Three weeks to go before the big one now, so training wisdom dictates that it’s the start of my taper. I wanted some tough, back-to-back stuff to taper down from, so today’s part 1 of that was the Llanbedr to Blaenafon.
The description from the race blog gives you an idea of what’s coming –
Start from Llanbedr Village, up over Crug Mawr, then climb up the back of the Sugar Loaf, down into Abergavenny, out to Llanfoist and then up and over the KILLER – The Blorenge. Finish in Blaenafon
It’s a category AL fell race, A is the hardest category (there are also B and C), L is ‘Long’ (there are also M and S!) It is 15 miles and has 4500 ft of climb. AL indeed.
The weather was dull and cool and the cloud was on the summit of Sugar Loaf.
I had a fantastic race. I ran most of the climb up Crug Mawr and all of Sugar Loaf. I also enjoyed the feeling of ‘flow’ on the easier sections; a real pay-off from my training.
The Blorenge really was the killer, though. The climb onto it was a big wall; long and very steep. I ran up a good way before my will broke and I walked. Blaenafon is a lot higher than Llanfoist, so the descent off the back to the finish wasn’t very steep, although it was rather rough in its upper reaches.
I almost caught a fellow runner on the home straight, sprinting furiously for the line, but he put on a good turn of speed and came through about 1 metre ahead of me. I came 30th out of 89, in 2:50:49. For comparison, Steven Cole won in 2:04:39. About 1/3 of the way down the field is ‘right’ for me in a fell race.
I enjoyed some excellent hospitality at the Blaenafon Rugby Club after the race, crowning a glorious afternoon.
Tomorrow comes part 2, the Combe Gibbet! I’ll report back on that when it’s over: I can tell you now the first few miles will be tough, but I hope my legs will resign themselves to what’s being asked of them and I’ll loosen up after that