RevRun report (short and no pics today sorry):
A drizzly South East wind blew and it was rather cold at the start of the first Xterra trail run in the Dome Valley Forest.
Earlier in the week, the race had been shortened and race headquarters moved. Then at race briefing we heard that the ‘super long’ had dropped distance again. So we moved from 25 to 21 to 16k in the passage of a few days.
Like many an Xterra run, it started by sending us up a forestry road to spread the field. A good 15-20 guys shot up ahead as I tried to approach the hill with both intensity and discretion. The gravel forestry road actually continued to be our trail for the next 5 or so km, with a significant downhill and another grunty uphill in there. I might have caught a couple of bods on the downhills, but wasn’t faring so good on the climbs.
After aid station 1 we left the gravel and hit the mud. Long descents with very slippery clay made for a treacherous drop down. I did catch a couple more guys down here, but it was super sketchy as you ran 3:30min ks and had both feet sliding. Loadsoffun!
At the bottom we followed along the Hoteo river which was well flooded. This gave some waist deep puddle wading and more near miss slips. We then turned back up an even greasier clay hill. Lots of hiking ensued in the climb, and I only lost one place over the 200m climb back to the gravel. It was nice to be able to run again. We passed the aid station (11km) and headed back toward home. I figured it wasn’t long to go and put a bit of a surge in to regain my position and attempt to catch a couple of guys only 100m ahead. I had made up half of the ground by the 14.5k mark, and happened upon Dave Atkinson and Richard Drake who were doing the long course. I commented that it was only 2k to go and took off after the pair ahead.
However, there was a final course distance surprise waiting – the organisers had found a couple of km of muddy trail to throw in instead of the downhill gravel bomb to the finish. Realising that the course might go a lot longer than the projected 16k left me reeling for a minute or two. But I regrouped after Dave just about caught me up, and I then ran all the uphills that weren’t like climbing a slip n slide.
I crossed in 1:35:13 for an 18k with around 800m of climb. Looked like a couple of fast road runners were up ahead, along with Sam Manson, so no shame (and a lot of fun) out on the trail today.
Great to share the experience with Rich and Dave. Its good to be back.