First time I've tackled this race - always been on my radar, but I think it's always been the same week as Blackamoor. I've done Blackamoor the last 2 years now so this year it was time for a change.
There's not many fell races which start this close to my house - about 8 miles away, so with such a great evening, I thought I'd cycle there getting in a couple of climbs on the way.
|Andy "Hand on Heart a Harrier" showing true allegiance!|
It's a downhill start and pretty soon everyone was at the first stile and it was gridlock. People appeared from all angles trying to jump it and once over it, it was single file through mud down to the stream. Soon we were on to the first climb. I'd done this climb as a descent a few Sunday mornings ago with Karl and Marcus and we commented then how good that path would be on a race.
|Starting Lea - Up High Leas, down to Cromford Station, Up Through Riber Woods,|
along Hearthstone, Down High Leas
I'd been running behind Rachel Chambers all the way up the climb and her partner Rob D took me on that last descent. Both these guys are strong runners (Rachel often wins Peaks fell races for women) so when I took them near the top of the next climb I told them "I think I'm gonna regret this!" as I thought I was past maxed out already!!!
Thankfully the flat run along Hearthstone Lane and then up and over the high point felt easy, so I was able to keep pushing all the way. It could have gone either way as I've done some races this year where the second half has been a struggle for survival - not this one thankfully! Not sure what to put it down to - three possible options
- I had energy drink on the way there
- I'd been MTBing the weekend (cycling's always better for my races than running)
- I'd not run for 10 days
All in all an absolutely fantastic evening. Classic fell racing with hard climbs and fast descents, perfect weather, lots of harriers and Teresa and Lewis to cheer me on. Plus a lovely cycle home too along the Cromford Canal with Andy W.
As I said to Chris afterwards "fell racing doesn't get much better than that".
|Note the two Big Climbs ! (and two great descents)|
Strava Flyby here