Another sparrows-fart start to a Sunday….heading off early to greet the day and tackle the third race of the 2014 Salomon Trail Running Series. Ever so kindly collected from my doorstep by Grant & Jimmy, it was a slightly eventful drive to the Dandenong Ranges as we warmed ourselves up with a quick flat tyre changeover on the way there. Whoever designed these spare wheels obviously had a good sense of humour….the bright yellow “hey, look at me” rim and skinny-arse tyre is like something out of an oversized Lego model.
With that bit of fun behind us, the rest of the trip up the hill was quite boring in comparison….present company excepted of course, lads. Arriving at the marshaling area, the drop in temperature was a fair slap in the face as we braved our exit from the warm car interior. There were plenty of people around but you barely knew it, thanks to a white-wash of fog reducing visibility to about 10 metres.
As common with most of these events, everyone’s body was in ‘evacuation mode’ with the Portaloos getting an absolute hiding and the queues running at least 50 deep on some occasions! Thank god we got here before the rush because my own back-end did not possess the patience required to stand around that long.
With some new tech in their arsenal and the fog lifting with perfect timing, Rapid Ascent scored some cool airborne footage of the start of each of the three races of the day. Check it out…
Having trouble watching this video? Click here.
So, as the crew at Rapid Ascent were previously quoted…“Race #3 of the Salomon Trail Running Series is the toughest (but most rewarding) of the series with all courses being a few kms longer and noticeably hillier in comparison to Races #1 and #2”. Hmmm…I would agree on a couple of points and maybe choose to disagree on one….can you guess which ones they are?
Oh, yes indeedy this was the toughest of the three Salomon Trail Series events so far….hills were plentiful with 788m of ascent, equally sharing the role of best friend (downhill) and nemesis (uphill). Was this event the most rewarding?….I just don’t know how to respond to that one and maintain a G-rating at the same time. F*ck it…no…I did not feel so much ‘rewarded’ as flogged with my ticker topping out at 97% during the more sharpish sections….but deep down, I guess that’s why we do it 😉 I’ll be the first to admit there were a few euphoric moments, such as plummeting down the steep downhill start…dropping 346m of elevation in only 3.1km and clocking a top speed of 19.9km/h….almost effortless in my Hoka Stinson Trail monster trucks, sold with a smile by that nice bunch of blokes at FootPro.
The other “ahhhh” moments were around the 8-9km marks through some of the fern tree thickened single tracks that just seemed to ever-so-kindly push you along. “There you go, young fella…have some of that” they seemed to whisper. That was sweet, although short lived as from that moment on it was a case of head-down-and-think-of-a-happy-place as we ploughed through a series of nasty hills from about the 10km point through to the finish. As you can see by the elevation grid below, the tail end of this half-marathon was a little vicious.
Guys and girls, make sure you stay tuned as I will soon be taking possession of some awesome new Suunto kit to thrash about….the new Ambit3 Peak Sapphire HR will be popping with new features, including some uber-cool connectivity to mobile devices, instant 3D movies of your adventures and overlaying photos with race data for instant sharing with your mates. Check out the details by giving the image below a quick click….they’ll be available in Australia early September 🙂
With Race 3 done and dusted, the focus now switches to the next two gigs; the grueling 21km obstacle race Spartan Beast and the epic 100km trail ultra-marathon Surf Coast Century. Normally, I’d be pursuing the 42km Spartan Ultra Beast but this year’s event is all about getting Gus his Spartan Trifecta Medal….a massive achievement for any athlete, yet alone a sprightly 14yo! With his mother’s dynamic balance and athleticism – excluding hand-eye coordination ;), plus my general stubbornness and razor-sharp wit flowing through his DNA, he’ll do an awesome job 🙂