I did the Rombald's Stride yesterday. Long story short it was a muddy affair, particularly on the long moorland section and the omni-present fog made you doubt your wayfinding skills. But, if it weren't muddy it would be snow covered, snowing, raining or windy - so all things considered this wasn't a bad year to be doing this event, perfect conditions on this course at this time of year must be a rare thing. I figure the factors required would be a dry January, a freeze a few days before to harden the ground up, followed by clear, windless and near freezing conditions in the day - any betters? I'll happily take your cash ;¬)
It's a 22m hills, moorland, agricultural land navigation taking in a large chunk of Rombalds Moor south of Ilkley. Also takes in the odd road section and even passes through some built-up areas. Its about 3300ft up and down - so I'm told - and I was quite pleased to knock another 10mins of last years PB to clock a 4:07. I've had my eye on a 4 here since after my first attempt in 2007. Thing is, since that year the conditions have either been worse - like today - or worse still - like last years thick snow on the moors, ice on the roads or 2008's blizzards on route.
This year could have been the year as Mark and I attacked the course. Pushing hard through the muddy moorland miles (try saying that when your drunk). However, I reckon we lost some time in crowds at the start - too laid back to get to the front and rush off - and then further stoppages after the "Rocky Valley" as we headed back from midway, as we weren't sure we'd made the right route choice in the fog. Turned out we probably did, maybe not the official route, but we did the same route as last year clocking bang on 22m. Officially it could be longer?
I knew as we walked up the Otley Chevin that I had something left in reserve. Rather than finding it a slog, I felt my energy returning as I was walking up and could have run from halfway. Managed a fast last mile down into Guisely, felt like the end of a 10k! Cheers to the organisers, good organisation and grub as always.
Finally, just a word of warning and a timely reminder that the upmost care needs to be taken during these kind of events, even for those of us who have done dozens (or even hundreds before). A friend of mine had a nasty fall on the way down off the Moor to the Ilkley checkpoint at about 12m. Fell down, gashed leg and knee badly on rocks. She felt naucious and even briefly passed out. Ok afterwards but did have to pull out and lost a fair bit of blood.