on it after running.
Biking to control 16

The bike route was ace, a fast road section before a killer hill climb where I was glad of my 3 chain rings and we were on the top of the gorge. There was a good mix of fast moving and really fun descents...oh and a bit of mud thrown in there too! I think it's fair to say that me and Rosemary are the most incompatible pairing as far as strengths and weaknesses go, on any road section I'll be hanging onto her wheel, off road however and I can get the upper hand, with technical descents my favourite! This route had the best of both worlds meaning (in the main) we could ride together well, both getting to ease off at times where the other wasn't as comfortable - well done Eddie, up until now I have felt a lot more like it was a game of chase Rosemary's wheel!

I actually had to run especially for James to get this photo (there might have been some walking going on before we saw him...)
A slight over estimation in the length of the bike route meant we arrived in transition almost half an hour later than planned. A slick change and we were off on the 'run'....well, talking of strengths and weaknesses, my normal strength for running had disappeared somewhere on the bike section. The hills were a plod at best. In the above photo its a wonder I'm smiling, I think that was the last grin of the race... I don't think I've ever felt so bad on a run ever. The tiredness of the last week had well and truly caught up with me.

We headed across the fields and down to a control and some of my usual spring returned, but something was still a bit funny, I was pretty out of breath and concentrating was difficult.
 Rosemary offered help with the nav - only trouble was I was so wrecked that concentrating on my planned route was enough for me at that point. What she was suggesting was so different to what I had planned I didn't know what to do with it. I decided I must be being overly cautious with my route as I was feeling so rubbish and Rosemary was clearly expecting us to go further, I'd just have to man up and get on with it....turns out I should have stuck to my guns, the help was offered off small glances at the map, not on an actual overall plan.
Yet again we got caught out by the control with the best name on the map, visiting 'totty pot' (10 points) instead of my planned control (15 points) and got a bonus 1.5-2km thrown in for free! By the last control I knew why the run was so much effort, for the second time in a month I was having a small asthma disaster. It was all I could do to keep moving, so it was a bit of a stagger into the finish 12.5mins late - 35points lost.

Thank god we had a good solid bike section to fall back on - we took the win by 42points but I think we were lucky this time! For now we are the series leaders, but we'll have to stop being late back if we're going to stay that way!

In the week after the Jan open 5 I did a full weeks training with highlights of a track session, spinning and lots of fell running in the lakes. This week I'll be happy if my back, legs and chest stop hurting - one things for sure, we definitely went hard enough this time :-)