Sunday, 21 November 2010

Claybank West Fell Race 2010

Prolonged rain yesterday. Heavy showers this morning and the thermometer had forgotten to get up. Two degrees as the sleet splattered the windscreen as I parked up on Claybank for the Claybank West Fell Race.

At 9.15am there wasn't too many folk around, but by 10:15am there was a snaking queue outside the organisers car, his mobile office.

Around 150 had turned up for this 4 mile bogfest. To be truthful, it wasn't so much boggy but just plain slippy as the clay that leads up to the Roof of the North York Moors (which was where we were headed) is thin and peppered by loads of cobbles and boulders that lie in wait to ambush you, should you drop your guard. I had donned my bib-tights, an all in one cycling garment that's great in wet, cold conditions. It was also a double glove day.

After advising the gathered chattering throng that it was wet and to check the risk assessment, Dave Parry set us off and it took me a good 5 minutes to get a rhythm going. I just caught a glimpse of Joe Blackett (Dark Peak) and a clutch of NFR's at the top of the first ascent, but then it was a wet trog through the woods where if you lifted your head for a minute to look around, the boulders would have taken your ankles from you.

This time, I made sure I stayed with the big group of 10 which had loosely formed as we headed out west for 2 miles along the top of Broughton Bank. Because of the conditions there were loads of runners with their cagoules and hats on, so identification of who was around you wasn't possible. I knew I was adrift and off the pace from early on though and the group began to inevitably split. This time at least I was somewhere in the middle as it fragmented. We soon turned and headed up the 2 ascents and past Wainstones with its pre-historic carvings, but there was no time to do the time-team-thing. There were a few families out walking and a couple of bored wet lads kindly gave us our positions as we passed them. I was 23rd. Hanging out of the top 20, I tried to up the pace along the paved ridge that's part of the Cleveland Way. With the climbing work out of the way I passed 2 runners (one from Thirsk in road shoes) and, before long, I found myself careering down the soft grey scree slope and onto the tussocky grass before been passed by someone who reminded me of me 2 years ago when I was happy to throw myself down the slopes. It was then back into the woods for the finish at around 36 minutes.

Afterwards, I took a few snaps and then managed to lose my car key, which was careless but par for the course. Those kind folk from the Quakers Club found it for me.
Good bash. This sort of day out makes you feel alive. Will Horsley (NFR) won it from Dan Middlemiss (Loftus) and Jim Mann (DFR) 3rd. Shelley Gordon (New Marske) narrowly beat Charlotte Edge (jnr) from Scarborough and Angharad Owen of Loftus 3rd. Photos already up at Dave Aspins Site (See Link). Results to follow on the Esk Valley site.

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