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planetFear - Rock Climbing, Adventure Racing, Mountain Biking

To race or not to race....

Posted by Nik Cook
Monday 8th June 2009

Logic and common sense would say no and both my physio and osteo insisted that looking at the bigger picture was the way to go. However as my wife was intending to race, and I was going to have to drive her to the races, I knew how frustrating hanging around at the starts and finishes would be. So, by the day of the race, I decided on the "compromise" of running but not racing. Just enjoying the scenery, keeping within my limits and seeing it as a training session..... yeah right!

Arriving in Castleton, the rain was pouring down and the temperature had plummeted to 5C (you've got to love June in the UK).  Meeting up with my Goyt Valley Striders clubmates, there was a really strong turnout and series points were going to be keenly contested. 

Lining up, every competitive fibre in me was firing and adrenaline was surging round my system. I tried to rein myself in but knew there was no way I was going to take it as a relaxed potter. Out of my clubmates, I knew Andy Pead would comfortably beat me and then there were two or three other guys who, if they were on form, would press me. At the gun I hared off and, having only been doing long steady stuff, my body was instantly shocked by the demands I was putting on it. It was a bit like taking a diesel van and sticking it in a drag race. 

Hitting the main climb of Lose Hill, I knew I had to throttle back but was pleased to be able to run the whole thing and that, out of my club, only Andy was ahead.  Onto the ridgeline and the climb had blunted the adrenaline rush of the start. I settled into a steadier pace aiming to maintain my position but not push super hard for places. The long drag from Hollins Cross to Mam Tor suited my engine and, as the race went on, I seemed to be getting stronger and stronger. 

Turning back for the descent I stretched out back to Hollins Cross. After about a minute I passed Jonathan from my club coming up and, although I reckoned that gave me 3 or 4 minute on him, I knew I couldn't cruise the rest of the descent. Putting thoughts of turned ankles to the back of my mind I skittered down the steep rocky top section and then opened up the throttle on the flat road run in. I felt really strong and, as I crossed the line, wished there was another couple of "laps" so that my stamina could kick in.

I'd finished in 49:42 (6.2miles/1500ft), come 19th overall and 2nd in my club. I was definitely lacking top end speed for these shorter races but was please that I'd made a reasonable showing. More importantly i'd really enjoyed it so I guess I'll be racing the whole series.... who knows, by the end of the summer I might be turbo diesel!  

mustering a sprint at Kinder Downfall 2008 

Read more blog entries by Nik Cook

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