Friday, 31 July 2015

tour of fife day3

uphell time trial

great pic of myself - don't remember wearing the bunny ears but the camera never lies - by the genius photographer St. Andrew the Stavert

OK here's the deal. You don't need to read my complaints about a 12 minute (and 4 seconds) run up a drizzly hill any more than I need to waste time writing them when I could be getting to bed (or drinking another beer.) (Actually another beer sounds about right.) And you can save me the bother of cutting and pasting last year's cut and paste of the year's previous complaints which are much the same by looking HERE

It's a hill and the only way is up. GB gave me an early start which was kind and meant I got to put the waterproof on earlier and take photos of others struggling. I have run both slower and faster and hope to make up the time over the next 2 PROPER races. Commiserations to Michael who let his enthusiasm for this one get the better of him and may have set off too briskly, dropping 20s from his usual time of the previous 2 years. And congrats to Nick who was nervous but made a really good job of the event. We had a quick canter up to the summit before. Then after my 12minutes of hell I took some photos. The evening was the traditional drizzle and low cloud (I think him upstairs is trying to back me up on the disapproval.) Tonight's star performance was Del who may well have edged into an unassailable lead. He was working like blazes when he went past. 

Not all of the photos I took were good - partly the fault of trying to ring a cowbell (all the way from Nepal) in one hand while taking shots with the other. If it had been decent weather I would have videoed it all with the good camera but frankly it wasn't and I didn't. Right that's it, I've already wasted enough time on this horrible stage and only grudgingly pass on thanks to marshals, time keepers, organisers, web result posters and bell ringers. It was quite cheery at the finish if you could hear anything other the heart in your chest and see through the red mist. Terrible business.

The only decent running of the day, up to the summit.

Nick standing in for Andrew as the fourth Porty. Photo by Andrew

crap weather for July

I was started with Barry.
Thanks to Lynne Zabek for photo

I managed to resist the temptation to start too quickly and passed the halfway around 5.48 which is almost exactly the same as last year. However last time I measured the 2 halves about equally and did 11.48, this time I slowed, although I think the second half is steeper and my internal alarms were all going off suggesting I was on the brink of a cardiac incident or stroke.

say your prayers

Willie with MG just visible

This race favours youthful lungs and legs, another reason it should be banned!

good effort from Nick

proper effort

Alastair just a couple of secs behind Del

Andrew saved himself for the last 75 yards.

Right off to bed.

just noticed these fine images by Ethan Lee....

I even wore a pretty summer vest to get with the positive vibe 
- you can't say I didn't make an effort?!

and this one by Vicki Charlton...

Thanks Vicki although the other 3 are so grim I seem to have forgotten to put a link to them! 
Find them at your leisure.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

tour of fife day2

photo Vicki Charlton

Hill of Tarvit race. Last year this was probably my most successful event, coming third. I wasn't expecting that tonight but felt there was room for improvement on last night's race. The sun was out but it wasn't overly warm - ideal conditions really and I felt very positive. Didn't notice the journey fly by chatting with Michael, and then from Glenrothes with Andrew who we picked up from near his work. Nick was making his own way today and without my sobering influence arrived quite early. He did say the organisers arrived before him but was unspecific just how many hours ahead of kick-off he parked up. But long enough to walk the course taking photos. And then meet us and run the course.

We got to park in the residential rather than tradesmen's car park!

Is that a sequoia?

Andrew does his David Blane impression and levitates.

A bit of a recce of the last third of the course which goes up the hill.
Note the potentially lethal tripwire across the top of the stile we will later descend!

The views from the top of the hill were delightful. Graham the organiser suggested on the start line that we loiter on the hill top and take photos and appreciate the scenery. I was glad I had done this already and didn't need to carry the camera. 

It doesn't get much better than this!

The paths through the woods were mostly dry and in good nick.

photo Vicki Charlton

So I dropped the camera off at the car and we went to the start line. Memories of last year and Craig bombing off at the start. He promised not to do that this year. A bit of chat from Graham B then we were off. I did enjoy the downhill start even in hill shoes on tarmac. I was able to keep up with the front line without killing myself and was about 6th into the woods hot on the heels of the front 5. I dropped a bit back and Nick came past before we were out onto the road again and I could hear Michael not far behind. Again the slight downhill allowed me to catch my breath before the up hill began. However there were plenty of bits where the gradient levelled off and you got a marginal breather before the next climb. Michael went over the first stile one place ahead of me but there were a few from last night who didn't and that spurred me on. 

photo Vicki Charlton

The next bit was sufficiently steep to merit fast walking or marching with hands on knees. I did a bit of this as Sam (with the hair) went past, which is the benefit of youth. I watched Michael catch up with Nick which was exactly what he did with me last year before I (this year Nick) surged ahead on the downhill. I took a few strides to get my breath back after the top before pushing on through the long grass, through the trees then the sharp right where I overtook Sam and a Fifer before climbing over the stile directly behind Nick and Michael. They had too much of a lead to catch before the line but I enjoyed following them through the trees on the dirt trail where the course setters had politely floured all the stumps and bumps that might trip up flagging tourists. How civilised! A couple of zig-zags then past the marquee and I was remembering the cumulative time thing and not to just coast along to the line but race it as every second might, at a later stage, be vital. Big thanks to Vicki Charlton who took the 5 action photos here. Rest of her set on Flickr here

photo Vicki Charlton

I really enjoyed the course. (Great to hear Andrew raving about it, and Michael and Nick too.) It sort of plays to my strengths and none of the hills are too sustained. I look forward to hopefully more of the same on Saturday and Sunday, and hope not to drop too far down the leader board at tomorrow's misery of the uphell time trial which is always my low point in the tour. I wish they would replace it now and then with something else but they never do. Nothing for it but to grit teeth and hang on for 12 minutes of misery. Hopefully NOT in the rain or with a headwind which is my idea of BAD. 

photo Vicki Charlton

Vicki's photos here
Nick's blog here