Monday, 10 March 2014

Falcon Flyer - 8th March 2014

Spring has Sprung! ... Or it would do tomorrow morning however one of the final flings of winter saw us running out of Ravenscar, up eastwards into the teeth of such a breeze that slapped our faces that I never thought I'd make it to the top of the lane, just after 9.00am on this, my third Falcon Flyer, let alone get around the Long Course of the North Yorkshire Moors, in a half decent time.

Huddled in the Ravenscar Village Hall, everyone appeared reluctant to brave the elements on this surprisingly cold morning; perhaps its not just me ... inland dwelling southern softie that I am. After what seemed like an age, through a winter devoid of any racing, I was finally pleased to be back out in the hills.

Pep talk at the start ... " 135 entrants and only 113 Pies, so if you want one ....." you know the rest, and we were away.

Following a recent electronic heart cardioversion to correct an irregular heartbeat, I was advised to run a controlled race: Not my usual fly off and suffer for the art afterwards, and so decided to run purely with the heart rate monitor - keep it above 150 but just under the lactate threshold of 160. I managed to keep it roughly steady at a reading of 159 all morning: There's more to this style of running ...

Thankfully away from civilisation, and through the boggy fields towards the woods, a south turn removed us from one hazard - Wind, into another; a selection of felled trees which barred our way towards the road crossing. I for one was pleased to get through this tricky section of soggy grass of the Pye Rigg footpath, over the A171 and then away down towards Cowgate Rigg and the tracks towards Harwood Dale.

It never gets easier towards the bottom around here ...

and after a few near misses, I took the right and left turns though the fields towards Lownorth Bridge and the friendly faces there stationed!

The middle section is an uphill fag, remaining mentally tough when alone just to keep an even pace going. Initially on a metaled lane, this would open onto a stoney by-lane and eventually open fields and ultimately the moorlands passed Brown Hill and onwards to the turn point at Burn Howe Duck Pond atop the Moors on the Lyke Wake pathway.

Last year this was a stream of frozen slush but today it was relatively steady underfoot and I was pleased to make the turn unscathed and then head back westwards towards Jugger Ravine and the checkpoint on the A171. This would later be the scene of a real time rescue carried out by the team when a walker with a leg injury needed a recovery. Never was the cause more highlighted by the lonely, isolated station in which the casualty found herself and never has the professionalism been demonstrated more clearly than by the way the situation was handled from start to finish by the team whilst simultaneously marshaling their very own challenge event.

Congratulations to the team at SRMRT .

Luckily for me, and the surrounding pack of runners, all this took place behind us and with the path towards Jugger Howe disappearing upwards into the distance, the third and final technical section was upon us.

I had thought of trying a new route to Colcroft Farm but stuck with the traditional route around Cook House and down the fields passed Spring Hill Farm but, once passed this checkpoint, I became unstuck on the climb towards Park Wall.

Not only is Jon Steele a good friend and serious ultra runner, but also a glutton for punishment as he ran back down this hill to greet us before disappearing off up again, having lost his way! The cattle had recently been along these parts and the deep mud started to become a drag on my engine and I struggled and slowed here; losing my running group in the process.

However, sticking to my principle of a gel every five miles, keeping hydrated and more importantly, running to the heart rate monitor, I soldiered on and gradually regained my composure. So much so that I drifted through the checkpoint at Boggle Hole and trotted down to the beach in good order.

From here its just upwards: A small all too brief flat section, upwards some more, a gradual climb upwards to the old railway track and then upwards to the finish, up at the top of the village of Ravenscar.

The mind games start again and finish right here.

3.26 on the clock and the climb, now at walking pace, had my heart rate monitor singing at 160 before the final check and then the relatively steady slope of the old railway. I just decided to grind out a run, however slow and however pathetic it looked; and it looked both. A couple of walkers asked if I was enjoying this run and I apologise now for ignoring you - a real case of head down stuff.

The final ignominy being met by the right turn into the village, adjacent to the church. Just as I was planning to run strongly for the finish, a gust of wind, so hard, rocked me backwards down the hill and I had all to stay upright. Determined to secure a strong finish I opened the village hall door and signed in with 3.43 on the clock and slumped into the chair with a mug of tea. 5 minutes better than my previous time around the Long Route - very happy indeed with that and 13th overall on the day.
Once more I had a blast from start to finish and many thanks once again to the mountain rescue team of Scarborough and Ryedale for keeping us safe today, and all days, around these North Yorkshire Moors. It is much appreciated.

1 comment:

  1. Cant believe i missed you again. Well done on the time, this softy went for the short route.