Once again I had entered this event but this time I had done some practicing, it amount to about three times carrying my bike up the steepest bit of Winter Hill I have found and coming back down the Belmont descent. Although I wasn't fast at either I could do it. The one thing I didn't do was any running for months, just a couple of runs in Cornwall. But it was soon too late to worry about that and instead I was planning clothing options. The forcast wasn't great, rain and wind, but not uber-cold, 10 degrees. I went for the more cautious option of roubaix 3/4's, merino base layer, jersey and a waterproof, I also wore work shoes with wool socks, they are much easier to walk in than my usual race shoes.
Lining up and I wasn't enjoying taking layers and my waterproof trousers off but I honestly believed it couldn't rain all day. I lined up at the back as I knew how slow I would be on Simon Fell. Off we went and I moved up a bit on the road and was just loving being on my bike. The road section was longer than I remembered but that meant that I could see a decent average speed for at least the first bit of the race! Off-road we went and it was boggy, so off the bike early and pushing. It wasn't long before I was carrying but I knew this wasn't the steepest bit. Onto the vertical slope and this time it wasn't as much of a shock as I was expecting it. I wasn't fast but I didn't stop, it felt like a big improvement. At the top they were lifting our bikes over and then holding onto us as we scrambled over the stile. Then it was onto the top, I remembered riding a fair amount of this section in 2009 but this time there was hardly any riding, the wind was doing its best to blow me off the top. I bumped into a twitter friend and there were three of us making our way up together. The descent was where I was meant to make up time but a combination of the weather and me still being nervous descending meant that I didn't really. Still off at the bottom and Ali was cheering for me.
I worked on the road but also made sure I ate something, getting to the start of Whernside they let us go up even though we had missed cutoff by 5minutes. I was so pleased so I worked as hard as I could up the hill but once again it was a slow slog and a try not to be blown off. I followed Eric from Horwich CC down the hill but lost him as my rear brake was making odd noises, it took me a while to realise I had buckled my rear wheel. That meant the rest of the race was done with only my front brake, another reason why I NEED disc brakes! Coming off Ali was there again looking wet, I was sure I had no chance of making cutoff but made the decision to work hard as I didn't want to miss it thinking I could have made it if I had worked harder.
Officially I had missed it but they waved us on to PyG, I was so so pleased. I was loving it! There was a big puddle to wade through on the way up but it was nice to be riding up hill and I actually passed quite a few people of the climb. The top was really bleak and apart from people coming down I couldn't really see anyone! Eventually I saw the marshalls at the top and turned to head down, it was a great descent once I got on my bike! Throught the puddle at the bottom, which was more like a swim now and out onto the road. Ali was here cheering again which was a lovely suprise as she had said she was heading to the finish when I last saw here. Head down to the finish and I crossed the line in 6hrs 20mins. A lot slower than in 2009 but in the conditions I was so pleased.
I finished 31st (and last) female and 494th out of 504 finishers.
So next year???