Tour of Pendle – 15th November 2014 – 16.8 miles / 4833 feet
Round 14 of 16 of the Pudsey & Bramley Fell Race Championship
An end of season classic long race. Not sure if it was the distance, the promise of mist, or the threat of witches, but only 5 number hardy souls were down on the entry list. Others had been tempted by the more local and softer options of the Abbey Dash or Harriers v Cyclists.
There was a bit of a traffic jam in the tight starting lane but I toed the line towards the front with Alex. Martin was further forward somewhere, with Mike & Caroline back in the pack.
The usual quick sprint along by the reservoir & then the steep drag up to Pendle Hill Trig point soon sorted the field out. Myself & Alex just trotting along at this stage, and then enjoying the long grassy run to the far end of the Pendle ‘Massif’. All the time just trying to keep a sensible pace ready for all the hills in the second half of the race.
A couple of hours then passed in a haze of Pendle Hill reps, just look at the route map to see what I mean, and thoughts started to turn to the climb up Big End, over the trig and the dash back down to the finish.
Alex had dropped back a bit by now and I had a sighter on Martin just up ahead.
Come on McIntosh, a bit of effort up the last climb then a sprint for P & B bragging rights.
Summit reached, bucket drop done……… “Follow it straight down lad and then head to the right” says the marshall, as by now the clag is right down. Visibility of 20 metres or so only.
There is nobody else to be seen so I trust my instinct & set off down the path. No reason to check the map or compass, it’s just to the right isn’t it?
Head right, head right…….now? Off I go over bog & tussocks. It was quiet before but now eerily so, just me, the clag and probably a few witches. Keep going & fingers crossed I’ll pop out somewhere near the last checkpoint.
Here we go, coming out of the clag, can’t be far now, where’s that flipping reservoir? ……..ah, flip……it’s nowhere in sight.
I’ve gone right Ok, but way right, so far right in fact that I am completely wrong. I‘ve ended up back in the valley we came up a good few miles ago after the ‘geronimo’ descent.
On the positive side at least I know where I am, so trot along back to the race route, the last CP & the finish.
Martin of course finished an age ago (strong result at 40th place in a very contested field), Alex too (58th). I’ve still not seen Mike or Caroline though. They’re either still doing Pendle Hill reps or the witches got them, anything can happen in the clag after all…
Martin Hurst 40th 2:50:41. Alex Jones 58th 2:56:09. Charlie McIntosh 85th 3:02:23. Caroline Harding 256th 3:41:35. Mike Rees 326th 4:01:19. (Full Results)