How can I write a race report without disaster? What went wrong? What was interesting?
Well, my dog and daughter kept me up the night before, leading to an evaporation of the lift I was promised. Young Harman tried to eat my race vest as I stumbled out the door in the dark. Not very impressive???
The race description sounded tough, a real brute. Starting at the Gold Creek Reserve it takes an 18km loop around the reservoir. Clockwise this year. I don’t know if that makes it easier or not. It was not easy. The signature feature of the race is the short sharp climbs, 18 in all. A mini Ronde Van Vlaanderen, or Tour of Flanders for the cyclists out there. Not a lot of climbing in all, 900m or so in 18km but the rapidity/frequency and grade of these beasts was telling.
About 120 starters took off in waves from 6-30. After a pretty low-key address from race director Peter Holles you knew it was a TRAQ race, friendly, informal, relaxed.
I took the final group as I was late after parking a way down the road, I was not carpooling and have a conspicuous vehicle. Best not alienate myself further with my fellow trail runners. It all went ok from the gun, I was soon passed by almost everyone and overtook one sole runner requesting a ‘new leg’ due to cramp. Up and down we went, I ran most this time. Walking to the crest of only half a dozen. The scenery was stunning, wide eucalyptus forest with spots of grass trees and a quaint hippy/yuppy house made of stone along the way. This is mountainous country and I knew it well from past adventures on the MTB.
I was wearing some sensible shoes, New Balance numbers designed by Anton Krupicka, they are not available anymore but are low, fast and very minimal BUT with a rock plate! Wow, this course needed it.
After a while a question did come up. There are 18 climbs right? I had lost count and was starting to swear. The colourful signs along the way didn’t give a number, was ‘The Beast’ 8 or 9??? Still, the km were coming down and I knew the last 3-4 km had to be down hill. At this point, Ms New Leg came past me, bummer. I caught her up again going down the penultimate hill but debated the chivalry of this sort of thing. This internal monologue lasted all the way to the final dash when I made a run for home. chivalry be damned!
It all went well. There is no way I could have gone any harder. I was not last and had a great time. The family were there to greet me, even the Beagle (No domestic pets allowed). The organisation was as always perfect and the winners awesome. A great local race. I will be back! I even donated my massage to Lesley, who looked like she needed it more. A beagle pup can do that to you!
A big thank you to TRAQ for putting on another great race and to all the volunteers who make these things happen.