I will not bore you all with another blow by blow account of my Trailstoke adventure. In brief, this was actually a great day for me, despite the apparently poor showing. I have a bit of a history of going off course, and well, it wouldn't be an ultra if I didn't get lost at least once!
This was never going to be my 'A race' but nevertheless, I did want to perform well. I figured it was a course I could do well on given the vertical and technical nature of the course.
Leg 1 featured a huge climb, mostly runnable, and I stuck to my plan of keeping the HR low, and the pace easy. A fast lead group was ahead and I arrived at the junction to Aid 1 a little back, essentially on my own. The junction is a little confusing and unfortunately as I arrived alone, some cloud blew in, and as I had my head down focusing ahead, all I could see were orange markers leading my on up. I failed to see the junction to the aid station and so ended up running an extra 2 km up the hill before I realized and turned back. 8th place disappeared, and became 38th, and unfortunately I lost 22 minutes with this mishap which I would not be able to make up.
Leg 2 was a blast, with steep, rocky and loose wet rock to negotiate, and weather akin to a British fell race. I was able to fight back into 11th place by the end of the leg. I ran strong and going into the final leg I felt like I was still running strong.
Leg 3, again I missed a turn, as the visibility deteriorated at just the right moment. I only lost a few minutes, but by now I was resigned to my finishing position. I enjoyed a few gulps of beer and a slice of pizza before heading down the final 12km to the finish. In the end I was 11th, and 2nd male master, so overall not bad. I had no stomach or cramping issues at all. I felt good all day and the legs were strong to the finish.
A great course, in some difficult conditions, and unfortunately for me, with some unforced errors! Still, it's definitely one for the calendar next year.
Kudos to the organizers.