In a nutshell, it was a fantastic race, won by people faster than myself.
Mike H took MEC honours again, though the now solid G-Dow crew redeemed itself in taking out three divisions: male long course masters by Dave Clark, female U20 short walk by Belle Porteous (13yrs – hmm, seems awful quick for a walk), and Mudust King in the male superlong masters (not female mid masters as preliminary results indicated). Mention also goes to Archie Porteous (11yrs) who came in a mere 7:40min behind the overall winner of the hotly contested short course.
Glancing back through the results of the three Riverheads I’ve now completed were initially a bit gloomy. I was 6min off my fastest time back in 2010 where I came in 5th overall. This year I appear to have come 8th overall, but more importantly I’d dropped another 2:30min to Mike on the 2012 MEC series board. First glances can be deceiving though, as this Riverhead was the longest of the three I’ve done due to some variation at the beginning and end of the course. In fact this year I’d run it at a faster pace than 2010. Phew. And I was closest I’d been to the winning time this year (ok – take out the Michael Adams effect and I was adrift about the same amount in 2010). And I dropped 3:13min to Mike last year.
So does that mean this year was my best ever Riverhead performance? Maybe. But it definitely wasn’t the worst.
As for the course itself, I’m with the kids at Riverhead, I was always waiting for the gravel to stop and the clay and swamp to start. Saw a lot of kids having a lot of fun in the swamp towards the finish, that’s my kind of fun for sure. The only place I could gain any ground seemed to be the sketchiest downhills (yay Inov-8 Talons) – though not nearly enough to make up for my rather sluggish climbing performance. Get the feeling a couple of guys were a bit frustrated, being clearly fitter n’ quicker than me on the open and up, only to give it up on the off. Not many bring the complete package to the race it would seem.
No question the numbers at Xterra are increasing. The weekend battler division seems to be hotting up too with new faces and a crowded/rejuvenated top 10. And Mike does seem to be putting together a frighteningly complete package at these events. Conclusion: I’m getting faster, but going backwards.
Hey Mike, maybe you should send those Inov-8 Talons back, they might give you blisters or something.