22 Mar 2010

Waterside D

Sunday was my first training trip for the Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race. Am I worried that it is only 2 weeks away and I have only spent 5 minutes in a K1? To the uninitiated a K1 is a fast, unstable, uncomfortable, light weight 1 man kayak; think of it like a unicycle with racing tyres. I am not worried because I have got the easy job - part of the support crew.

Louis and I left Dorset at 4am on Sunday morning to get to the start of the Waterside D race in Devizes. After we had arrived I wandered around the Wharf car park watching all the crews prepare, amazed at the number of people mad enough to get up this early to get wet and cold on a Sunday.

My job is basically to be in the right place at the right time with food and drink. Meeting Louis at various points between Devizes and Newbury. So having had a bacon sandwich and watch my crew (see how I have picked up the lingo) set off I left for my first met up point.

Tan Hill - Wiltshire Downs

During the day I watch some amazing displays of endurance, most impressive were the Junior crews (under 19s). However as I only meet up with Louis every 2 hours or so I missed some of the excitement like being attacked by a swan, nearly crashing into the side of Savernake Tunnel and being "on the rims" after 28 miles.

I am really looking forward to the big race now, particularly camping in Newbury Leisure centre car park. Eat your heart out Andy Howell.

8 Mar 2010

Grizzly 2010 race report

Four of us arrived in Seaton, not necessarily prepared but committed to running the Grizzly. I was nervous, not sure about the others. What I do know is that we were all cold. Frantic searches began for extra layers of kit to wear. Anyway here is my account from the back of the pack.

The race started off again along the beach then up and over the hill to Beer. From there it took a different route up the valley and over the next hill to Branscombe Mouth. This year we headed into the village of Branscombe and through the woods to Bulstone. After a number of painful twists and turns up the hills we arrived at the first bog (I think this was about 13 miles). Foolishly as we came dripping out of the far end I thought "well that was easier than last year" a few miles later a longer and deeper section awaited. I began to lose my sense of direction in the narrow valleys with runners ahead of us hammering past on the other side of the valley.

After running through Branscombe Mouth again we reached the hardest bit for me, the mile section along the beach before we started the climb up to Hooken Cliffs.

© Copyright Nigel Mykura and licensed for reuse under
Creative Commons Licence.

Last last few miles along the coastal path were fantastic looking back across the cliffs to Seaton. There was great support again all the way round from lots of spectators, marshals, a piper, rock bands and fiddles. It is becoming a favourite and if was not so hard I would do it again.

Now we come to the difficult subject of finishing time. At the moment I am not sure of my exact time but about 4 hrs 40 mins. This is a bit slower than last year but the course was different. Anecdotal evidence suggest the course was harder, but would you trust the judgement of anyone who had just run 20 miles over cliff top paths, bogs and steep wooded valleys - no. Analysis of this years results compare to last year show that the top 20 runners were on average 4 minutes slower this year. ( You have to admit that is alot effort to justify being a bit slower ). The end result not pretty.

Click here for last years report