Budge took on a fell race and followed it up with an off-road duathlon. Sounds like a painful weekend? It was.
Post-Strathpuffer I had committed to do a fell race in the dark near Darwen organised by a mate of mine – appropriately called the Dark ‘Un. I had planned to do this event last year but the night before, doing a final head torch test, I went over on my ankle and wrecked my racing plans for a couple of months. So I approached the race with some trepidation as I wanted to do well (you always do don’t you?) but the chances of breaking something were high as the course was a tough rocky, muddy, boggy 5 miles.
Turning up without my fell running shoes and making the decision to run in my walking boots was a really dumb start. Luckily I made it round in one piece. Not at the pace I had hoped for and with a number of falls, but nothing too serious. 28th place was a pleasing outcome given the circumstances. Hats off to my team mate Phil who finished just outside the top ten.
The day after though I could hardly walk. Running in walking boots had trashed my legs and the following day I had lined up on the start line of the Fearless off-road duathlon at Llandegla in Wales – an 8K run, 19K mountain bike and a further 4K run. On the day I turned up really early and tried to warm up as well as I could with a view that if I was struggling I would drop out and just ride the Llandegla red route for fun.
As it turned out, the legs were stiff but they got me round the course. The bigger issue was the really strong winds, blowing us to a standstill at times on the run and blowing a couple of people off their bikes during the ride. The course was a belter, particularly the runs which were very off-road and involved running through ditches full of water, unmarked forest trails and climbing steep, grassy, muddy banks.
I managed to finish the first run in around 40th place, pick up around 10 places on the ride and then a few more on the last run, finishing 26th overall and 5th in class. Pleasingly, with me turning 50 in May, I managed to pass the guy who won the V50 category on the line so I will be back next year!
Our Alex Lawton yet again demonstrated his awesomeness by taking the overall win despite mistakenly riding an extra couple of miles on the bike!
Photos: Paul and Nigel Events Photography