Report by the Hon. Handicapper:
My perfect racing scenario is probably an uphill only, vertical kilometre, (3300ft) climb in about 5 ish miles, however in the UK this is never going to happen, only in the Alps!
The nearest in the UK are the up & down races of Snowden, Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis and the much lower key BOFRA, Wasdale Head Show fell race. The show is a mixture of Herdwick Sheep, Hound trail races, vintage cars, motor bikes and various old steam powered farm machines, plus of course a race up and down the nearest hill…
The phrases, “A photo never lies“, a “A picture is worth a thousand words” and “Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics” came to mind in writing the report, not sure about the first two but the last in definitely wrong in this case.
The picture of the race route doesn’t really do justice to the steepness of the race. However the race stats. certainly do, 2400ft of ascent in approximately 1.25 miles. This works out the an average gradient of 36%, taking out the relatively flat start & finish and a bit near the summit, most of the climb must have a gradient in the 40 – 50% range. The local equivalence would be a mile or so of the steepist bit of the Chevin steps… Added to this a section of scree, which if you get on the wrong bit is like going up a down escalator. All in all a piece of cake, oh and watched over by the local legend of the fells Joss Naylor MBE.
Some more stats. that tell the story the winner Ted Mason ‘ran‘ the 2.5 mile route in 10 seconds under 40 minutes, I was 12th in spot on 45 minutes, happy to lose just 4 positions on the leg strength testing descent. Caron admitted to be a bit scared of toppling over on the descent but enjoyed the whole race experience finishing in 58th with a time of 1:19:51 and vows to make a return!