Monday, 5 July 2010
Osmotherley Phoenix - 3rd July 2010
33 miles of North Yorkshire Cleveland Way and moors
Ok, so this is my second dip at the Phoenix. Last year I took a very ordinary 7 hours and 57 mins to get round as I fooled myself into thinking I needed to stay relatively fresh for the following Saturdays Lyke Wake Race. That day, my first Phoenix, was the hottest I’ve ever run in and the climb out of Chop Gate, up Trennet Bank nearly did for me ... leaving me in a poor state for the last half of the race. Today, I managed a marginally better 7 hours 24 mins and this is pretty much how.
At 6.00am on the drive up, there wasn’t a cloud to be seen but thankfully the 9.00am church bell saw the day start perfectly under semi cloud and a breeze; away out of the village was reasonable although the constant warnings to stay hydrated, and threats of 50% humidity, meant that there appeared to be a runner behind most trees taking the obligatory loo stop. I managed two before checkpoint 1!
Climbing Carlton Bank, leaving the walkers far behind, running comfortably feels great and the views are worth the trip alone! however the lazy skirting round Cringle Moor, through Broughton Plantation, provides a welcoming shade before the tramp up to Botton Head trig point takes us to a great high spot and a very welcome cooling breeze at the self clip. Stop, a photo, a swill of water, jelly babies and then it’s a retrace and we`re heading gun barrel straight south westwards and down off Urra Moor and into the Bilsdale Beck Dale area.
I don’t need to look across the valley to know that Trennet Bank awaits us all. Not too comforting to know that the leaders are long away by know but I’m determined to feel, and look, better up and over the top this time but it’s still a climb. Made a shameful show for Mark Hartells` photography - leaving the chop gate checkpoint, I pretended to run up the Bank ... managed about three strides before the obligatory shuffle up and over but its soon done then it`s away down to the yellow brick road off the Arnsgill Ridge and onto Wheat Beck.
Great to wave the 26 milers off down the “short route” sign before facing the dreaded Lower Locker Farm sheepdogs... p .s Mark, so glad that photo didn’t come out.
This particular section provided a great opportunity for me, which I took, for proper map reading and I took all the right lines, leading my mob safely round the fields and wooded contours to the final manned checkpoint at Hawnby. The last bit now and passed Arden Hall up and onto the old drovers’ road and possibly the best view in England. From Little Moor, passed Arden Great Moor onto Black Hambleton is spectacular: could I run back from here non-stop? Nearly.... actually saw Osmotherley with the garmin tantilisingly at 6 hours 50 mins but by the time I got down to the reservoirs of Oak Dale the question was could I break 7.30? ... Of course.
Any morals from today?
• I’m now interested in improving my times
• My drinking and eating is getting sorted and well balanced
• I didn’t fall down once
• My navigation worked
• I met people who now know me
I’m still doing the Lyke Wake Race next weekend ... and looking forward to it. But Last year this was the warm up act for me, which sounds disrespectful as the Lyke Wake was a long held ambition. Absolutely not the case: the organisation and support from all at the Phoenix is second to none, from the car park, through all the checkpoints to the tea at the finish.
Must remember next year to keep left on entering the village or else the sniper will shoot me! If the dogs at Lower Locker Farm don’t get me first eh? ...