Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Burbage Skyline Fellrace, 33rd out of 288

This was the 3rd year in a row I'd be turning up for this early season classic and boy is it good ! This is why I love this race so much - each section has it's very own character...

* Chaotic start funnel with people charging and overtaking everywhere, then suddenly turn left and bam !

* The mad descent through boulders heather and old bracken to the stream. Made trickier by people EVERYWHERE ! Leave a 2m gap and someone's in there! People are taking every imaginable route that exists and routes that don't exist. Half way you cross the main burbage track. Time to speed up - the stream ain't far now!

* After leaping the stream (photo at bottom) there's a crazy hard climb to make up places you thought you lost cos you weren't fast enough on that stupid descent (or is that just how I always see it!)

* Flat out descent through very very narrow and twisty heathery trod. The guy in front of me is always threatening to pull away on this section but every year I keep him in check but sadly every year I max out on this section and regret it when I get to the next section which is the...

 Steep pull up to Over Owler Tor / Mother Cap. I always dread this as I hit the bottom of it maxed out from that bloody twisty heathery trod. It's all pretty steep and every section just cries out to me "please please please walk these few steps", but as ever in these fell races it's very hard to slow down with the guys behind seemingly closing in all the time. Lots of big boulder hopping and steps up on this section which had an angle that thankfully gradually eases until the marshalled summit 

* "Flat" section over to Higgar Tor. Well, I say flat but it's the rockiest section of the race. The guy in front of me went straight over into the heather and Andy Watson went over on his ankle here pretty badly too on the night. It's a very "uppy downy" flat section punctuated with rocks on the first half followed by some bogs then the steep hand on thigh climb to Higgar summit. All the time guys behind you breathing down your neck. Amazing views to die for to the left though at this point ! Sadly, each year I remember the winds here being really really bad - from rain that felt like sleet one year to winds that this year felt like they were going to blow my race number off the front of my vest!

* This is then followed by the (boggy this year) traverse of Higgar to the "fast descent to the stream". It's perfect descending territory in theory. Most people just either run fast and sensible (like me) or just plain stupid - running down rutted paths faster than I'd run down tarmac'd roads! Nice n fast tho normally with no incidents apart from 5 lost places normally then it's onto the

* Stream crossings plus climb to Upper Burbage Bridge. I normally do ok on this section overtaking about 5 people (normally the 5 who came past me on the last descent!). Two leaps over the stream (no, don't ask why we cross it twice when we could stay on the original side - god only knows, I've never had the chance to look) and then it's the long steady boggy gradual climb to the bridge. Nice n non technical really and a good chance to get your breath back before ...

Crossing the Stream just after the Start. People everywhere ! (courtesy of Front Runner)
* Crossing the brook (twice - how'd that happen?) and climbing over Burbage North before the super fast descent to the finish line. I always love this section as I normally make up lots of places here. It's a very gradual climb through rocks n easy paths but most people really are tiring by this spot in the race. Always good to hold something back for this bit as it goes on for ages. After the long climb, it's a short sharp twisty narrow descent to the main track and then it's really just 10k pace to the finish line. Thankfully it's a gradual descent until about 200m before the line, so just make sure you hold something back for that final 200m cos someone will be waiting to pounce, that's for sure.

Loved it again this year. It really is the best local summer race. It's got everything as you can gleam from above. I ran well despite not running much (not run in 8 days) I'd biked hard about twice a week and that got me through. For me it's "Biking well = Running well".

Good to have a few Belper Harriers out - Nathan, Ed, Andy W, Andy M, Chris and Helen. Andy Basey made a guest appearance too with Hannah.

Well done to Nathan for 22nd I think on the night - our top finisher on the night. Also thanks to Chris for driving and Andy Basey for actually turning up to something for once !

Results From Previous Years...
2015 33rd out of 288 (Top 11%) in 45:53
2014 43rd out of 310 (Top 14%) in 46:42
2013 51st out of 358 (Top  14%) in 45:38

 (2015 results link here)

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