The last time I did this particular race definitely involved fields, which probably places it back in the mid nineties. Now it is all in woods. By several accounts, including my own, this appears to be considered the most varied course on the winter circuit of 5. Hard forestry track (grade 1 for the woods people out here) intermingled with very poor forestry track aka deep muddy ruts, and winding, single track paths where it was impossible to overtake. Or, putting it more positively, where one could settle down to a rhythm and not feel compelled to attack.
I had a quick look at the profile where it appeared that all the downhills were in fact uphills, but I lost all track of planning anway as I settled into the grind..and it was a course along which you could grind..and grind..and grind. Halfway round leaders met back markers within a handshake’s width as the course looped back on itself. After the biggest climb, we faced humongous puddles in a rutted track…a choice of avoiding (difficult) or just ploughing on through (easier but risking unknown depth and unshoeing). A final hill then a long winding run down the hard track to finish fast..and everybody did appear to finish fast. A warm shower was had by some at the leisure centre, and the camaraderie continued at the Royal British Legion at the end of season award ceremony. The first I have ever made it to, and having done a least 4 races. It was a great way to celebrate the achievements of the season. Well, we could have added a band and ceilidh but I don’t think there would have been many people standing after the exertions on the course. Apologies but I’m not sure of any of the age rankings below:
3rd Andy 45.44; 8th Sam 50.28; 28th Greg 54.06; 36th Neil P 54.48; 41st Kevin 55.59; 55th Paul 60.33; 60th Neil T 63.06; 64th Antony 64.16; 66th Ashley 64.16; 81st Tom 70.07; 86th Frank 72.13; 90th Rob 75.12; 100th Bryan 124.19.