Sunday, 5 January 2014

NE Champs

I started the year with a mixed bag of goals, some English and British champs races, some long classics and winning the NE champs. Things got off to a terrible start with this final goal, missing the first 2 races and getting lost while leading the 3rd race left me needing good results in the last 4 races to be in with a chance.

Things took a turn for the better at Windy Gyle race in June. I had been out and reccied the route and despite all of the leading 6 runners taking various wandering lines I kept people generally on track and finished a disspointing 4th. It was a very close finish between myself, Bruce Crombie and Lee Bennett, but they both got the better of me this time. No more mistakes if I was going to win. The weather during the race was great, but the heavens opened for the prize giving and the H18 Mountain jacket came out for the first time this season and proved more than up to the job of standing around in a storm waiting for a bottle of beer.

Race kit was now always, the H18 alpaca socks, H18 race shorts and club vest. I always carried the mountain jacket - soon to be on the website and light waterproof trousers. The H18 down vest and jacket are always perfect for standing around after races in the cold.

The next race of the NE champs, and what proved to be the decisive turning point was Cronkley, when I took a win and got a valuable 52 points. Again, Alpaca socks and H18 race shorts were perfect in the conditions and the down vest was perfect for sitting around waiting for the prizes (which I left in the pub, anyone found a few bottles of cider in a pub in Holwick please pass them back to me).
September was Simonside Show race, Phill Sanderson was the only potential rival for the champs here, so another 4th place gave me 49 points. Another win was out of the question when I saw Morgan Donnelly and Matt Whitfield had turned up.

The final race of the champs was Clay Bank West, it basically came down to a straight race between myself, Bruce Crombie and Lee Bennett (who had come back from injury). One of the greatest sporting moments of my life was when Lee came onto my shoulder about 2km into the race and we exchanged looks, both knowing it was a straight race between us. I attacked on the short climb and didn't see Lee again for the whole race. Perhaps there is something magic in those Alpaca socks, or perhaps my sprint training had paid off, but I felt like I had so much speed on the flagged path back along the Cleveland Way nobody was going to catch me. I finished second to a magnificent run from Peter Bray, but ahead of Lee and Bruce to take the champs by 2 points.

Thank you to H18ORR for all their support and the brilliant equipment they supplied. I always feel on top of the world when I slip on any of your gear and perhaps that made the 2 points difference over the season!

Andy leading the Cronkley Fell Race in H18 shorts and Alpaca socks. 

This years fixtures are below;

Sunday April 13th, 11am, Gisborough Moore Race (N Yorks) (BL) 
Thursday 29th May, 7pm, Roseberry Ramp (N Yorks)
Sunday 29th June, 11am, Cronkley (Teesdale)
Tuesday 1st July, 7:30pm, Saltwell Harriers (Weardale)
Sunday 10th August, 2pm, Forest Burn Fell Race (Northumberland)
Sunday 21st September, 10:40am, Viking Chase 4 Peaks (N Yorks)
Sunday 14th December, 11am, Simonside Cairns (Northumberland)

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