I have always said that the first lesson in road racing is to find the alternative toilets; the ones that are out of the way, with no queues. The local pub , situated 100 metres before the start, serves the purpose nicely. I thank the landlord and leave him preparing his post race barbeque!
Significantly, a couple of lovely Lancashire lassies,
Sarah and Michaela who were just in front of me at Blackpool two weeks ago have overtaken me plus
my one M60 who beat me over 10k just before Christmas. I can see them and could have slipped behind them but the pace feels more than fast enough and I let them go.
The undulations kick in almost immediately and the pace shoots down to 7.47 and 7.44 but after 3 miles we reach the spectacular view we've come along to enjoy on this "most scenic" half and enjoy the marvel for 2 flattish miles.....7.16 and 7.19
Of course, I see my M60 rival still with a significant lead. He is going to have to fold badly for me to win today. But there's always a chance and I make a determined challenge overtaking several on the climb on this 8th mile.....8.02. Over the top and I'm still overtaking and things are really starting to flow now whilst the legs still feel a bit fragile. I shorten the stride, quicken the cadence and select another target to go for. My two Lancashire lassies are amongst those I've nudged ahead of. Four good miles follow......7.09, 7.20 (uphill) 7.16 and then a good charge for the line with some much younger fast finishers.
The results confirm my "rival" didn't fold and went on to beat me by 2 minutes with another M60 slotting in between us. So 3rd in the age group of 18. 135th of the 517 who finished. Time? Well, I knew it was going to be slower than the much flatter Blackpool; my differential was plus 1 min. 46 secs. 96.30 compared with 94.44. This compared well however with 3 who beat me at Blackpool who had differentials of over 3 minutes and were in turn behind me today.
As forecast my 50 miles per week average for the year and good consistency over the last few months seemed to have stood me in good stead. All in all, no way a P.B. race unless it was someone's first! But a really memorable one that I was happy to add to the list and a nice mug as a souvenir. I leave you with another view of the source of Manchester's water ........the reservoir they created in 1935, flooding two villages to do it. 84 billion litres of water when full but when it's not, in extremly dry weather, the stone walls and Mardale village bridge can still be seen.