First race in a Pennine Vest, and a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Wasn't expecting much, just hoping to enjoy myself and run cleanly. On waking I was glad to see (or not see) Kinder and its outliers shrouded in mist. I was off fairly early, with Muir 30secs ahead and Tom (from Durham Uni who is normally just ahead of me) about 9mins ahead.
Score format: 12 controls, get them all, 1:25k OS map. Really well planned, with route choice, microRC, contouring, tough decisions and 'fine' nav all catered for.
Took the Snake path to K12, which worked well as I took some time out of Muir, who went around the road. Then bearing to the strem junction/grouse buts and straight up the line to the final but and K9 - lots of people drifting off to the right here so as not to loose very little ground - but they then missed the stonking great path up the buts (whay!). To K4 on Hollingworth clough I made my biggest mistake. I took the 'Orienteering line' - around the knott and a nice handrail (valley and clough), impossible to miss the control. However, there was a trod around the grouse buts to the south of the Knott, and it was generally quicker running - naturally I think I lost a bit of time here (along with a shoelace stop). Muir popped up behind me - first time I'd seen him.
K3 and K6 on the western flank were no problem - managed to nail the contour each time and the features were very obvious (walls perpendicular to the slope). At 6 I caught Tom (9mins) which was a surprise. Muir was still <50m behind me - we had a convoy! Contoured around towards the downfall. Should have dropped down (I saw someone drop down and thought they were being daft) - as it turned out we were far too high, about 50m above the kite (K1). However, by now the clag had cleared and it we could see it easily. There followed a rather steep and exciting descent, with many calls of 'below!'. The contour towards K10 near Red Brook was fairly easy - people were coming in the opposite direction and I'd had a good look across on the way to the downfall. Muir was still hanging on, but we'd dropped Tom. Then a balls-out descent to the plantation (K8) before a bit of a slog uphill to K5. Wasn't entirely sure of the walls so played it safe - crossing where I could see a gap - only to have to deviate more to round a fenced off area, but still not much time lost. NIce and easy to K2 - apart from the ankle-breaking tussocks that is! - bit of a slog to K11 before hitting some flatter ground to K7. Then it was all out to the finish - 4km of downhill/flat running on grass and road. Pinned my ears back and went for it - took me until the road below Tunstead before I managed to drop Muir and the guy who'd joined our group at K2. The 4km from last control to the finish took 14 mins (including stiles - not bad after 15km of terrain bashing, and I was surprised to be feeling quite fresh!
2nd back, 12th overall, 16mins down on Neil in a pretty handy field. I was at the back end of a group stretching from 5-12th separated by 4 minutes. Maybe the trod route to Hollingworth would have saved me this?
Happy with how I went, especially through some of the rougher stuff, and pleased to still have a bit in the tank at the end. Looking forward to working my way to the top of this little group!
HRM spent a fair amount of time closer to my belly button than sternum!
Oh, and the shoes were awesome!