First ride this morning in a few months. And oh, what a success! I'm so out of practice of packing for a long ride that I left my helmet and bike shoes at home. Great. Thus my intended attempt at a River Loop was shortened to incorporate the Green Bridge from the uni, and only 20ks or so instead the best laid plans...
While I had to dust the cobwebs off trusty "Lance", I have been keeping myself busy with running. In fact, I completed my first off-road race just a couple of weeks ago at the Lamington Classic, a marathon over two days - 21.8ks each way on the Border Track between Binna Burra and O'Reilly's. Saturday, O'Reilly's to Binna Burra and Sunday, back to O'Reilly's.
My mate Megsy sent out an "anyone in?" email a few months back. I decided it would be a good way to keep me doing something post France, so we entered early in September. I kept up my running and starting building my distance back up.
A few weeks later I was online and saw the following announcement on the site:
Update: Entries closed Friday 26 Sept as we reached our 50 limit, but…
A limit of 50? What kind of race was this? Probably not one for less talented athletes such as us! I had images of all the athletes finishing in a couple of hours or less, then a couple of hours later, Megsy and I would stagger from the forest... As it turned out it wasn't far off that, and although we didn't stagger we had enjoyed the company of the Tail-End Sweep for most of the day.
I had been worried that my longest runs of only 16ks or so wouldn't be enough endurance - this fear was unfounded; my unfamiliarity with running on what to me was rugged terrain meant I couldn't really run all that much anyway. The middle section of the track particularly was quite wild - large mud holes, fallen trees to climb over, and some quite thin areas of track. A couple of creek crossings for good measure providing some nice slippery rocks to scramble over.
The fastest runners had an overall time for both days that was less than our Saturday time. Our Sunday time did not officially get recorded at all, as we set out earlier to get much needed head-start. Although I am disappointed that we were not be recorded as both way finishers, Megsy had fulfilled a lifetime dream to traverse the Border Track both ways, and I'd had my first taste of offroad racing.
All in all the Lamington Classic was a fantastic experience. An inexpensive weekend away, with two nights' accommodation provided for a small fee on top of event entry, making the cost of the entire weekend racing, accommodation and meals for just $110. What a bargain!
On top of that, the chance to challenge yourself physically, and to meet some fantastic people. The great thing about trail running is that the kind of people it attracts are all similar. They care for the environment and are mindful and respectful of other runners. It was great to share the weekend with them, particularly Saturday night when we found out some more of the history of what the organisers believe is the oldest trail run in Australia.
Thanks to Bruce and the organising committee for a fantastic weekend.
And what of the Athletic Powerhouse? Well, I declared at the beginning of the post that I'm back... so time to recommit not only to a full training schedule, but also to the much-neglected-lately Triathlete Chronicles.