Sunday, 19 July 2009

Ras yr Yddfa / Snowdon Race

Not your typical fell race. For starters there are crowds of people at the start/finish to cheer you on, which never normally happens. Then there's a helicopter that follows you up the mountain, filming your every move (assuming you're in 1st place) and most importantly there's the shoes - it's not a race for Walshes and Innov8s, it's more Nike and Reebock. It's pretty much tarmac and rock all the way, grip isn't really a problem, comfort is (comfort, fell running - in the same sentance?).

Thought i was coming down with Swine flu the night before, felt bobbins, couldn' see anyway I'd be racing on saturday, but didn't feel too bad by the morning, just a bit lethargic. All of which disappeared when the race started. I started with Matt but realised that even for my modest aims we were way too far back in the field so put on a burst to move up the field before we left the tarmac when passing would just get harder.

Predictably enough Matt left me soon after we hit the path, but I tried to stop him getting too much of a lead on me. I passed Swiss Schali (aka Patrick Schalbetter) soon after Halfway Station - although he was still with me above Clogwyn, which was about where Emlyn Roberts passed me. This was not a good sign for my personal battle with Emlyn - I figured I needed about 2 minutes advantage on him at the summit to have any chance of beating him.
As the gradient eased off the visibilty dropped to nothing, the path narrowed, the number of walkers seemed to increase and the lead runners started to pass me on their way down. I guessed (fairly accurately) that Matt had summitted 2 minutes ahead of me and reasoned (not so accurately) that I'd easily regain this on the descent. Emlyn ran away from me on the loose section above Clogwyn and I eventually caught Matt at halfway station, but I couldn't shake him and after the tunnel he passed me again as I ran out of puff on the flatter section. I caught up with Matt by the time we hit the tarmac but I didn't think I'd have any chance of keeping up with him over the final 400m through Llanberis. Unluckily for Matt he cramped up on the steep descent before that and finished 8 seconds ahead of him - shades of Lemond vs Fignon on the Champs Elysees? Perhaps not.

Summit time: 1:03:58
Stage Position: 165th
Descent time: 31:46
Stage Position: 80th

Overall time: 1:35:43
Overall Position: 127th

I'm happy with that :)