Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Owl's nest Trail Run

Man, it has been a while since I posted anything. I really should pick it up...
It's not that I haven't been busy, on the contrary. But nothing that I felt really excited to write about.

Anyway, let's start here.

This Sunday past was the inaugural Owl's Nest Trail run. It is situated on the side of a hill, and, having ridden my MTB there before, I knew the route would be awesome.

I intended to make it a duathlon, meaning cycle the 25km to the venue, do the run, and cycle home.
Nice :-)

However, Mother Nature had different ideas, and apparently I'm made of Disprin...
When I woke up at 4:40 to leave at 5:00 (race started at 6:45 and I like to be a bit early) I heard the ominous rumbling of thunder. I could just start hearing the tin-ting-ting of rain on the roof.
Shucks. I hope it doesn't start really raining...
Ten minutes later the heavens had opened up - seriaasly.

So I did what any good Disprin would do, and got back into bed.

I eventually paddled my car up the road at about 5:45, and got to the start 30 minutes later. I was amazed at the amount of cars there already. Apparently, though, a lot less than half of the expected number actually pitched...

Hung around chatting with Leon Smit from Outdoor Freedom (under his gazebo), waiting for the 7:00 delayed start, while keeping the wetsuit on standby.
With a 5-4-3-2-1-GO!!! we were off for a 800m loop to spread the field a bit before piling on the custom built MTB singletrack. However, as we were heading toward the singletrack, the leaders came charging back saying WRONG WAY!!
Knowing the place, I knew we were going the right way, and kept going after some confused milling about. It seems a marshal had gone AWOL, so the runners were never told to veer left, around the new fence. Which of course I discovered the hard way...
Once on the singletrack, the going was quite tough due to treacherous footing, even for the studded sole Montrails I had decided to use. Slippery as 5n0t... Every corner, and there were plenty, was a carefully negotiated affair, with quite a few people acquiring some real estate.
But man, 7km of beautiful singletrack...
Once done with that though, it was time to head out of the venue onto the district roads. I stopped for a quick sip of GI32 at the (only) waterpoint, and walked up the road to catch my breath. (I'm a mountainbiker, OK???) Luckily I did, because within 50m they called us back and said WRONG WAY!!!
See? This is what happens when you don't give a racer a map. At least here we can blame the organisers for getting us lost ;-)
They had to send the bakkie to go fetch the lead runners and turn them around. This was the first inkling I got that I wasn't that far behind the leaders.
Jeep Track
The road led us down into the valley (quite steeply, I might add) and onto some jeep tracks, which of course led us back to the top of the hill via quite a nice steep technical rocky climb. Only about 2km to go...
I was running with a lady at that stage, and as we turned the corner back into the venue with only 500m to go, he took the inside line, and I went wide, only to see her suddenly trip and disappear into the grass. Of course, being the gentleman that I am, and used to team racing, I stopped to help. turns out, she had gotten tangled in some old barbed wire! Eish...

Luckily she was not hurt, and after freeing her, we ran for the finish. She pipped me by 2s, but given that it was manual timing, I think they just saw her first. Anyway that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Turns out, she did the "short" 50km Addo Trail run two weeks before. So I don't feel so bad :-)
Race stats: Distance with footpod - 12.46km, vertical ascent - 195m, winning time - 1:03:34, my time - 1:07:51 for a 19th overall out of 121 finishers.

Good, clean fun :-)

Next up, Ystervark and Legend 24hour adventure race. Our team is assembled, and raring to go. I can't wait...