The format is 9km fell/mountain run, 25km MTB and 9km trail/fell to finish, with over 1600m of ascent/descent. The summits of Grisedale Pike, Seat How, Lords Seat and Barf are all visited on the runs.
I think the rustiness and lack of racing showed from the start, my warm up was not great and I was not fully switched on and ready for the fast 2km loop to start. A gap opened up to the leaders quickly, I decided not to spend any more than I was already. Never the less my head was down a bit, the race plan was to be out front and I thought I should have been. This is not something I usually worry about when I am into my racing more, much better to race your own race than someone else's and its pretty much essential to do this for the longer stuff. I settled in for the rest of the run, but never felt I got going till the final technical part of the descent. Single track down into the woods, steep and twisty, I finally felt I found my legs and had warmed up.
A bit of faffing in transition (its hard to undo laces with MTB gloves on, more rust!) and I headed out onto the bike leg. The trails at Whinlatter forest are great, but I have not been out on the MTB too often recently and do lack a bit of skill so I was pretty happy to make up some places early on and only lose a couple coming back into transition. I felt great on the ups, all the threshold work over the winter has left my biking legs in good shape, good news for the seasons main races. I enjoyed the bike but its hard to tell how you are doing, the trails are in the forest and twisty. On the way into transition I saw Dave Wilby (last years winner) just in front, so I had an idea the ride had been ok, I now wondered if holding back on the first run would pay off heading out onto the the final leg.
Late to the party but a good performance for the first race of the season and great signs that all the training has paid off. Great to be back racing, time to build and tweak before the Slateman in May.
Recovery has been great, off to Torridon for 4 days end of this week, a little bit of training on the course and chance to get some mega miles in the legs after Sundays speed session!
Congrats to James Walker and Marie Meldrum, winners of Whinlatter Extreme.
Massive thanks to Dave at DPB Images for helping out with a lift to the race, he also took all the awesome photos :). Thanks to Zone3Wetsuits, LaSportiva, Blair Davies Coaching,CurraNZ , TrecNutrition and Designed2Run Sports Therapy as always, helping me concentrate on the training and racing!
Race results here.
MovesCount of the race here.
Strava Bike route here.
Next stop Torridon with Steve from MovieIt!