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!