Was never intending on treating this as anything more than training as right calf still tight from the HM and would hurt more for ankle being taped. Also pretty hot today so would rather pace too slow than bonk.
This meant being towards the back of the stile queues at the start, and despite jogging the main bit to Crug Mawr, was actually losing places. And, I was making no attempt at all to even jog anything steep - e.g. bit to the trig from path was all walked.
Didn't really descend the rough bit well - possibly as not so used to these shoes, and that they don't grip that well on anything wet (e.g. wet stones - as per main track down to road). Even stopped for a toilet break half way down the fell and then jogged the rest of the way comfortably.
On the Sugar Loaf side was surprised just how quickly I caught most of the people who were in front of me at the top of Crug Mawr. Again walked anything that felt steep but jogged most of the contouring path, and some of the Pen y Fal ridge. Was quite comfortable here - passing lots of people (Andrew Dickens, Jools, Helen Brown...) and able to hold conversation. I think people were struggling with heat today.
The fell-part of the descent was pretty slow, having tripped near the top didn't have a huge amount of confidence and balance wasn't there. Then back to comfortable as it flattened, expecting a Mynydd Du guy to overtake who I'd passed not long before the top, but he didn't. Paul Murrin did though - having taken a bit of a detour earlier on. Reasonable pace through the woods as getting caught - by Chris Kelsey in the end - and held to the gate but lost time as it wouldn't open and had to climb over. Starting to feel stomach cramps on the descent but little option but to try to run through it.
Fairly clear run through Abergavenny - no stops at all for traffic and able to cross middle of roundabout by the river too. Had a better route than Chris coming in so were together for most of this section. Just caught Rhys on the bridge and he went the cemetery way and came out in Llanfoist behind us.
More than a bit demoralised by the absence of the promised Llanfoist drinks station as my bottle wouldn't last the rest of the way but fortunately appeared about 100m up the hill. Stopped and drank a full cup and walked from there onwards. Passed 3 on the incline, 2 more on the fell, and right on the heels of Jack (Ake's colleague) for the last 5 mins or so of steep - which slowed me down a bit waiting for the next step to become free. A few points did go alongside but speed differential vs him made it too hard compared to previous 2. Took a while to get going on the "flat" but got into a rhythm and was comfortable.
4k and all downhill from top, but stomach cramps came back and quite hard so had to stop a couple of times and when I was going pace was quite a bit slower than what would have been "comfortable" - and that cost me places to Paul (similar problems, and I think, given up), Jack and a Mynydd Du. The next one always seemed about 50m behind but never closed in and once on the road was willing to try and up the pace for last 400m.
Definitely not going 100% today, maybe not even 80% for much of it - but heat and steepness of Blorenge have left me feeling it. Just 4 mins off my PB (when I accidentally followed people taking the shortcut) - so equalise and take out the toilet stop would have been pretty close. A lot of that is down to good ground conditions, and I would expect my flat/down speed is better from training. Quite surprised that Strava is also saying that Crug Mawr and Sugar Loaf ascents were best race times, and only a little bit short on Blorenge too.
Glad I did it, but ready for bed now at 9pm. Feet sore, neck and shoulders probably burned and calf wrecked. Easy day tomorrow.
11th on the Llanfoist-Blorenge summit split
16th (I think) on Sugar Loaf climb split
Gained 25 places from 1/2 way down Crug Mawr to the finish
Comparing GPS plots with previous years, now notice that CP3 (at the "base" of Sugar Loaf) was in a different place - which added an extra 200m+ distance, which is quite big if trying to analyse performance differences of just minutes.