Saturday, 11 June 2011

Traprain Law Hill Race

This was a new one on me, though Peter had raved about it. Really a trail run with a hill in the middle he had said and that seemed about right. Despite the forecast saying it would be kind of dry in the morning it rained relentlessly and never showed much sign of stopping til we dropped Willie back in Musselburgh round about 5ish. And it still looks drizzly outside now and looks poised to rain upon the Moon Walkers...

This being a championship race I could have expected to see quite a few Porties, but I'd forgotten so was surprised to see so many familiar faces! My attention had been taken up in  an 11th hour effort to try and fix my brake lights which had mysteriously stopped working. The top light was working so it seemed like it couldn't be something systemic like a fuse could it? And it couldn't be the brake light switch could it? (I didn't know there was any such thing as a brake light switch until, as with all problems, I turned to Google to help me last night.) But the brake lights are the same bulbs as the tail lights and the tail lights were working so it couldn't be the bulbs could it? So I learned today that there are two filaments on tail brake light bulbs, one being for the brake and one for the tail light and the brake light filaments had burned out. Why? Oh go away, I shall never know. What matters is that we changed the bulbs this morning and suddenly the problem was fixed...

And off we went to pick up Willie and hurtle towards East Linton on a very wet A1.

Apparently last year's race was hot and dry. Well not today. Even the registration tent had water coming through the roof. We stood a while taking shelter in the children's play area. It was a shame for East Linton fair which looked like it could have been fun. It even had a live band. I happened to mention that it reminded me of Knebworth circa 1986ish when I foolishly went with some "metal" friends down to Knebworth to see the reincarnation of Deep Purple...or something like that. I went purely because there was a free ticket for me if I wanted it. I was more into the Talking Heads, David Bowie - stuff like that. It had been raining all day and Knebworth was a mud bath. There was nowhere to hide baby. I remember trying to draw some warmth from being in a vast crowd of people in leather jackets, slipping about in the mud, watching a tiny stage miles away where, presumably, Deep Purple were making their comeback. There seemed to be a joke somewhere in the fact that so many leather jackets now stood in a field just as originally they would have when they were worn by cows.(If you get my drift.)  Like the crowd were dressed up as cows in a field. There was meant to be an epic laser show. Purple lights with the rain tipping down. I quite enjoyed seeing Meatloaf. He's a funny bugger.

Well, what should happen but that Willie Jarvie should pipe up and tell me he was at the same gig! Isn't life strange. Although its possible that Willie Jarvie is everywhere because when we gave Mark Johnston's brother Paul a lift to Broughton Heights Hill Race, when he got in the car and saw Willie they both immediately recognised each other because they used to play football together.

So there was something about standing about in the rain waiting for the race to start that made your mind drift a bit...

A very brief "warm up" (it was freezing) and...we were off!

Great fun. Really quite fast and furious trails along the now slippery and treacherous riverbank. You absolutely had to keep your momentum up in order not to start slipping sideways and into the river. Quite early on Shery and Ruth disappeared into the distance, and knowing they would definitely beat me in a road race I kind of gave up on chasing them and concentrated on my own race.

The river was fairly deep and I heard afterwards that Shery went for a proper duck under! I really didn't want to, thinking how heavy all your clothes would be if you did go in - so slowed right down. After that the hill kicked in. I got past an HBT lady and never saw her again. Up ahead I could see Andrew Stavert and then much further on I could see Ruth...and I was gaining on them both. Maybe the game wasn't quite up yet. By just below the epic rock climby bit (with ropes), I was right behind these two and could tell from Ruth's demeanor that she wasn't too happy at the moment. I did like this section and was feeling chipper. The rock looked treacherous but there were lots of little sharp bits for your feet on the way up and a good fence on one side was reassuring too. At the top of this Ruth had slowed right down so I went past not really knowing what kind of response to expect from her - I was glad when she didn't come back for me right away...One thing I've learned about Ruth is that she doesn't give up so I was pretty sure she'd be coming back at me at some point. It was a fairly nice downhill and I was in a good state of mind for it. Still feeling relatively buoyant about getting those brake lights fixed. Irrationally I was feeling that the universe was on my side today and while not throwing myself wildly down the hill, neither was I slowing down and being over-cautious as I sometimes am. At the stile at the bottom of the field a marshall told me I was 44th and 2nd. 2nd lady? Oh hell. I hadn't paid much attention to what other ladies were there at registration - could it be that I was 2nd (and soon to be 3rd - that Ruth had appeared quite close behind me as I sneaked a look at the stile.) I ran as well as I could down the next stretch of tarmac trying not to give up too easily. I stayed ahead for quite a while, and for well down the trail, but when Ruth finally did go past me I could do nothing more than tell her well done and to keep going. Maybe I was still 3rd anyway. Knowing that this was a bit of a lazy philosophy I kept on trying...what if some other lady was right behind looking to steal 3rd off me? "Hold onto 3rd" I told myself, which my brain turned into "Hold onto 16 as long as you can," and I heard "Jack and Diane" for the whole of the next thrash along the riverbank. I had occasional glimpses of the retreating back of Ruth J. - anytime it was uphill in fact, I seemed to gain, but then lost her again just as quickly when things levelled. Horses for courses indeed.

Eventually it was all over and I got in shortly behind Ruth who was resting up with a very pale face and a loose lacer in the children's play area. I was still nursing the hope that we were going to be Porty girls 1,2 and 3 which I ran past Peter and he quickly entirely flattened. A Dunbar lady had got in well ahead of us Porties.  "Nah" he said, shaking his head. "You should have run faster." There was still half a chance if I was 4th lady of getting a vet's prize - but if I'd have studied the prize list beforehand I would have realised that this was not a race that wished to over-reward ladies with too much in the way of bling and baubles, there being a prize for 1st lady,1st lady vet and 1st Lady Supervet, end of...

The Porty team did well - Gareth feeling stimulated by the sight of his old primary school playground to come in 2nd overall, Shery being 1st Vet (2nd lady) and Gillian McKelvie taking 1st V50.The Porty men picked up the team prize beers.

There was a fantastic spread of cakes and sandwiches for the price of a donation of whatever you cared to donate. The cakes were delicious and Gillian McK impressed me with just how much cake she could tuck away.

All Porties present that I was aware of were Douglas, Michael F (who did a pb at the Parkrun in the morning), Johnny, Gareth, Willie, Phil Owens, Andrew S. and Peter, plus me, Ruth, Shery and Gillian for the ladies.

Good effort team!

POST SCRIPT After a little research I have found that the concert that Willie and I attended was on 22nd June 1985. (Nearly 26 years ago!)  I even found pictures of it with a description (it all came flooding back) of the crowd pissing in bottles and then throwing them at the stage and up in the air. ROCK ON I SAY! Knebworth 1985.


DS said...

|I was at that concert, Meat Loaf had broken his leg in Australia and was on the comeback trail and I thought he played a decent set, the majority of the audience seemed completely drunk (in those days you could take alcohol into festivals) and obviously disagreed, I recall Meat's bass player had a bright yellow T shirt and gave the crowd the finger early on, not a good idea as he was a sitting duck for the rest of the show, It was Purple's first UK show after reforming and I have yet to see a better concert, 26 years on, they were awesome, even if our coach did get stuck in the mud and we got home at some ungodly hour, still the pubs were just opening when we got back, going into the local with the same clothes you stood about in a field all the previous day with the now dried out contents of plastic bottles does tend to give you plently of room at the bar.

Yak Hunter said...

DS thanks for the comment and I'm loving the level of detail!