Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Big three for March - 1: Golden Fleece Circuit

All is going well so far this year. Having completed two good months training with just a few LDWA challenge events in the mix it's now time for the switch up with back to back weekend events over marathon length.
  1. Golden Fleece Circuit - 26.5m
  2. Wuthering Hike - 32m
  3. Hardmoors 55
The first of these events was the Saturday before last. I entered this new event organised to commemorate a local man and an opportunity to run an LWDA challenge-style event on my doorstep. But having done it I've realised its the first step back up to longer distances and days out. My legs also confirmed that on Saturday!

There was a really good turnout for a supposed 26.5m event from South Cave despite a grey, overcast sort of day. We'd be out through local villages and parkland into the agricultural rolling hills of the East Yorkshire Wolds. Returning to face its toughest hills in the closing 3 miles. The 'supposed' comment comes on the back of me plotting the route and finding it to be at least 27m on the map - maybe 26.5m was a string measurement - which usually means more when on my feet. Anyway, no complaints here about a bit of extra mileage, all a bonus to me.

I set off out with Mark, a conservative start worked well to have a catch up and for me to digest the last of breakfast. Over field edge tracks to Everthorpe - a little hamlet which unfortunately shares its name with a nearby prison - and then to North Cave. Here we emerged into the car park where there is a Rudolph's Romp refreshments checkpoint. For some reason I had it in my head there would be one here today, but consulting the map set me straight. No issues, I don't particularly like to eat so soon into a run.

Over the road and through Hotham Hall park, a good tarmacced track and continuing along fairly flat land meant we could keep up a better than usual pace for an LDWA challenge. Hotham village offered first refreshments, a nice piece of shortbread and off along field edge tracks into the woods paralleling the Rudolph's Romp route still. This then changed as we turned right after a short while following a long straight track-cum-road to North Newbald, through and round two of refreshments. A water top up was appreciated as despite the dreich conditions it was fairly close so I'd sweated a fair bit.


A typical Wolds dale on a somewhat sunnier, summer day
 The flatness of the course can best be summed up when I tell you the first walked climb came after this checkpoint as we scaled to a small hill brow and round the field edge to then drop down into what Mark and I agreed was a typical, if small, Wolds dale with its typical, almost geometric cut out of rounded hills above.

A good steady climb followed, we passed a few other runners and I felt like we were going quite strongly, though I could tell the distance already covered quite fast could make the latter miles of thism one quite tough.

Through another checkpoint at and it was now around a few field edges to eventually join a track into Bishop Burton. This was a section I'd covered once in a longer training run before, so I shouldn't have got lost and didn't.... really. Mark and I simply got carried away with good pace and followed several runners in front on auto-pilot, I soon realised something wasn't right. I knew we wereen't far off right so consulted the map and found we'd turned left rather than right a few hundred yards back, following a better track which then curled round to parallel the correct route anyway. Our navigation check meant that the runners ahead were now too far off to call back, so we continued parallel and then cut right along a field edge track edeging two small plantations to pop back on the course for the addition of no more than half a mile - definately going over 27m today now!

It seems that Mark and I and the guys in front who were now probably heading to the north of Bishop Burton rather than south for a ~2m extension, weren't the only ones adding distance today. I was quite suprised to see Jon Steele and Dave Cremins pass along the road in front of us shortly before where the track hit it. mark and I had thought they'd have galloped off well into the distance by now, but it seemed some degree of detour had allowed us to nearly catch up.

We mad good progress south along the undulating road before hitting field edge paths again into Walkington and the next CP. More confusion reined in Walkington with people seemingly not knowing the right (or best) way through the village. I steered us in the right direction, picking up another who seemed unsure along the way. On heading out of the village, Jon and Dave appeared from a side track now just behind us, local knowledge was serving me well now. In fact, at around this time I told Mark I knew the rest of the route like the back of my hand and that he could shoot me if we went wrong from here on in. I think this was well received news, as he offered a response suggesting he was not worried and didn't have a gun on him anyway.

The penultimate descent, To lovely Woo Dale, on a Sunnier day
More Wolds undulations and Skidby came and went, taking us to the often painful stretch of track which is Riplingham road. Straight ahead for the best part of two miles all the while slightly uphill. We were both glad when we joined an adjacent track climbing away over a hill to the main road. At this point its fair to say we were feeling the miles, going on for 25m now, but at least we were holding our own in what was now a well spaced field. With one exception we didn't see any other runners in the last hour, a reflection of what the length and navigation of the route was doing to quite a decent sized field - for an LDWA challenge anyway.

We got to the last CP - at a pig farm. At the recent Filey Flyer we'd had a CP in a barn next to munching cows, there appears to be a theme here.... what next? The CP lady and girls were very enthusiastic, which is also true of all volunteers today and generally in these events. From here it has up and over a small hill to the "muddy cross roads" - a local tag for this somewhat muddy, dale bottom, confluence of tracks.

The final and toughest hill of the day (taken on a sunnier day)
With a right turn we were on the Wolds way and heading on a very steady uphill to tackle the final few and hilliest miles of the day. Rain broke out from the otherwise non-offensive drizzle and murk for the first time, but lasted almost no time as we pushed ourselves up the path, road and track to the top of Spout Hill near Brantingham. Coming down Spout hill, on a clear day gives you arguably the best view of the area as you look down over flat lands north and south of the humber and into South Yorkshire. Part way down we switched off the tarmacced drive onto a fenced path which runs down through pasture to meet the road at Brantinghams pretty church. Up the road and it was time for two short but steep climbs - pictured above. Firstly up and down into romantically named Woo Dale. Then on up the initially steep walk to top of Mt. Airey.

Looking back down this hill as we disappeared into trees we were quite surprised to see somebody at the bottom of the hill. We were finishing ok despite the mid-run pace, but these guys were obviously very strong. This made us pick up our pace a little towards the top of the hill and put a spring in our step as we rounded the farm, followed the drive sweeping downhill and then cut off onto the downhill path into South Cave. I kept having a look back during the final mile towards the finish, but we'd done enough to hold our hard earned place in the field.

So lots of quite fast pace for trail and the calves felt this over the next few days. But next up, my first attempt at the slightly longer - 32m - Haworth Hobble/Wuthering Hike over in Bronte Country.

2 comments:

  1. Nice report ta Dan 8-)

    Do u have a route map or GPS/Garmin file or owt?

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  2. I really liked this part of the article, with a nice and interesting topics have helped a lot of people who do not challenge things people should know.. You need more publicize this so many people who know about it are rare for people to know this... Success for you.....!!!

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