Good times (not necessarily the time I ran) at the Avalanche Peak Challenge in the weekend. I would not say expectations were high, rather, I was looking to have a good hard hit out and see where I was at in my UTMF build up. For whatever reason, I went out somewhat fast from the start as we did the small loop around the Village. Why, I am not sure? I never race like this and I learnt why not. We hit the climb and I almost immediately felt like shit. I had nothing in my legs for the climb and unfortunately had about another 1020 meters of steep, rocky vertical to go….
Pretty quickly Tane pulled away, Rhys ran past and then Chris walked past me. Slowly the gap grew and grew. At the Low Peak there is a short downhill which I hammered down, feeling good to not be going uphill. Alastair McDowell was at this point and encouraged me by saying I looked better than the 3 in front and was 5mins down. All I could think was those guys must really look like shit, cause I sure felt it.
I was on the summit of Avalanche Peak in around 55min- a good 4mins slower than I was in 2010. It was great to be going downhill again, but I wasn’t at all gaining on Chris as he powered away. Down the scree I was extremely slow. Talking later a few people said it was in pretty bad shape, so I didn’t feel like a total nanna. Once I found a bit of a groove I felt pretty good down the Crow and to my surprise came up on Rhys as the lower Crow opened up and we crossed the river. I had him in my sights and felt I should be able to real him in by the time we reached the single track that cross the flats to the Waimak, at which point I would put on a surge along the flats- the only part of this little plan I had not factored in was tripping and falling hard on the dry river bed. Ankle, knee, stomach/chest- it all hurt and I just lay for a while, making a long, strange nose. I finally picked myself up, and took off hobbling, slower than walking pace, unable to move my right leg. This thankfully did not last, my hobbling walk turned into a hobbling run, which then returned to my normal run, which is not much more graceful than my “hobbling run”. I had not really lost too much time thankfully- Rhys was now 200-300 meters ahead, rather than 100 meters, but we still had 8 or so km’s to the Bealey Pub. By the time I got to the river flats the whole falling incident was behind me and I was flying. but so was Rhys. Luckily he was weaving all over the show down the river bed and when I quit following him all over the place he was easy pickings.
I made it to the Bealey in 2hr39, a good 10mins behind Tane and Chris who were within 1min of each other (Tane winning his 2nd APC title) and about 10mins behind 2010 Grant.
A bit disappointing to be that much slower than I was in 2010, but I think the build ups to this year and then were chalk and cheese- I am 100% sure I am in way better shape now than then and things are on track for UTMF.
It was great to be back racing locally and to see a few folks I have not seen in a while.
Also a Big thank you to the great support I am again receiving this year! Some great folks and company’s please check out their logo’s on the right hand side bar. But a special mention to Salomon Running. This will be the 3rd year that I have been working with Salomon Running. Holly and the crew at Salomon NZ, and Greg at international have been very supportive of me and it is a honer have this support. Even it I wasn’t getting kit would still be rocking Salomon- it is what works best for me- a few of the boys at the fish had there shoes off, complaining of sore feet and there shoes not quite cutting it- not me- Salomon FellCross all the way 😉