Thursday, 7 August 2014

Tour of Fife race 2

Hill of Tarvit 7/08/14
Superb weather for today's trail and hill race. Michael picked me up early and we sat in slow traffic for quite a while wondering how people manage this on a daily basis. The commute, not the racing. The racing is absorbing and competitive and probably not as taxing as the travelling. Must follow the lead of those Helensburgh babes and rent a cottage one year, although they seemed to be having fun and games with the hot water supply right enough. Easier to get home and handwash kit and eat and blog and sleep and do it all again...

In previous years this venue has been used for a 3 lap course of cross-country like terrain: undulating and mostly off road. This year they changed the route and after one lap in the opposite direction to normal we ran up the back and onto the hill and round the perimeter of the hill, over the top and back down, through the woods and onto the posh lawn to finish as usual. Since we arrived in plenty time we did a recce of the hill bit and I took photos. I had been thinking I would carry the camera in the race but decided not to, and that the recce photos plus any taken by spectators would cover the ground.

This photo by Paul Roarty is not pretty but tells it as it was: steep & sweaty through the undergrowth.

The start was frantic. Probably Craig L was to blame - he had a below par run yesterday and so went out the blocks today hell for leather leaving a few of us to wonder if we would or should try to keep up. It was downhill on tarmac and Mr Garmin says 5.23 for the first mile and that probably includes a fair bit of the narrow trail round the back of the golf course. I was in 5th place here as Craig dropped back and was replaced with Billy G a fellow Dundee Hawkhill Harrier. I had been doing too much jibber jabber in the warm ups and not enough fast strides and felt the pace was tough on the rise back to the start. Only just holding on I enjoyed the repeat downhill but was not looking forward to the steeper climb ahead.

photo Keith

photo Jackie

I was pleased to note that a couple of the runners ahead were enjoying things less than myself and began to come back as the path crept through the woods and out onto the hill. As I climbed the stile someone said hello or well done and I would have looked to check who this was only I was watching the ground. The cattle had left uneven dunts and hoofprints across the grass and it made for heavy going. This gave an advantage to those of us who train lots off road and those like Michael blessed with uphill legs. He gained ground over possibly the whole field and came past with relative ease. I did all I could to keep with him and we gained a bit of ground, moving up to 3rd and 4th. 

After a long climb on rugged ground we got to the high point where we had taken these photos earlier. Michael peaked in third but knew I'd be going past before we were out the trees. There was no time to admire the scenery so it was nice to have been up earlier with the camera to record it. I was now in third and felt it would be ideal to keep things like this. I knew Billy would be after me but also knew it was pretty much downhill to the finish.  

I enjoyed belting through the trees then there was a sharp turn and a diagonal towards the other stile back into the shrubby bit. 

photo Jackie

photo Keith

This stile was a recipe for disaster; with a tripwire just before the steep steps, or tempting one to hurdle the wire and the steps onto the rooty ground below. Bearing in mind the potential for breaking an ankle and having to do the rest of the tour on crutches I eased back and gingerly climbed  down the steps.

From the steps it was a blast down pretty steep dirt trails but you could go flat out bearing in mind a last minute zig-zag before turning onto the manicured lawn below the big house. I am proud to note the garmin misread my last 19 seconds at 3.53pace. Since it was on the flat I doubt that was the case but I did enjoy the last mile more than the first 2. Paul Roarty's photo above records the wreckage arriving behind! Third place and very pleased. I hope (in a friendly-competitive way mind!) the surrounding company have trashed their ascending legs before tomorrow's up-hill time trial which is traditionally my low point of any Tour. Michael was pleased to have gained a couple of places tonight from yesterday's 7th place finish to 5th today. If the up hill had been longer he would have climbed further still.

Dundee Hawkhill Harriers (the competition!)

As the dust settled I recognised Keith (and Jackie) from my distant and recent past. He lives in Cupar and I had thought about telling them we were just along the road tonight. However I didn't want to burden him with the obligation to come out and cheer. However he had worked out the schedule and it was himself at the stile taking photos and cheering  - and although I had gone past twice I totally failed to notice him, or rather I saw there was folk there in my peripheral vision but didn't recognise who they were.

the smiley girls
All had a good run tonight particularly Melissa, the hill-walking and hill-racing paying off.

Another tour of Fife on the way home - diversions again.

short and sharp tonight, and (in my opinion) much improved from the 3 lap version.

1 comment:

  1. Really enjoying this blog, as a runner some way back from you... And anybody whose presence winds up my clubmate John Mill is welcome!