A scream is heard from Rachael May’s dressing room. “I’M COMING MY DAHRLING!! I cry in my best Matt Berry voice, as I run Mrs Doubtfire style to provide whatever help she may need.
“I’ve caught a mouse!” she shouted “It ran out from under the chest of drawers!” In the middle of the room sat an upturned box. “Oh no! We’ve not got bloody mice have we!?” I sighed. I then went to get another box to try and catch it once she lifted the box containing said mouse. We both braced ourselves to pounce on it. 3…2…1…. Box was lifted to find…. A computer mouse. “Oh ha ha, very funny!” I said, then threw the box at her. She was helpless with laughter. She has of course been trying to get her own back after the whole mystery knickers incident from a few weeks ago. (read Loughrigg and Silverhow for that story!)
The final race of the Kong winter series has crept up on us, and we’re already halfway through February. It’s also the last of the fell races near my house for a while, so I better make it count.
I’d spent the week going over a few secret lines which I knew nobody else would be taking. In fact I’d been to the top of High Rigg 6 times that week before the race. I had 3 lines I’d definitely be taking, and one I might take depending on how I was feeling. Lying in bed on Friday night I felt like an F1 driver going through the whole course in my head.
I had a nice warm up trot along the reverse of the route to Bram Crag farm. Pinned my number on and continued my warm up with Darren Fishwick. Who was doing the race for the first time, as the normal date for Two Riggs clashes with the Tour of Pendle.
We lined up at the start line, and I made sure I was at the very front. I sarcastically told Ben “Shoelaces” Barker that I’d be winning this race. Which would have been true, had the race finished at the first bridge which was a whopping 100m into the race. The first part of the race is a pure cross country race, but you need to go out hard to avoid getting stuck at the 3 gates you have to pass through.
Pushing reasonably hard I hit secret line number one, and I’m followed by Benny boy. As we start the climb he overtakes me, all part of the plan! As the climb went on I was caught by Vic Wilkinson and I clung on to the back of her. I then had a quick look over my shoulder and darted off for my main secret line. Just as I’m heading out of sight I look over my shoulder and spy Huw Brassington and Simon Booth following me. I thought to myself “wow this must be a proper good way to go if Simon is doing it too!” I pushed hard and gained a lot of ground on those ahead of me, putting myself back in the middle of the action.
Now I always back myself on a descent against pretty much anyone. As good as I believe I might be, I am not quite fast enough to catch and overtake Simon Booth. Who is arguably one of the best fell runners of all time. Although he’s not raced much over the last few years, you cannot take anything away from him, and he’s still pretty bloody fit! He possibly had the added motivation of having his parents there to watch him. I really hope when I’m 50 me Mam and Dad will still pop out to watch me race. Nevertheless, I was determined to not make it easy for him to beat me. I pushed hard on the remaining climb up Low Rigg, got past Simon, caught up with Vic, and tried to drop the hammer on the descent, though it did feel like that gear was stuck for some reason. After a quick diagnostic check I realised I was just getting a bit tired. I had a bit of a battle with Simon as we came down from the road, leaving it all to play for.
As we entered the fields for the final mile, again pure cross country I was a little ahead of Simon with Vic. It was here though that the wheels fell off. Simon got me first, Vic pulled away, then Ben overtook me with ease. I was trudging my way through the mud. Eventually crossing the line in 47:06 and 16th place. Happy that my lines paid off, but feeling as though I could have done better.
Simon came over to me and said “I saw you at the start and thought I’ll just follow you around. Gave me a good run till that last bit. Well done!” Which did actually mean a lot to me. I hung around for a bit before trotting back home to see what other pranks Rachael May had in store for me!
We had a fantastic Keswick AC turn out for our first fell club champs race of the year. Full results here.
Big thanks to everyone at Kong, all the organisers and helpers for a great Winter Series. See you next year!