Friday, 12 May 2017

Teenager with Altitude race, 16.7 mile 2,100m. Ace race!

This race had been on my radar for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I'd heard it was a toughy - always a good sign for a proper day out on the fells. Secondly, during the long Buttermere race 2 years ago, we did an absolutely epic descent off Whiteless Pike down and up to Newlands. This descent really is something else and someone said that "it's the same descent they use in the Teenager with Altitude (TWA) fell race. That particular descent off Whiteless Pike (Strava) is worth doing the race for on its own...

  • Virtually all runnable (despite the top section being over 45 degrees and through heather)
  • It has a convex slope so you get the technical steep bit out the way first then can relax and enjoy the fast bit at the bottom
  • Views are terrific coming up to it and whilst on it.
  • It's non technical !!!! Grassy most of the way with the bottom half being super fast (well, not in my case but it's all relative hey!)

Teenager with Altitude Route

A very quick WhatsApp discussion with Nathan way back in Jan and we're both booked on. We had to book on quickly as it only had about 60 spaces due to National Trust restrictions (so I understand?). Funnily enough you will see the race results show about 130 runners finishing, so I'm not entirely sure what happened there with the numbers restriction??

As this race fell at the end of our Easter School holidays, this was a great excuse to shoehorn in another long family weekend in the lakes in the campervan. We decided to stay at Castlerigg Hall campsite - somewhere we'd tried to get in previous years but it's often booked up and it's easy to see why. Absolutely stunning place to stop, views, cleanliness, tranquility, near to Keswick and we even had TV reception in the van which was a very unexpected surprise!
TWA Route Profile
Race day dawned and seeing as I never miss an opportunity to get out with my camera, I found myself up before sunrise heading out on my MTB with tripod and filters capturing some lovely quiet shots down at Tewet Tarn and Castlerigg. Managed to avoid the crowds at Castlerigg (loads of tripods down there for dawn) - I didn't fancy jostling for position whilst they all waited for the sun to rise so I snook to Tewet first to see noone, then an hour after sunrise went back to Castlerigg when they'd all gone to see noone. Just how I like it!

I cycled to the race start with Teresa and Lewis heading down slightly later for Lewis's kids race (which was epic in itself) and very soon bumped into some friendly faces - Steve Burt, Nathan and Graham. Nathan and Graham had camped in Grange with Graham soon to move to Aberdeen and managing to get a last minute entry to the shorter race on the day - The Anniversary Waltz.

The Whiteless Pike descent "TWA Plummet" on Strava
The race went as well as can be expected with only having done two 3 mile races all year! Well, to be fair it went better than could be expected. Started ok but got better as the race went on finishing pretty well in about 3h54. A couple of unplanned "calls of nature" could have saved me 5 mins but I'm not splitting hairs on my time - it was an absolutely fantastic day out! Certainly a race I'd do again and maybe not in such quite idyllic conditions next year - I was always dreading gettings cramps as it was so sunny but they never quite materialised! The only thing I would have done different is use different shoes or ones with better tread. Within a few metres of descending the first trig point (Causey Pike) I slipped on a descent which lost me confidence all the way through the descending sadly. New walshes with tread please next time! I used my New Balance MT00's which are lovely but they need replacing soon.

Results here
Strava here
Strava flyby here - sit back and relax whilst humming the Benny Hill music to yourself!

Early on race day - Castlerigg Stone Circle after everyone had gone!

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

New Dungeon Ghyll (Harrison Stickle) Fell Race. Awesome!

I always like to try out new fell races and especially new fell races in the Lakes! I'd got "executive clearance" to go away for the weekend, so the choice was Muncaster Luck, Kong Mini MM in Coniston or this. When I told a few folk I was heading to the Lakes to run a 3 mile race people couldn't quite believe me. They started to believe me when I said it would take me nigh on 1 hour, but enjoyment of races is sooo much more than stats!

By all accounts this is a classic short fell race and it really lived up to expectations. Low key start (in Sticklebarn), a very small field (only 61 runners but some top names out), change out of £5 and a route profile that would get a double take from even a mountain goat!

The simplicity of running to the top of a mountain and back down is what got me into fell running in the first place and this race certainly ticked that box - all 736m of it!
Approaching the summit of Harrison Stickle. Way steeper than it looks!!
The terrain was as expected - very steep and semi-path on the climb (up to 736m!) and rocky / grassy and slippy on the descent - really exhilarating stuff. Legs and lungs felt fine on the climb despite not really running all year but as ever it was the descent that caught me out! Nice to see Kieran and Neil there too from Erewash.

Results here 40th out of 61
Strava link here
Strava flyby here
New Dungeon Ghyll Fell Race Route

Yep - that's about how steep it was!

Monday, 30 January 2017

Tigger Tor Fell Race 2017 41/380

Always been one of my favourite races this one. Third time I think I've done it now and it never disappoints. Highlights of this race for me ;

* Always muddy - lots of the route is on trods
* Lots of the route is on small trods and not on big tracks
* There's climbs all the way through the race
All smiles after the race - thanks no doubt to Helen's nuffins!!! (Helen had dashed off in this shot)

I seemed to feel very good yesterday despite not being at all race fit. Not run I don't think in January due to knees aching and heel hurting but the time off has helped me recover so I could tackle this fresh. Lots of biking including a 108 miler to Rutland last weekend so legs are fine.

The weather was the best I've run this race in - misty to start then blue skies. I probably should have took a little water / more food as I was flagging slightly as we hit the final road - not much of a spring in my step when last year there definitely was! Special well done to Wendy - this being her first proper fell race and loving it by the sounds of it! Thanks to Nathan for driving

Forgot to start my Strava so it didn't record. Doh!!!

Strava Flyby here
2017 Results here 41/380, 1h25:59 (slightly shorter course)
2016 Results here  23/341, 1h26:41
2016 write up here
2010 Results here 21/307