It’s getting serious now. GNW is but nine or so ‘proper’ training weeks away and it’s fair to say that the meat and drink of the training is being fully consumed. The gentler warm-up runs have been done, we’re now head-first into business and that means out and back from Cedar Brush track head to Congewai school and back for the best part of the next nine weeks… 64 of the finest kms that this course can throw up to you. Steep climbs, heat and undulating trails – brilliant.
The cast was many yesterday, which shows just how keen people are to make sure they do well in this race. The days of hand-holding and walking up hills are gone. The days of measured Perpetuem scoops and trying to see how much of the hill up to the communications tower you can run are the new normal.
The best part of fifteen hardy souls set off at 6:30am from Cedar Brush track head to tackle the first climb of the day, 2.2kms straight up to Walkers Ridge Road (well it’s a track really), before heading down into the Basin briefly, and the long climb up towards the Watagan Valley. The group dispersed quickly as people set their own pace and small groups were formed.
With Vizey disappearing into the distance with Ewan, Clarke and Cooba (the fittest dog in Australia), the rest of us were left to battle it out for the minor placings. The pace was solid, but manageable as I found myself in a group with Gareth ‘Danger’ Parker, my pacer for GNW Garth Mc, along with poppy ‘straightline’ Robins, T-Bull and Beth Cardelli slightly ahead in the distance. There was chatting along the way and a good chance to catch-up with people, but there was a task to perform too, mini goals and splits in our heads to reach.
Upon hitting the turnaround, we hooked up again with ‘Straightliner Robins’ and Marcus ‘Gilian” Warner fresh from baby sitting his two puppies called Gordi and Buzz, to tackle the climb up towards the communications tower, and out of the Congewai Valley. The sun relented today, but it won’t on race day. Then it will beam onto us and burn our bodies well into the ‘stupidly hot’ mode. Having completed the business end of the day’s running, the second half of the run was filled with mates having a laugh with each other, interspersed with some 4:10kms along the firetrails back to the start point at Cedar Brush trackhead. Nothing like celebrating your 55th km of the day with a low 4’s km. Keeps things interesting.
Overall, a hard, but solid 64kms for the day. Nice. Just what the doctor ordered before the Glasshouse 100kms next week.