Sunday, 27 February 2011

Dunbar XC

Last and I thought best (although I missed Norham so can't comment on that) of the Borders XC. I didn't have ideal prep. with 17+ miles in my legs and  2 and a half glasses of wine yesterday, and then I started having computer problems after midnight last night so was up til 2am tearing my hair out. (Its half fixed - don't know what's wrong - sometimes will boot up and sometimes not).

So didn't feel great crawling out of bed at 9am with gravelly eyes.

Andrew S. came along for a lift and we travelled down together.

The route had been changed at the 11th hour to White Sands, just beyond Dunbar. The landscape seemed vaguely  surreal as we approached on the single-track road. It was something about the flat expanse of wild grass, the cement factory billowing grey smoke and the wide sky above us.

At the car park there were more and more increasingly familiar faces! A few Porties, including Ian Goode, Johnny Lawson and Lynn Morrice showed up. (Lynn brought cake again!)

Mercifully, we got the running into the wind on soft sand over right at the start, running to one end of the beach and then turning around again, but with the wind now behind us. We ran back along the beach, up onto the headland and then a lot of enjoyable single-track, through gorse bushes, opening out onto paths and narrowing back down again. A tall, implacable, white lighthouse looked on.

Discussing this later, it wasn't just me that felt that the lighthouse took forever to pass and then forever to get to coming back in the other direction. Some trick of perspective made it always seem equally far away. Or maybe my fever is back. One of my ears blocked up again in protest at the cold wind. My heel  grumbled mildly but wasn't terrible.

Knowing that the last few weeks haven't been ideal training for ANYTHING I had really let go of all expectation, and although the cheerful Mr. Stavert taunted about how he was going to beat me today, I found I didn't mind. I kept myself busy focusing on another woman who was now a little ahead, now a little behind. She quite markedly struggled on the uphills so I tucked away that knowledge for later on, and sure enough, on the return journey, I caught her on an incline and then tried to keep going steady so as not to lose my advantage. I tucked in behind a Gala Harrier and then passed him and he tucked in behind me and used me shamelessly as a wind-break until the last flailing sprint during which he overtook me. I'd have done the same.

Then it was all over. A couple of the Portobello team were blooded having come unstuck on the final bit of gravelly road.

Back at Hallhill we got showers and heaps of soup, sandwiches and cake. Peter took home 3rd in his category (45-49) and Lynn and I took 2nd in our respective categories (39-39 & 40-44), so we were well pleased. Elegant trophies. Everyone who completed 3 races got horse brasses too which was a nice touch. Well organised event with millions of prizes.

A good finish to the XC season. Now I am icing my heel and wrestling with my laptop...

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