Rostrevor forest played host to the first race of the 26 Extreme Winter Series. This race was in Darkness starting at .
I arrived early and got changed and started a light warm up. Head torch on and a torch on my belt I had more than enough light. As more competitors arrived the car park soon filled up. Everyone got registered and lined up for a race briefing by Rowan. A bit of race banter on the line and everybody was raring to go. On a count of three we took off into darkness up a grassy slope and passed the cafe. We got onto the gravel path that passed the caravan site leading into rostrevor forest. As we passed the gate I remembered this being the start of a big climb many a day I had rode it on the mtb. This was a whole different story running in darkness not remembering were the end of the climb was. Head down and sucking up much needed air. The odd glance forward and it looked like no end to the climb. Just as I was about to ease off I see head torches on my right through the trees. This meant the top wasn’t far away. As I rounded the corner at the top I tried to get my breathing back to normal ready for the next climb on the tarmac road. Again in the darkness it was hard to judge the distance so I didn’t push to hard. Turning right across the bridge we started to descend a short distance. This was a good time to get breathing and a rhythm going. From here we turned left of the tarmac and followed the gravel forest track. At this point a slight mist had descended upon us. Coupled with the cover of the trees it made for very warm running. Turning right this is were the fun started. Down the badgers claw. This is single track through the trees very narrow steep sections with roots under foot making for very slippy running. I needed a lot of concentration through this section as it was treacherous under foot. At the end of the trail we turned right back onto gravel forest roads. This was mainly down hill and is were I thought I would get moving. I passed a few runners and could hear they were trying to stay with me so I pushed on catching a few more. I had remembered a hill near the end but at this point there was no way I was going to slow any. Turning right at the forestry cottages back onto the tarmac for a slight climb before turning left back onto the green and a sprint downhill across the finish line.
Slight update to my placing below. I was initially told I was 29th Really I was 26th and there was a mix up in numbers somewhere along the way. All sorted and my time amended.
Official time That placed me 26th in a field of 52 entry’s. I am happy with how the first race went. I have now got a marker that I can improve on.
Next Race - Castlewellan Forest park 5th November.