Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Xterra #1 - Riverhead

The Blackmore's Xterra trail run/walk series is comprised of 7 trail running events around Auckland and is extremely popular. The series kicked off at Riverhead Forest on Sunday the 18th of April.

Riverhead forest was crisp and peaceful at 8am on Sunday morning but hordes of runners soon arrived, amped up to hit the trails. I was running the 23km 'Super long' course which started at the same time as the 19km 'Long' course. Lining up with over 200 competitors was a strange experience as most of my races have been in small fields of under 100.

The first couple of kilometres up a gravel forestry road saw everyone jockeying for position before hitting the first single track and the ensuing bottle neck. I take a while to get into my stride so was back towards the middle of the pack (I think). The course is made up of sections of single track (mostly mtb trails) through the pine forest or scrub interspersed with 4wd tracks and gravel roads. The first few pieces of single track were a bit frustrating as I was a lot more confident off road than most of those around me and the passing options were limited. It wasn't until the long / super long split at 13km that I felt like I had sufficient breathing room and properly settled into my run. It was also around this point that the tendons in my feet began tightening up. One downhill section was particularly steep and slippery (the Workbench downhill mtb track) and ended at a deep creek where the 'bridge' was simply narrow wooden slats nailed to a tree trunk which spanned the water. Crossing with clay-covered shoes required care as these slats were not level! Re-joining the long course signalled 4km to go and it was simply a case of keep on keeping on.

Of course, no description of a run at Riverhead would be complete without mentioning the mud. Sometimes it was just slippery, sticky clay, and other times it was deep puddles of watery mud across the track. The last couple of km was very flat, very muddy, and very slippery. To make matters harder, we caught up to participants in the shorter courses and trying to dodge people in the mud was interesting.

I finished in 2:14:33. Had a steady run, but nothing spectacular.

Photos by photos4sale

No comments:

Post a Comment