Saturday 12th December
Just after 2pm we lined up on the familiar green of kilbroney forest park. Rowan give us the usual race briefing and we were ready to go. A slight change to previous races on reaching the caravan park we took the lower path down through the trees and onto the lower forest road. This was a road I knew from the mtb downhill champs course. Hills and plenty of them. The route would follow the old Ulster way on the edge of the forest. Legs feeling good and good banter from competitors on the hills. As I complained about hating hills I was told “You love the hills that’s why your here” A point I think was very true. I do love this type of race and with climbing they say there is always a reward. I would later find out the reward was worth the climbs. The path started to level out with a few downhill parts. My arm warmers had done there job and as I was well warmed I took them off and opened the jersey to try cool down a bit. I knew for every part we went downhill this was adding to the distance we were going to have to climb. As we crossed a bridge Rowan the Paparazzi popped out of the trees with a camera. “Get the head down and get up that hill” he shouted. This was the start of a big climb. I shortened the stride and leaned into the hill and tried to keep moving. The hill just seemed to go on and on and a few times the run turned into a walk. Around another corner and still no let up. On looking back down through the trees you could see the valley we had just run along and we had climbed quite a bit. Another corner but finally a down hill section.
01:05:19 was my official time for the 12.68km and placed me 29th We were offered mulled wine on the finish line. I passed on the mulled wine in favor of a few cups of water. Soup at the Kilbroney Bar was a nice finish to the day. Another first class event from 26extreme. Great route and great after race refreshments. The highlight of the race for me was the kilbroney Red bog trail. 5 Races down 5 to go and now a break for Christmas. Thanks to Rowan and Ian and all the helpers at 26extreme. A great first half to the series. Hope you all have a great Christmas. See you in the new year.