Saturday, 15 December 2012

Xmas Pudding Dash...

...or roughly translated a 5 mile cross country run through the grounds of Ashburnham Place near Battle in East Sussex, with the option to wear appropriate Christmas clothing. That was not on my list of priorities as I arrived 10 minutes before the start, grabbed my bag out of the car and legged it down to the registration desk having only decided to do this race an hour earlier this morning.

One thing with being in a mad panic trying to get to the start is that you end up having to park the furthest away so you get a nice warm up en route to signing on. So a quick signing on, removal of clothes (I had at least put my running gear on underneath my clothes before I left home to save time!), caffeine gel downed and shot outside to make my way to the front just before the off. Lined up around me were a mixture of Santas, angels, reindeer and some bloke in a tutu.

From the off it was a quick loop around the stately home, then off up the very steep drive before diving off into the woods. About six of us formed a group at the front as things started getting very muddy and then the others around me seemed not to notice the direction sign up ahead and veered off to the right. A quick shout at them and they got back on track. This let me take the lead briefly before one of the juniors caught back up with me. Having now pulled a gap over the others I decided to let him take to the front and tuck in behind. Crossing the line for the second and final lap I felt good and thought I would go for it on the climb up the steep drive. However my legs had other ideas and it was as if someone just drained all the energy out of my legs and I started drifting back. Hanging on as best I could with first place getting away, I then had two more of the juniors closing in behind. I hung on till about 50 metres to go but with a short sharp hill just before the finish one of them caught me at the top on the last bend and then his brother, as I found out afterwards, decided to sprint as well for the line. don't think so, I tried but then realised it's a long time since I could do that, so with no one else coming up behind me I slowed to a stroll across the line.

So 4th place, was I happy? Not really when I was that close. I was a minute ahead of the next place so I should be happy at that and being a minority mountain biker surrounded by pure runners. To quote Scooby Doo "it would have been first if it hadn't been for those pesky kids". Very well done to them though and a really strong finish from them. As for what happened to me, I'm not sure, to lose power just like that it could be I'm still not over my "virus" as the local paper put it or looking back I didn't drink much this morning so that didn't help......or it could just be I'm getting old. Veteran category is just around the corner!

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