hover animation preload

Salomon X-Trail TTDI Race Report
by Denis Oakley in

I was a late entrant to this and only just squeezed in before the deadline. A 10km race 5 minutes away from home, off road and with lots of hills. What more could you ask for

The course was above the TTDI park - a quick loop around the school to spread the field and then two large peaks and multiple short climbs. The main sustained climbing is in the first 2 km with about 250m of height gain. Trails are mostly single with a few obtsacles and all under the jungle canopy.

As Senay was going out I decided to cycle over to TTDI and had a leisurely warm up on my hybrid- still with baby seat attached. Arrived early enough for a quick loop round the school to warm up and then went a 100m up the trail. I was a bit worried doing the loop - 500m as I was breathing quite heavily but was please when I went onto the trail that my trail shoes - montrail - had rock solid grip and that the running surface was good.

I've been thinking about the race since I signed up for it and how to approach it. One of my big limiters is that I'm not competitive enough and I don't push myself hard enough when I'm racing. This isn't something that you can fix all at once but like most habits you can change it over time. Usually I prefer to start at the back of the race and work forward. Today knowing the single trail nature of the course and the loop I decided to start as close to the front as possible hammer the first road section and then keep pushing up the long climb. That would hopefully get me out of the pack and if not with the front runners closer than I'd ever been before.

So we went off and I pushed hard to get places whilst we were on the flat. As we came back into the park I was probably about 20 - 30 behind the front runners (who I never saw again) and onto the first climb. This I ran up trying to maintain my position. Taking a couple of people, being overtaken by more. I was running with out a GPS or HRM so was doing it very much by feel. I know roughly what I can sustain on a hard climb and  tried to maintain a fast effort. Eventually the aerobic strain became too much and I had to ease off shortly after the first drinks station. The runners were settling down a bit and a chap in black and I traded places for about 20 minutes before my shoe came undone.

After that I ploughed on. I thought that we were close to the end on two occasions (utterly wrong on both times) and pushed harder only to be disappointed. Carmen passed me at some point - and I saw Sam - doing the 4km walk. Hills settled down into a fell running walk. Fast with arm assist on the push down, a jog on the flats and fast on the down hills. This is where I had a huge advantage.

My fell running shoes have lots of 5mm rubber studs and on the sandy mud of the trail they stayed where I put them. I'd also learned a lot from doing the Kinabalu Climathon. There the best runners went down the hill as if it were flat. I by contrast on the steep sections stepped down. brought my foot to the other one, then stepped again. So today I ran. The last thing that I changed was my body angle. Instead of leaning back I leaned forward going down the hills and used the gravity assist. And trusted to confidence, my shoes, experience and luck that I would stay on the trail. I did and I think everyone I over took on the trail was on a downhill section.  Some of the overtakes in retrospect were probably not entirely sane - but they had harmony in the context of the slope and my motion.

Still people slowly reeled me in in the last few kilometres and Paul Lee caught me about a k before the finish. He said there was a steep incline ahead. I said 'good' without considering whether it was a down or uphill one. I'm still not sure. I flew down the last section - I love my trail running shoes - and pounded down to the finish. Not sure what happened to Paul.

I really enjoyed the race. Thinking a bit about the course and how I could race meant that I placed far better than I would have done with my traditional approach. Not having a GPS meant that I ran as I felt but I had no sense of how far I was through the course after a while. Therefore it was really difficult to pace myself and after a couple of hard pushes in the middle half of the race I was probably more conservative in my energy expenditure than I would have been if I'd known the course better.

As I get more fitness under my belt I'll be able to push harder. In the early sections of the race my lungs were the limiter as my HR and oxygen requirements skyrocketed. In the later portion of the race strength was the limiter as I did not have the strength to sustain the run up the hills.

Chatted for a while with a few friends, Sam, Meng and then said well done to some of the guys in the first aid tent - also thanked Melody for putting a great race on. Then cycled home buying some flowers on the way for Shen. As I headed back to the Penchala link I got really pissed off with this mountain biker who passed me without saying hello. So chased him down as we climbed over Bukit Lanjan on the Penchala Link, yellow daisies giving him the finger as they waved from the back of the child seat. :)


Post a Comment