Liverpool XC - Senior Men - 66th, 22nd u23
Fancied a big race and after years of listening to the hype from this event, I decided to come down with Alex this year. It was the sort of race which really needed a taper but I wasn't so results focused and wanted to see what I could do without one. In the end the heavy gym/track combo on Thursday was definitely still in the legs so was a bit wobbly in the really muddy sections (70% of the loop) but otherwise not feeling too bad.
Set off at a comfortable stride pace before settling down to a jog in the first bend chaos. Stuck just behind Kris and Dane for the first few corners but wasn't particularly comfortable, being unable to move across the corridor and see more than 2m in front at any one time. Eventually things settled down and seemed less rushed. I relaxed into my right rhythm and let Dane go (Kris long gone) by the end of the first lap. Couldn't have held on, at least comfortably enough to not fall off the cliff by the end.
Second lap began and I was sat on the back of Michael Ferg and Aidan T. This was suddenly very reminiscent of Scottish Unis so I knew I was in the right place in the field. Aidan was feeling better though today and pulled away, leaving me periodically losing and then re-catching Michael. Kept with him though and was fairly comfortable going into the last lap, if not a bit cold from the ice rain and wind combo.
Pushed hard to not lose him in the muddy sections, which were getting ridiculous. Began picking off a few people who had apparently hit the wall. Took tactical lines and eventually had enough energy to overtake Michael. Hit the trail hard at the top of the hill, eased down the hill, and then pushed on the finish straight to maintain position. It was only at this point where I began to get uncomfortable.
Happy with that, a good tactical race which could have been tricky given the depth of the field. In around the people I'd expect to be when fresh, so either confirms that tapering doesn't work for me or I'm in better form than I'd hoped - probably the former though. And hard to compare across results seeing as most of the track runners I was in with probably felt the mud a lot worse. Happy to have gone down and save for the spells of hail, had a lot of fun cheering others on too. Finally getting to that desireable fitness stage where XC doesn't feel so grim anymore, or I've just learnt not to banter start.
Laps - 10:10, 10:30, 10:35, no surprises really