Monday, 22 April 2013

Calderdale Hike 2013, 37 mile, 6000ft

Great Shot of the Emblem of Calder Valley : Stoodley Pike
Photo Courtesy of Nick Ham
After enjoying last years Calderdale Hike so much, it was always going to be on the cards that I'd enter again this year. And seeing as the Fellsman is two weeks later, this race serves as perfect prep for that one. This year though, I was a little apprehensive going into this one - not had many good runs all year really (legs feeling tired at the end of runs or just completely jaded) and been dogged with back niggles then snow so no form to speak of.

What the hell - 37 is a distance that you can almost 'wing it', so I guess I just thought - how bad can it actually be ? Well, as it turned out - quite bad really !

The weather was great and none of the big names from last year were there, so heading to CP's 1 & 2 I was right at the front - very worrying for me! Martin Beale was now running alongside, so I knew he'd just start pulling away and generally - he did. There's lots of climbing in this race and it comes all the way through - start, middle and end (finish on top of a hill!) so there's no resting up. I think I attacked the climbs at the start a little too hard - struggling to keep up with Adam Worallo setting a hot pace up to Hoof Stones Moor. He was running really well and pulled away easily on the moors (but later found out he was going too fast here and only finished 5 mins ahead of me) as too did Simon Bourne who would eventually overtake 6 of the 7 people in front of me and finish 2nd.

Start is in bottom right corner, going clockwise
The section over to the reservoirs was completely different in character to last year. We were banned from going on the direct bearing due to landowner issues (fair enough) so we were ordered to stick to the fence line. Well - that was a hell of a lot longer than last year with I think about 10 mins added here and quite a bit of climbing too. It was hot now and coupled with the over keen pace with Adam earlier, I felt the energy ebbing away and my legs slowed progressively all the way to Bronte Bridge. Blimey - the legs really didn't want to stretch out at all here and coupled with tummy issues, some very dark thoughts were going through my head about this race, my next race and all future races !!!

Nasty thoughts quickly dispatched to the back of my mind - a dib at the checkpoint and serious jelly baby intake saw me slowly pick up pace again to my usual "Ultra pace" heading back over towards Pecket Well kind of area. The climbs carried on thick and fast and now some of the short race tail enders made me feel super speedy as I passed a good few of them with cheery smiles and a quick hello going out to them all.

The climb out of Pecket Well is really not good. It's quite nasty to be honest and eventually drops you onto some very boogy moorland. Nice. Oh, and to make it worse, that's then followed by my nemesis - around 2 miles of road running - very harsh on the legs!!
Pretty unrelenting climbing then !!!
I didn't really see anyone in front / behind me from High Withens onwards so really started to settle into the solo rhythm and just enjoy the freedom of the fells for a while. I knew the route and exactly what was in front of me, so pushing a hard but sustainable pace was all I had to do - and something that comes natural really - never one to ease off.

Heading up the final grind to the finish line felt far harder this year than last. My legs had less in reserve than last year but I had no idea why. I was therefore very surprised to see my time just 10 mins slower than last year and - seeing as I reckoned this years route was 10 mins longer than last years - I was basically in line with last years time. This was probably why the legs were hurting now so much. In fact in the days after the race, I can honestly say that my legs ached more than I have ever suffered in all my years of running and Mountain Marathons !

Great race though and very friendly folk. Results took about a week to come out which is why I haven't posted this before.

8th Overall (same as last year), 6h 18m
Results here
gpx here
Strava link here

1 comment:

Unknown said...

New route for 2015, please visit the Calderdale Hike website for further information.