Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Two good Parkruns and a Cyclocross race

On the 18th of April at the Tuggeranong Parkrun I was racing Geoff, Julia and Scott. All three started fast (too fast I thought), and had a good lead by the 1k mark. My split there was 4:30, so right on Parkun PB pace. I tried hard, more or less holding the gap to Julia and Geoff until 4k, while gradually closing on Scott. Geoff took off and ran a very good time for an almost 67-year-old of 22:06. Julia finished 10 seconds back while I got close to Scott (22:37), finishing in 22:45. A good time for me, but not great. I'd define 'great' as sub-22 and 'very good' as 22:15.

The following day I rode in my second cyclocross race, which used the Narrabundah Velodrome infield and surrounds. Love it! Love it! Love it! If I'd been born in Belgium, cyclocross would have been my sport. It has all the things I like in racing: Nice and short (20 minutes to an hour); the thrill of speed and close competition; the need for skill and technique; relative safety (no rocks or trees to crash into if you get it wrong, like mountain bike racing); not too much mud (we're in Australia!) and a supportive friendly atmosphere. It's the cycling equivalent of the 3k steeplechase and traditional (fence hurdling, creek jumping) cross country running. Although I was feeling a little off-colour that morning I still enjoyed myself — finishing 9th in C-Grade out of 15 riders (12 men and 3 women). The only problem with cyclocross racing in Canberra is not enough races!

On the 2nd of May, back at Tuggers for the Parkrun, I was racing young Isaac again. The poor lad wasn't feeling the best and I was much closer to his heels than the last time we raced. Jen ran a few metres ahead, encouraging him to get a move on and try to run a PB. I closed to within 20 metres on the bridge before the 4k mark but was unable to increase my speed in the last kilometre. Another win to Isaac! 22:30 to my 22:41. I placed 30th out of 180 (quite a small field for Tuggeranong, due perhaps to the inclement weather). My splits were even once again — 4:35, 4:30, 4:34, 4:32 and 4:30. I'm confident if I keep at it there will be a race where 4:27 k splits are doable.

GoPro camera view of my race (just the one crash)


Blogger Thomas said...

I've raced my best 5ks by starting off like a complete idiot and then hanging on for dear life. I wouldn't recommend that approach for any longer distance, and it sure is a painful way to race, but the times that way are better, at least for me.

Do you want to give that a try? :)

9:58 pm  
Blogger Black Knight said...

You are running very fast. Also impressive the 22:06 of Geoff.
I repeat, the Parkruns are the best races ever.

12:16 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are running well. I am not keen on Prefontaine’s fast start strategy, but when you have competition with the potential to drag you along a little faster, it might be worth running at the shoulder of the other guys from the start.

Cyclocross looks fun. As in traditional cross country running, I would prefer if the obstacles were a bit more natural. Criss-crossing a stream bed or negotiating fallen trees would fit the bill, but in practice, unless you venture onto the terrain of mountain biking it might require unnatural artifice to construct such a ‘natural’ course.

6:43 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thomas, that's interesting. Perhaps if I psyched myself up I could start like a partial idiot ;-) I'll give it a try one day. Being ahead of Isaac at the start might make him crack.

Thanks Stefano - yes, love the Parkruns.

Canute, you make a good point. It would have to be the right race - running with runners I know are going to run around that 22 minute mark. The type of cyclocross course you suggest would be a lot of fun!

6:49 pm  
Blogger Mark Watson said...

These videos are starting to remind me of Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy. Excruciatingly long yet compelling at the same time. The highlight was undoubtedly your fall and recovery. Expertly filmed too with the GoPro (oh how I wish I was allowed one). Great consistency with both parkruns.

7:11 pm  
Blogger Cecilia said...

Loved the "commentary" throughout your cyclocross race, and have to say watching the others fall down in front of you was hilarious! Was happy to see that you took your lie down in a similar vein. :)

Very nice parkrunning, I don't think I'd ever complain about a couple of weeks with consistent "good" running!

More cyclocross videos! (Although I understand about the "season" being too short. There aren't enough races in Melbourne either.)

8:48 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Haha Mark! I've fallen asleep during the Hobbit so I know where you're coming from. The discipline and endurance you need to watch my videos will come in handy for your next marathon - sub 3:15 for sure!

Thanks Cecilia. Cyclocross crashes on soft grass (or mud if we ever get any!) are quite entertaining. I'll do some more videos (and edit them down to a less excrutiating length - just for Mark).

5:54 pm  
Blogger Cecilia said...

Perhaps Mark should know that I watched it via Youtube so that I could play it at 1.5x speed...

6:53 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Good trick! That'd make it look like I'm (almost) riding as fast as Sven Nys too :)

9:02 pm  
Blogger trailblazer777 said...

Cool gopro vision!!! Another excellent 5k effort. This Cyclocross racing looks fun!!! I often come across singletrack mountainbike /motorbike courses on the trails... Some exciting ones out there!!!

3:59 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks TB. Yes, it's great fun and safer than single track MTB racing - not as much close solid scenery to run into if you get it wrong ;-)

7:52 pm  

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