Ampthill Trophy XC Race
Today signaled the start of the cross country season at the Ampthill Trophy, hosted by Ampthill and Flitwick Flyers and held in the wonderful Ampthill Park. This year was the first year that I have done this race and it was rather refreshing to be able to jog to the start of an event and run on familiar trails. With the park being about 800 yards from my front door, I knew that is was going to be bumpy and therefore pretty tough. There was also the added motivation of a couple of friends running and therefore a bit of friendly competition.
My warm up was a ten minute run to the event HQ at Parkside Hall, during which my legs felt awful. When I say awful, I mean terrible, awful and horrible! I considered turning round and heading home, but I reasoned that I could trundle round, get beaten and put it down to experience. I collected my number, pinned it to my jersey and headed for the start line.
On my way up the hill to the start I grabbed a few words with a buddy of mine who was marshalling, he pointed out that the best strategy for the course was to start a bit slower than normal and make progress on the second of the laps. Sounded like a plan, it would also give me some time to get into my running and see how my legs where feeling. After saying ‘hi’ to few other friends, having the customary team line-up picture, it was time to line up and get underway.
5,4,3,2,1..go and off we went. The two chaps I was hoping to beat went blasting off leaving me wondering whether if they were faster than I thought or if they had got caught up in the excitement of the race. I held my nerve and stuck to the plan of starting slowly and making up places once the uphill started. And so it came to pass that on the uphills I passed people and on the downhills (which I’m rubbish on) I got passed. After the first lap I was feeling quite comfortable and tried to put the hammer (everything is relative!) down a little. Before long and a whole heap of pain later I was trundling up the last hill of the day, turned left and the finish appeared in my site…sprint time!! Another race done, not my greatest, but it was tough and I got to the finish. Happy days.