64th/1887 finishers: https://my5.raceresult.com/113260/results?lang=en#...
A little nervous about this as it's my second big race of the year (of 2), I've been on and off with stomach cramps and yesterday's run and the warm up seemed so hard.
Rich Pegler and Rob Keeble were both targetting sub 1:30 so to a degree stuck with them out of the start - but in practice was doing my own thing. Really pleased with how I was pacing - not being distracted by others going off fast, not chasing after them. Aim was about 4:00/k along the road and seems I got that spot on.
Then the long descent, had target pace of 3:50 down here and probably was quite close. Lots of people overtook so had some pressure to speed up. Rob went off ahead but Rich was still doing same speed as me - even got passed by another FoDAC half way down (James).
Once at the bottom aware there's a mental challenge as long drag up to Serridge - target pace 4:10-4:15/k where not steep and was in that range along Cannop. Then the watch started telling me it was a bit too slow (I think it cut corners a bit here - every mile marker afterwards came early) so made the difficult decision of breaking away - although not using Rich, him being there was nice confirmation I wasn't going too fast too early. Passed James and another FoDAC pretty quickly and to be honest quite comfortable up to the White Gates.
For the steep sections - up to Speculation, and up to Serridge - wound down the speed quite a bit, and this meant I was going quickly again after, I guess less lactic acid. To a degree did the same on the switchbacks to Brierley. Despite slowing a lot, caught Jools at top of Serridge and with him for the next mile and a bit. Half way (according to watch) at around 47 minutes - so knew I'd have to negative split to stick with dream sub-90.
Having conquered Foxes Bridge a couple of weeks ago, my legs didn't fall apart today - it's only a gradual climb but this is where I left Jools and started overtaking people. After the top the overtaking became less often but was still passing - including next FoDAC after Lightmoor. Did however get overtaken by one just before Spruce Ride, and one just after - the only two to pass me between Cannop Wharf and the finish.
Was quite aware of the time, and distance left according to watch so had to up the effort somewhat for the last 6k - Spruce Ride was uncomfortable but back into rhythm along the bottom. As per plan, slowed on incline back up to bike track and Jools was closing back in a bit - but once on the "flat" I was going again, reasonably hard, and overtaking again.
Didn't take the zig-zag hill quite so easily, flagging by the top - but sub-90 still within grasp so had to be worth a try, and if I burned out would still be certain of a good PB at 5:00/ks. A few more passes on the straight, and then coming back to Spruce Ride, Rob was looking a lot bigger - less than a k to go (and I knew how far the last bit was from warm up!) kept the effort up and passed him and a few others, and kept going down the finish straight!
Chip time 1:28:24, gun time 1:28:30 - really, really pleased with that on a hot day and a not-so flat course. Pacing was spot-on and left enough in the tank that I could pass in the later stages, and that was quite a confidence boost. I was feeling like I was struggling for the last 2 miles, but probably was! Very rare for a race to go this well for me - and that's both the big ones done and done well :-) Still some scope for a faster time on a faster course, but don't think I could bring myself to do one.
Think I overtook 6 FoDAC through the run, and maybe 3rd overall - so should be good club champs points too. As expected, very well supported by the club so lots of encouragement right the way round.
Saw quite a bit of wildlife today too. In order: a deer, a rave, a Driscoll, a Gebbett, a lizard and 5 adders.
Note - comparing splits with 2015 (conditions were worse with much stronger wind, although both then and today the wind was similarly against us almost all the time):
0.5 min gained along the road from start
0.5 min up cycle path
0.5 on Brierley switchbacks,
0.5 on Serridge
0.5 on Foxes Bridge (up) - where 2015's race started to unravel
and the remaining 3.5 mins out of last 8 miles.
So, not only was the running more comfortable today, was also consistently faster in the early part when pacing (and much faster at the end when I wasn't!)