Thursday, 8 October 2009

DELXC 6 Hour Trail Race 27th September

After Glasshouse i'd taken it easy with plans to essentially do one race per fortnight, so with that in mind i entered a trail run based on a 6.5K trail just out of Warwick. I'd seen this advertised on when i'd got back from the US and after checking that it was actually going ahead reckoned it was the sort of timed race i'd be way more suited to than on a track.
With the AFL Grand Final the day before decided the best option was to drive (around 2 Hours) and camp the night before giving me plenty of time for a walk of the course the next morning with a relatively late 9AM start.
With a "cockatoo alarm clock" at 5:30 or so getting up in plenty of time was never going to be an issue !, so after breakfast i walked a lap of the course and was pleasantly surprised, essentially runnable the whole way with enough ups and downs to keep it interesting.
Not a large field in the solo race (8 runners) as well as a similar number in the teams including many familiar faces, but 2 weeks after Glasshouse and being a new event this was to be expected, i'd love to see this grow in later years.
It was still pretty crisp at 9 so i had the gloves and Buff Bandanna on, but had a bag with headbands and also GU and drink in the feeding area so that i could do any changes and toss off clothes when necessary.
Wasn't quite sure who was in each race but certainly Michael Page (in a team with Peter Hall) took off and i was pretty certain he wasn't a solo which was a relief, only one runner in the solo backing after Glasshouse, Rodney Ladyman and he was essentially using it for training for a 190K race in two weeks time.
Definitely found the course was as runnable as it seemed, however a cool breeze meant the back half was quite cold (to me at least) so the Buff and Gloves were going to stay on a little longer.
They were still setting up aid stations on our first lap, but really i wasnt needing a drink for only 6.5K's, once that was over i'd worked out that the only section worth walking was the only road section less than 500 Metres into the course, very steep and then really good runnable stuff so not worth the extra effort required to run. Was passed by a number of fresh team runners but was keeping up a very comfortable pace although at a guess was third of the solo runners.
Next lap was a little faster and i was beginning to work up a good rhythm only downside being i'd get warm the first half and think of removing my gloves and then cool down the windier second half !.
Third lap was my fastest (by around a minute) and i was making rough calculations of the distance i'd be looking to cover, i certainly had my eyes on 60K, as that would be relatively easy on a quarter mile track but definitely a challenge on trails.
By now i was leading the solos and also seeing less of the teams, although they often gave me something to chase.
Three more laps and finally i was ready to take the gloves off and swap headband for buff and it was getting warmer, there was a aid station (with electrolyte drink, water and fruit) around half way but by now i was appreciating another water stop around a mile further on (after some solid uphills), by now it was time to get a GU out as well.
Was now beginning to pass many of the solo runners so was feeling very confident although was disheartened whenever i got "windburn" from a team runner passing me !.
By lap 8 found the electrolyte drink wasn't quite doing the job, so got out my bottle of Gatorade and had half as well as washing down another GU. By this point i'd also gone through 8 Succeed Capsules, the ups and downs and not totally flat trails were gradually taking a toll on my legs but nevertheless i was still doing 40 minute laps so it appeared the wheels wouldn't fall off.
After 9 laps i new i had 60K's in the bag and it was just a case of how far, although i admit i wasn't quite sure how we were going to end as unlike a track race we could hardly stop in the middle of nowhere and get an exact distance. By my calculation i'd done just over 63K's when time was apparently up (not having a watch wasn't definitive but had a rough idea what the time was), and wasn't sure what to do, did slow down a little (and get a stone out of my shoe - the only problem with my Holey Frees being that there are plenty of spots for stones to get in), and cruised in to find i'd a total time of 6:07:48, first of the solo runners by quite a distance.
Pretty happy with that, i've done worse distances on ovals, so this definitely suited me and to top it off there was prize money and free beer (provided by local Microbrewery sponsors Bru4U), what more could i want.
As i rather superstitiously hadn't put the tent down pre race (after Mt Disappointment and the post race medical problems i'll never put at tent down until i'm sure i don't need it post race), meant i could actually stay around and have a number of beers (and some great spaghetti bolognese) and have a good long chat with the race organisers and helpers and then head back home the next morning.

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