What a difference a year makes! Long gone was “2010 Routeburn Grant” this past Saturday, in his place was some whimp that walked a bunch of hills, got blisters on his poor little feet and had big ochy on his knee. Yet, despite all that it wasn’t all that bad and I certainly crossed the line with a smile.
By far the biggest frustration of the weekend was getting up at 530 Friday morning only to wait 4.5hrs in Chch airport waiting to fly down to Q’town. By the time we finally arrived I only had time to run around QT to do gear check, grab some food and catch the early bus to Te Anau. I was feeling pretty good Friday night, living the high life in a flash as hotel room, but knew the next day was gonna be nothing like it was the year earlier. The plan post TuM was to crank out some good solid speed sessions, but I refocused from the Routeburn to TNF100 and opted for more longer runs when the patellar tendonitis in my left knee allowed. So a year ago the Routeburn was the focus of my whole summer and this year I was pretty close to pulling out a week or 2 out, but it is such a great event, on such a great course I couldn’t not go, especially with the depth of the field this year. It was really warm on the start line and when the gun went off predictably James Kugler went straight to the front, with Bevan Steves close behind, closely followed by a chase pack. We hit Howdon hut around 21mins, about the same as last year, maybe a little slower and by the time we got to Earlin Falls we were down to 4, James still leading, then Bevan, myself and Nick Hirsfeild. Our split to McKenzie was about 2mins faster than what I did last year and due to the lads in front going a touch off course I took the lead here. James quickly fell off the back, and we were 3, but not for long. I was really hurting and walking the steep bits on this climb (I think I walked about 4 steps last year) and Bevan took the lead- and was gone. Nick quickly passed me also and was about 1min a head at Ocean peak Corner. James started to close the gap on me around here (maybe with in 1 min?) and I was about 2mins behind Nick at Harris. Things were grim for me. I made it to Harris in about the same time as last year, but it was so much harder. Last year it just felt effortless, this year it was just miserable.
I knew I wasn’t gonna catch the boys in front, but was waiting to be mass passed by multiple people, surprisingly this never happened. Almost as surprising was I run 2hr55, which isn’t to shabby considering how I felt.
Pretty humbling- 1st by 18mins and 90secs of the course record last year to 3rd and now 6mins off the CR this year.
Both Bevan and Nick run really well- good job guys! I don’t like to say shit like “well last year” or “if so and so bad ass was here today” or that kind of crap, but a big part of me really wished that 2010 Routeburn Grant was standing on the start line this past Saturday. I don’t know if the results/time would have been that different, but I am think the way the race played out would have been different, I just remember it being sooo easy last year! But, I do know 2010 Routeburn Grant would just blow chunks at TNF100 in 10 or so days, and that is the goal.
Over all it was a really really good weekend and I had a great time racing and got to meet some new friends and catch up with some old ones, as well as a really good catch up with my folks. Evan the race director was, as always, in fine form and I have to thank him for looking after me for the weekend. Who know whats gonna happen next summer, I am always keen to race different events, but I know I will have a hard time not returning to the Routeburn.