Saturday, 21 April 2012

Coledale Horseshow

I was most disappointed that there was no Donkey Derby, dressage or any of this:
going on when I arrived in Braithwaite last Saturday.

Then I realised I'd misread the FRA Calendar and the 1st British Champs/2nd English Champs race of the year was actually the Coledale HorseSHOE.
The race was expertly organised by the Robinsons, the best Fell Race set-up I've seen after last year's FRA Relays (only just pipping Lad's Leap!). As much as I enjoy the low-fi nature of the majority of Fell and Orienteering events, it's great to show up to the big events like champs races for them to be a little bit special. And free stuff (like the natty Buff we were given) is always welcome - as I said to Wil (Spain, DPFR), the only thing better than Free Stuff is Free Beer.

Anyway, the race. My plan was to conserve energy up the Monster climb of Grisedale Pike, then put the hammer down for the remaining 5 miles or so back home on the running that suited me more. There was a good group of us together on the ascent and I hung on in there manfully. Off the top I lit the afterburners and was soon sending people out the back door. I passed people on the scrabble up Eel Crag, but not as many as I was hoping, and the final ramp to summit Crag Hill was quite tortuous - it would appear that a lack of regular training in hills may not have a massive impact on my ability to ascend, but does have an impact on your ability to recover quickly for the next ascent. However, there was no problem with running on the flat and downs, so after 20secs cruising to get out of Oxygen Debt I pinned my ears back and went for the final descent to Braithwaite.
not looking too good on the descent. At least I had my grippy shoes this time!
It was really useful to be running through the women's race at this point as I had people to catch (the next man ahead was a way away). Alas someone had put the normally-insignificant Sail and Barrow in the way. I normally motor through shallow ramps like these, but today, legs still suffering from the first ascent, I slowed to a stagger and lost ground, if not places. However once back on the negative gradient I let fly, and by now I'd caught up the group in front (who were seemingly too far ahead as the path bellow sail splits for Causey Pike) to finish 75th in 81:16. Pleased with this in a pretty loaded field. More to come though and I'm looking forward to Summer Racing! I'd like to know what position I was in at the top of Grisedale - I reckon I may have gained 50 places from then on? Although I could just be puffing up my descending ability.

Big respect to fellow SPOOKer Sarah O'Neill who shocked all our cohort at the end as we asked her where she'd finished - 2nd isn't much of a surprise based on MM results and the way she left me up the back of Grey Friars in 2010.


  1. Nice one mate - 75th in a very packed field. You were looking strong at the finish.

  2. Excellent photo as ever, I see the photog has managed to capture the very essence of your manliness once again...