Richmond Nice Work 10km

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Sunday was a gorgeous day. On the back end of Saturday’s meteorological erraticisms and angry skies, the sun rose and beamed on South West London. We made the pleasant and uneventful commute from Southampton fairly early to arrive in time for the gun at 10am. On arrival, Sheen gate (in the North East corner) was positively bustling and seemingly, as far as the eye, a human engine coughed and chortled into action. Two men with designer coffees and presumably occupied prams wandered carelessly through the Tamsin Trail. The queue for the toilets grew ever longer. Underneath the sprawling canopy of trees the beginning and end of the Richmond Nice Work 10km was found.

On arrival, having not been entirely familiar with the route I decided to canter along it, 1 km in each direction. It seemed reasonable enough. I would openly refer to the course as an enjoyable run. With a good mixture of terrains and gradients, it makes for a particularly interesting but not easily accomplishing course. I wouldn’t personally seek it out for a PB. The opening 3km take the form of an insidious climb, confusing the eyes but not the legs as the course brings you along the Tamsin trail to the Western most aspect and the peak of Richmond Hill. From there and acute turn almost back onto oneself is made onto a paved road, tumbling down Sawyer’s Hill lasting some 2km. From there a further kilometre began a grass lined ascent to the start.

Safe to say, I found the course difficult. Undulating, muddy swamps reflecting the preceding month’s weather, uneven grass patches – it did not make for straightforward racing. This said, I was still fortunate enough to register a chip time PB of 45:36. Although not a “Garmin PB” – I suspect it’s calibration may need some attention, I am holding this official time as my PB. The following is the race and the splits. Screenshot 2016-01-11 15.57.53.png

As can be seen, the second lap was a real pain. I overtook an older chap in a white cap as we passed 6km but was rapidly overtaken in the onslaught of an oncoming hill. As he crept away from me I decided to hold on to his pace for as long as possible with the intention of jumping an attack on the hill and getting away from him. As it happened, he sped up more than I could counter and I watched him peel away from me slowly but ever so deliberately. He must have maintained a minute’s gap at least as we passed the finish line. After the race we had a chat and I lamented with him on his fitness. He told me of his upcoming London Marathon  qualification via good for age. Disgusted, I shook his hand as he left.

All in all, another PB on the back of a non taper week and difficult (for me) course. I cannot help but think that perhaps what is required is a flat fast course for the required <45. Perhaps after Spring’s two half marathons a 10km is back in the picture. We’ll see.

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Team ChainLUBE

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RIP STUPID TOUR DE FRANCE DOG

Team ChainLUBE are a cycle group of my friends; Dan, Rafe, Peter and I. I am not my own friend but I am part of the group. Pete is also not pictured unfortunately. Obviously I am taking the picture. As the group’s weakest member, I feel that I should do what I can to increase our profile and so here I am writing words about West London’s greatest weekend interracial cycling team.

We cycled the London to Brighton route yesterday and the above picture was taken at our first stop at Richmond Park. The weather was glorious and the Sun had put his fucking hat on. Oddly enough, there were few people who accompanied us on the journey down though there seemed to be many on the opposite side. The roads were quiet enough and I have to say, I had forgotten how beautiful Sussex can be. Village after quaint village was traversed and bar the odd industrial estate, there was nothing to shade the eyes from. We passed some horses, cows and sheep if that’s your thing. Some manure too. I love the smell of manure. I could literally sit in a barn full of that shit (pun intended) and be abundantly happy with life.

I like to think that we made our own little Tour as we tumbled through southern England. In honesty it was almost a permanent breakaway pack with Ralph and Dan ahead and myself leading a lonely one-man peloton. I need to get better quickly. Nowhere was that more apparent than the Beacon Hill.

The Ditchling Beacon, for those of you that don’t know it, is the big fuck off hill that one must climb before the descent into Brighton. Marking an ascent of some 248m, perhaps it is not much for those of you seasoned cyclists, but for poseurs like myself with A FUCKING ILIOTIBIAL BAND (yes, yes I know everyone has one) it is a literal mind and body fuck. I guestimate that I made it to about 200 odd metres to the main vantage point and the glorious view bellow before my leg gave away and I am ashamed to admit I walked the rest. My compardres, seasoned cyclists that they were, climbed the hill without issue and I have promised myself that on my next attempt, I will piss all over it. It was the only hill I had to walk for and for now, I will satisfy myself that for a first attempt, I was quite happy to get to where I did. My ITBS playing up today was testament to my tribulations yesterday.

We finally rolled in Brighton, some 6 hours and 60 odd miles later. It was a lovely climax looking out onto the English Channel and there were many who had come to welcome us into the town. Maybe not, but there were many people there. We collapsed onto the rocks, I took a few lacklustre pictures and we made moves for some food. An hour or so later, we jumped on the train back to Victoria and enjoyed a well deserved rest. All in all we covered some 70-80 miles which should be good enough, in the way of practice for the intimidating John O Groats to Lands End ride we will be doing shortly. What – did I not tell you? Yeah, we’re doing that. Stay tuned.

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