Fell running race 2:01:55  20.0 km (6:06 / km) +1340m 4:34 / km
shoes: Innov8 Xtalon 2017 #2
3 Shires FR Win!
Pete and Jack tempted me in to running this a week or two ago when I wasn't that keen but felt I needed another good run to get in to the team for the relays (especially given an exciting new recruit!). On the drive up Pete and I were looking forward to it but noticed the field wasn't quite so strong bar Pete, Chris Arthur and Vic Wilkinson so tried to give him the lowdown of the lines
At the start I went off hard (as per) and expected Pete to come with me but as in previous year I just hung off the front about 50m ahead for the first mile and a bit before being gradually reeled in by Pete with Messrs Wright and Simpson in close attendance. A proper Ambleside peloton! Hit the climb and found a decent route but Pete was really strong and got a gap of about 30-40m which never extended or closed. Knew I was feeling ok when I started to push on from Pez and summited Wetherlam about 20-30s down. Closed a bit on the descent to Prison Band. Before climbing at a similar pace to Pete again up to Swirl How. Got some much needed water on this bit and words of encouragement from Matt. We were clear! And my legs felt awesome!
Contouring round Great Carrs next, picked up the trod but was a bit too cautious and scoffed at Pete dropping down before hitting the path too high . Caught back up a bit as he faffed with his map and celebrated finding the cairn. Switched off again and initially followed him down before remembering the race trod and contouring in to it. Popped out on the path just in front of him and led him in to Wrynose summit to an ecstatic Dan Duxberry. Got a bit of a gap on the descent which I needed as he reeled me back in comfortably on the first part of Blisco. Had a quick check backwards and saw Pez was still losing time to us. My legs felt pretty good and I was able to tap out a decent pace on the flatter bit and switching down to a walk on the steeper. Luckily Pete was the same, out-wurzelled him on one bit by accident climbing past a turn in the trod before dropping back on to it. Still climbing well but let him go slightly on the top plateau to take a short easy period before the descent.
Caught back up as it steepened and hit the trod pretty well was close to pulling out a gap at one point but never too far ahead. Managed to not fuck up the bottom bit this year and got down to the wall crossing bang on. Pulled out a bit on the shitty section of the descent despite nearly stacking it then lower down I did stack it just before the woods. Was running a bit gingerly through the woods and Pete closed up before latching back on up the incline to the road (this hurt a bit).
Turned off the road to a still ecstatic Duxberry and spied Matt up the hill. It became tactical here as Pete know he needed to drop me, whilst I knew if I was with him at the top I'd be in with a chance providing I could hold him off on the flat fields at the bottom. Started making a pace and Pete closed, and closed and crept past. Stuck in behind him and made it up to Matt as a twosome. Quick check back and the gap was still pretty big. Passed a few tourists and the hill levelled, I knew last year I was dying at this point but I felt really strong still. Hit a small downhill section and went back to the front. Putting in a bit of a dig up the bottom of the last pull. Got a few cheers up here "Go on Jack!". Got to the top just as my legs began to tire. 1:48...was sub-2 on?
Knew the descent line well so just went for it. Knew Pete wouldn't come past up on the fell so tried to get a bit of a gap. Strangely the last little uphill didn't hurt as much this year got on to the zig-zags and couldn't see Pete anymore. Came out on to the road and had a quick glance, did I have enough? In to the fields and another glance, still not sure. Through the annoying gate and in to the last field, I'm clear! Glance at the watch 1:59:50.....shit missed it. Big push in to make sure I was sub 2:03:24 (it's an important time, isn't it Jack ;) ).
Swirl How 55:40
Three Shires 62:30
Pike O'Blisco 79:00
Blea Tarn 95:30
Reckon I could have been maybe 90s quicker if I'd been a bit more bang on the lines and attacked the Blisco descent a bit more. To be sub-2 reckon it would be about 1min quicker by Blisco, 90s by Blea Tarn and 30s quicker up Lingmoor. It is possible!