Anyway, tonight was the Bamford Carnival Fell Race (how you hold a carnival in Bamford I don't quite know, I suppose they manage in Hayfield and Hathersage!). 3.75km and 298m of up-tiddly-up to Win Tit, before a slightly shorter banzai route back down - downhill all the way and highly runnable throughout the entire race (the total's 4.5 miles/1000ft to the Luddites!). I'd last run this race in 2008 in the high 36 minute timescale.
The last part of the Win Hill ascent.
There was a big turn-out tonight, both from Pennine (DazH, AdamP, SteveK, JoeN etc. etc.) and in the quality of the field (Bond, Baker, Northrop and more, including young whippet Christian who was 16 today so actually racing!).
Started quick to get through the gate and onto the road ahead of the hordes. Maybe a little too quick so I let some people head on by, keeping a steady if not electric pace. More road than I remember actually, but managed to stay in touch with Mick, Daz et al. as the road turned to track and the gradient ramped up; Steve's watch beeping behind me let me know he was having a good run and pushed me up the hill. A little bit too much hands-on-knees on the first bit (I don't know why, I felt OK. Saving myself a bit?) and a bit of flat before hanging a left at the top of Parkin clough - only to see Bond and Baker coming out of the gate leading from the clough, oops! (I can only hope Rob's navigation is as bad at the Harvester relays this weekend!).
Anyway, this gives me a little impetus up the hill and I pass Mick, Daz and a couple of others on the final ascent to the Tit, summiting in 20:15. Everyone's spreading out on the descent and I pass Mark from Glossopdale (I think) on the first bit. I'm gaining on the Fat Boy who placed well at Hathersage on the rough bit through the Gorse - as much as I enjoy fast grassy descents I love these steeper bits, glad I wore fell shoes if only for this bit - but he gapped me once we hit the track - legs feeling last night's intervals a bit perhaps?
I keep the pace up on the descent but without setting the world on fire (although my right heel feels that way!), maintaining the distance to Dave from DP. Hit the road and I'm closing rapidly, managing to pull out a sprint-finish for the first time in a while to finish 12th, just behind young Christian, downhill in 11:20, totalling 31:36 once you round-up.
As for the some other of Pennine, Adam finished 7th, DazH and Steve 15th and 16th respectively, prompting some excited chattering about the Relays later in the year, with Mary and Rob picking up the WV50 and MV60 gongs.
For most of the race I had 'Born to run' in my head after Bossing it up on the drive over. I thoroughly enjoyed the drive back, bombing along Rushup Edge to a bit of this:
Coming out of the dip in Marsh Lane to see a massive burning sun descending between the hills was quite magical, a fitting ending for a lovely evening. I'm gutted I didn't have a camera with me.