Third go at the Kymin Dash. Pretty dry all last week so knew the slow bits would be firmer this year. Only had two target races this year and this wasn't one of them - only went in to treat this as a benchmarking run, and set a new course PB. Achieved that, but was pretty nervous about pacing beforehand.
Did manage to start quite steady, being passed by a *lot* of people in first 100 yards and then being boxed in behind them. Broke through on the corner and then just went for what seemed comfortable - reeled in a *lot*, but also passed by Gavin and Toby from MonRoss. Slotted in behind Emma for a bit before she became too slow and then behind Toby between the two hairpins, when I dropped him too. Got to the top in 11:14, and feeling quite good (about 20th place). Comparison to last year when I tried as hard as I could to the top... 11:12 and 7th place. Standard was quite a bit higher today!
Unlike last year, legs let me keep going after the top. Was slow to accelerate after first get which helped Steve Harris overtake (but his down pace was much quicker than mine anyway). Lost time on second gate as behind Emma, and she did the second field slow enough that I got to the last gate before her.
Going ok down to the road, and down from it - knew it was down though and after the dip would need to transition to ascending again. Seemed ok - I was closing on people in front quite quickly so appears the change in gradient caught them by surprise. Snuck in another overtake at the start of the rollercoaster and two more by the water station (which had a man playing a piano). Descent from here is quite sharp and not really my forte but tried to keep pace up. Had one problem with a maniac cyclist who was riding the race route at high speed but not giving any warning as he approach (given he was doing the route and he'd passed me on the public FOOTPATH from the road earlier - I think he's just a dickhead who was "supporting" the race. Probably Lliswerry...). Two of the people I'd passed on rollercoaster were right behind me by half way down but never overtook.
Had to maintain the effort once at the bottom, and this was quite hard when expecting the two behind to be much faster than me along here. They weren't and must have dropped back. Felt like I was struggling pretty quickly but the watch beeped 3:35/k which was good. And despite continuing to feel it was very hard, and feet burning, kept beeping 3:35/k all the way, and gained yet another place just after the speed limit signs. Final bit was tough - seeing the final corner in the distance for about 400m and a lot of effort to just get there and make sure didn't lose the place.
End result was 12th/305, 3rd FoDAC and won the team prize (4x mugs and a LARGE cake). Strava confirms what I was thinking near the end - that it'd be a 5k PB (18:03), but very surprised that 10k was just two seconds off my race PB (19:01 today). I know there's an element of downhill, but it's never helped me *that* much before, bits were technical, and the 10k still had half the Kymin climb. It puts a bit more pressure on my planned fast Parkrun next Saturday as sub-18 looks clearly *possible*.
By virtue of the last 5k, means I have inadvertently now got a complete set of PBs for 2019, with 8.5 months to go. It's nice to have had four races in a row that I've felt have all gone well - the winter, last autumn and last summer were all very variable, generally more on the bad than the good.
On the Hadnock Road 2k segment at the end- 6th fastest of over 1,000. 4th of 266 today - it was quite a strong field towards the front compared to normal.