Monday, 9 June 2008

Welsh 1000M Peaks race

Before I say anything I should say a big 'Thank you' to Club Gorphwysfa for organising another great race.

Weather forcast was looking good - barely any wind, 17°C with broken cloud at 900m. It felt pretty hot when we set off from Abergwyngregan at 9.30am and I was sweating more than you'd want to, despite starting out at a very steady pace. Got to the sheepfold above the falls and was dissapointed to see a line of people heading up the gully that I'd found with Justin and Emlyn a few weeks before - that was meant to be my secret route. Approaching Bera Bach it was apparent that the cloud was down to about 800m, which made navigation interesting/pot-luck. I found myself approaching the main path north of Garnedd Uchaf, which meant I'd gone too far west. I doubled back a bit to contour around the peak and with a bit of luck found my way to Foel Grach, despite a few anxious "where the **** am I?" moments. Celebrated with a chocolate brioche and pushed on to the first control on Carnedd Llewelyn.
I'm sure I stayed too high and missed the best line on the approach to Carnedd Dafydd, fumbling across the rocks where I'm sure there was a faster route a bit further south. It's all well and good going out to recce the route on a clear day, but it all goes to pot in the mist. Nevermind.
Coming off Dafydd I stayed high on a nice trod path and then cut straight down to the checkpoint at the wall, the marshalls there thought my route choice was bobbins, but what do they know, eh?
Grabbed a couple of Jelly babies at the unofficial feed station at Llyn Llugwy and had a couple of cups of juice at Ogwen before the slog up again. I could see Emlyn Roberts about a minute ahead of me but I couldn't close the gap and as I got further up Nicky Spinks and then Hannah Toberman passed me. I took solace in another brioche and plodded on.
Felt vaguely guilty about passing Hannah on the way down the hideous Miners track towards Pen y Gwryd, but felt good to be running instead of hobbling like last year.
I was feeling OK at Pen y Pass and as we headed up the Pyg track I had a Power gel and actually passed someone! I could see I was gaining on Emlyn too and passed him before the Crib Goch turn. Obviously the place was full of oblivious walkers and I soon got bored of being polite - saying "Excuse me" just seemed to provoke them to startled and irrational movements so I took to just nipping past them where I could. That bloody Hannah passed me again before the finger stone though. I was strugling to run up any incline now, but I could still manage a bit of speed coming off Garnedd Ugain and tried to run the final ascent to Yr Yddfa, couldn't quite pull it off though.

It was nice to finish and I could still speak, unlike last year. Shared congratulations with Hannah and Emlyn and got off the summit sharpish as it was too cold to hang around.
5:14:17 - I said at the start that an optimistic goal was 5:15 and I made it, so was happy with that. 46 mins quicker than last year - and I gained one place (33rd instead of 34th!).

Went for a short ride on Cefn Du the next day, legs felt OK but reactions and coordination had completely deserted me. Tiredness will do that.

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