I don’t think the matchup was entirely fair in the end to be honest but man vs barge was another good trail race from TeamOA where I managed 6th place on dead legs.
Having spent an utterly incredible 3 days in Chamonix with the Trail Team (much much more on that in coming posts!) covering 95km and 18000ft of elevation on monday-thursday, I figured this race might be a week too early for my legs and since I could barely walk yesterday I figured I did well to toe the start line!
I roughly knew the route and the distance of around 5 miles (it was a little less in the end) but with it being a big initial climb over the hill then back down the other side on a longish descent I know well from the finish of the Cake Race.
The cunning race plan…
With all the Trail Team miles in my legs, I figured I’d just go hard right from the start and climb hard knowing I can descend as fast as most people I’ll ever race.
My thinking was that basically my legs would either be fine and I’d be in the mix at the front of the race or I’d blow up completely and just get to the finish as best I could but not worry too much about the result.
In the end, I went out hard and lasted about a quarter of a mile before my legs just went LOLZ .. Nope .. and filled with lactic acid and I had to walk less than 5 minutes in and watch helplessly as about 12 people passed me.
I had anticipated this might be the case so I took a Torq gel which I wouldn’t normally bother with in such a short race but sometimes you just need a little extra boost and it worked to a degree but it wasn’t my lungs or heart that were troubled, just the miles in my legs.
Despite it not being cold, I wanted to race in my new VapourLight Hyper Smock provided for the Trail Team by Berghaus to see how it felt without a pack on and despite the good conditions it was light and I never felt like I’d overheat so good to know it’s a solid option as an easy layer for racing light in short races.
Lessons from Chamonix
Our guide in Chamonix, JuliaTregaskis-Allen, actually gave us a lot of mini lessons through the few days of running and one was a good refresher on good form when your legs are tired and while I think she probably meant it more for the back end of long ultras and not a pathetic half mile into a local trail race but still it was good to remember to get my head up, increase my cadence a little and push on.
After about 2 miles and getting the bulk of the main climb out of the way my legs came to life a little and I started reeling in a couple of folks who’d passed me and just concentrated on slowly closing down the ones ahead to within a minute or so because I knew how fast I could fly down the final descent but ultimately I got back to 6th place from about 12th halfway but just didn’t have enough to trouble the ones in front this time.
Great fun though and a decent 36:22 minute blast on fatigued legs and a bottle of ale at the end instead of a medal.
I felt sorry for the tourists on the barge. They appeared 2 hours later. I think the next man vs barge will need a significantly longer route for runners!