Lesley Pymm reports: It was that time of year again and I was heading off up the M6 each Thursday during rush hour and wondering why I was bothering. This is a series of 3 events which I really enjoy and when I get there I realise that there is a reason for dealing with the frustration of the traffic. This is a really friendly event over 3 different 5 mile(ish) courses.
Hanchurch Hilly – This was a different course to the one we have been using over the last few years. The wind and rain over the previous few evenings had brought a number of trees down on the usual course and there was not time to clear it. We ended up on a slightly short, two lap course in Hanchurch Woods. It is hilly, but we missed out the muddy gully that we all know and love. In fact the main topic of conversation amongst finishers was that they were not covered in mud!
Milford Murder – Starting on Milford Common this is the usual course that has been used over the last few years. It starts with a climb and then a drop down and onto a loop in the Chase. The loop is done twice and is quite hilly. The conditions were good and the ground dry. At the end we have to climb back out of the basin and then a downhill to the finish. I passed a couple of other women on the climb and went down to the finish like a mad woman – there was no way they were getting back at that point. I knew that I was leading my category and that I would be tired for the final event, so needed as much of a cushion in the points as possible.
Barlaston Ups and Downs – This was the event I was most worried about as I knew that I would be tired as I had cycled every day that week. I ambled out on the warm up and really had to force my legs to run! The race started and I was running downhill. It is a very steep road downhill and then onto Downs Banks where there are a couple of off road loops before we get back onto the road and run about 1 mile uphill again! I pushed myself as much as I could and was really pleased to stay ahead of the others in my category. I enjoyed the off-road section and then back on the road I was able to pick off a few as we climbed. I was pleased when I looked at my time and splits – time was about 12 seconds slower than last year, but I had lost most time on the first downhill mile – my final uphill mile was faster than last year!
The final event is followed by a lovely buffet and presentations in a real ale bar. This reminds me why I bother to battle with the M6 every year! Great event and great value.