Monday, 14 January 2013


Urra Moor in the clag
 Back to Teesside now after a great 'training camp' in the peak district over Christmas - many hilly miles in the bank.
The first weekend of January I was hoping to race at Clay Bank East, but a slight rib injury (after falling over, and aggravated after I was hauled out of the Brown Knoll Bog Monster by the CVFR elite) made me take caution. I took some pictures instead, as the clag rolled on to Urra Moor, turning a nice morning into a canvas of grey by the time the racers reached the high point of the North Yorkshire Moors.

It's time to resurrect my O-stylings. I've done bits and pieces over the back end of 2012, but not much, so I need a few sessions and races to get myself back into the whole nav side of things. First event of the year was a bit of a suffer-fest on Big Moor and The Edges (Froggat and Curbar) down in the peaks on Sunday. The tussocks were rough (and I managed to always pick the most tussocky line) and tired me out for when we went into the detailed slope beneath the edges. The terrain here was also tough courtesy of brashings and bracken. I managed to bonk as well, I was overtaken by an old man on the run-in and had to sit down on the (downhill) plod back to assembly - I must take better care of myself when weekend-warrioring it!
Curbar Edge 'Eliminates' area - including the 'PeaPod' - geograph
Still, you have to take the bad to appreciate the good, and hopefully there'll be a lot of the latter later in the season. The first biggish races of the year are at the beginning of February (Midlands Championships and the British Night Championships (UKCup 1) and another UK cup race) and I've got lots of O planned to hone my 'skills' before the big races of the year (the JK and British champs in all disciplines) at the end of March and through  April. Whilst I mainly O to have fun and catch up with people, it'll be nice if I can improve my nav this year!
Big Moor Quickroute

Onwards and upwards. There's no such word as can't

Tuesday, 1 January 2013


Post Christmas and it was time to put all the protein (turkey, sausage and bacon) and carbohydrates (beer and pastry) I'd shoveled down me to good use - pulling me downhill. I took the long drive up to Ambleside for the Wansfell race. Straight up Wansfell Pike then straight down, I was imagining myself bouncing up the hill with no effort required, before leaving scorched earth on the ground behind me on the way down.
The Route. More uphill than down!
Plenty of people about start - 140+ being a new record turn-out. Speaking to Darren from Chorley AC he says he hasn't seen any big names other than Sam Watson, and that I should be up there. I'm looking for some hiding superstars on the startline, and the Addison cousins provide.
We set off up the road. I'm expecting a fast start, 1500m pace, but we seem to cruise along the road. For a second I debate taking it on, setting the pace from the front, but opt to save myself for when the race really begins once we hit the fell - I'm happy to sit in in 5th place.
As we hit the fell the Addison cousins, Tom and Mark, shoot off the front. I take a slightly longer route through a gate and suddenly from there being not many people around, the hillside is swarming with runners, and I can hear cheers for Sam and Sarah McCormack behind me. I dig in and set a steady pace just behind Penistone's Joe Mann. A few people pass me but I'm still grinding it out and not losing too much ground.
Up we go - courtesy Stephen Graham
Several of us hit the summit cone together and I think I'm 7th at the top, knowing that Tom from Glossopdale is right behind me. A few gulps of air and it's time to start going down. It takes a bit of time to make my first overtake (Joe), but I'm now into my stride and make short work of the Ambleside and Eden runners in 4th and 5th.
I don't know the line down the hill, only that it is down, so I spend a lot of time looking for Sam, who I know will have a descent line, being a bit of a short-race don. Thankfully Sam has a big ginger beacon on top of his head and so is quite easy to spot.
I can't hear anyone behind me, but you can't really hear footsteps on soggy grass, so I keep on pushing just in case. Into the finish and I'm pleased to see only 3 others waiting for me beyond the finish line. My watch says 21:58 and I'm well happy with 4th place and, with Tom in 5th and Joe in 10th, it's a good day out for those of us from the Derbyshire/S. Yorks Pennines.