Sunday, 13 July 2014

ESCA 50 Wet Wet Wet

50's are an odd distance for me. When I am strong and on top of my game it is probably my favourite distance. But when I am not on the button they stink. Three Old Ports were scattered across the start sheet of this, Bash and Dave Warne off at vaguely sensible time, me of No.1 at 6.31 am. Given that it is a fair schlepp from Croydon this meant that the alarm brought me unwillingly to life at 4 a.m. If I was nursing any hopes for a float morning the sound of rain told me it was more likely to be of the life raft kind.

Basically the course runs up and down the A22 out of East Hoathly via lots of roundabouts. The road surface used to be rubbish but to be fair its not as bumpy as it once was. Never the less events on this stretch  are never ones to give you a flattering moral boostingly fast time. More drag than drag strip. That said they have the advantage of not being closed due to road works which gives them one massive advantage over the Horsham Courses.

The rain seemed to be holding off as I got ready, so much so that  decided not to bother with the waterproof overshoes I have brought specially. Poor fool that  I was. By the time I arrived at the start line flustered and 15 seconds late it was tipping it down, and within a the first 100 yards my feet were soaked and soon the rest of me was. Traffic was still light, which was a relief as visibility was dire. I was struggling to really give it full gas, and it wasn't until the first 25 came up and the rain stopped that I gave myself a talking to and got going. Ended up with a 2.15.19 which is probably 5 mins short of where  I wanted to be, but a couple of mins quicker than my last 50 on a lousy morning. So another event under my belt on what is proving a long haul back. On the upside, again I had no problem going the distance just short on the watts.

Got back to the hall to see Dave's van had gone so presumed he had ditched it, and a message from Bash saying he had done something similar. Glad I pushed through and did it, but it was a day to chalk up to experience. I did not stay to see who won, the one benefit if a foolishly early start is an early return home. But the MTFU aware for today goes to no.3, Matthew Blagg of Maidenhead and District CC. It was his first ever 50, and he started in the same monsoon as I did. But managed to go seriously off course. Not the quick wrong turn and realise, no a proper thrust into the unknown. He finally found his way back but had lost barrowloads of time. Now given that the course runs near the HQ several times, the weather is crap and his time will now be dreadful nobody would really have blamed Matthew for knocking it on the head. But no, he was made of sterner stuff and kept going and finished the event. I did console him that he now had a time for a 50 to beat. I am not sure he found that thought entirely encouraging at that moment.

Anyway - onto more fun and games in Sussex for me next weekend with various Brighton Excelsior instruments of torture.