Saturday, 9 June 2012

Glen Rosa Horseshoe

Results | Garmin Track | Race Details

Glen Rosa was my first hill race back in 2000.  In the past 12 years I've managed about 690 more races.

Glen Rosa Route 2012
I set out along the first 4 km of trail chatting with Russell Small at first, and then just settling in behind him, trying deliberately to take it easy. On the first steep climb up Beinn a' Chliabhain we caught up with Michael Reid, with Konrad Rawlik not that far in front. I tried not to trash my legs by working too hard. Just as the ridge eased off Alan Smith suddenly appeared on our left, perhaps 20 metres ahead, having taken a different line.

The summit ridge was misty, so I didn't recognise the descent into Coire Daingean, and perhaps strayed too far to the left. Although that line took me down pretty smooth ground. I could see Alan Smith ahead taking a high line through the heather, but I decided to drop low onto more runnable ground, and managed to overtake Russell, Michael and Scott Umpleby who were all thrashing through deeper heather above me.

I decided to contour straight across to reach the decent path on the other side of the burn, and then ran up the path to the steep steps to stay ahead of Michael, Russell and Scott. They did however all catch me by the summit of Cir Mhor and we all turned more or less at the same moment.

Once we had dropped back down the steep steps, Scott and Russell took a lower path, whilst I lead Michael across towards the Glen Rosa Slabs, only to chicken out when we got nearer, and we ended up dropping steeply through heather and rocks to flank underneath them.  This wasn't too bad since it took us to a good trod which lead to the Saddle. I'm sure there is a quicker higher line across the slabs, if I could just manage to recce it one day.

After the Saddle, I set about closing down and passing Russell and trying to make some ground on Scott, but he simply disappeared before the summit of Goatfell, so I wasn't quite sure if he was still ahead.  The descent down the Goatfell never gets any easier and requires constant concentration to avoid tripping and shredding yourself on the rough granite. Once I'd reached the new wooden bridge, I was fairly sure nobody would catch me.  I ramped it up to a reasonable pace, but then realised Adam Anderson was only about 20 metres behind me, so I suddenly had to find a couple of extra gears for the last kilometre of forest track.  Plus the last couple of fields seemed more lumpy than usual, and we had a couple of extra gate crossings just to help bring on the cramp!

I was pleased enough to finish 9th in 2:54:03, given that this was my first long hill run of the year.

Finlay Wild was the race winner by more than 16 minutes, in a new course record of 2:18:20.

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