Completing my first race of 2015 during the second weekend of the year was always part of my plan. However as mentioned in my pre-race post I had trained for a mountainous race that would play to my strengths. I knew that the largest single climb at Two Bays was less than 300 metres of ascent, and that the total ascent would be considerably less than Bogong to Hotham. The race would be 8 km (and around 3 hours) shorter.
Standing in the starting chute I learned that we had a few hundred metres before reaching single track, and the conga line that would follow. Therefore, unlike my normally controlled starting pace I took off quickly in order to secure a decent position on the single track, slotting in just within the top 30.
I settled into pace in a line of runners, initially striding along happily but noticing a gradual slowdown. After just over 4 km I made my way past a stream of runners with the repeated chant of “on your right” and found myself with open trail ahead of me. This allowed me to set my own pace without any concern for those runners ahead. Occasionally I would pass, or be passed, by other runners as I focussed on my own run.
Having split from the Two Bays walking trail earlier we merged back onto the trail after 16 km as runners in the 28-km race came in the opposite direction. A group of runners converged as we completed the climb to Arthur’s Seat before the descent to Dromana over 3 km. I was able to evaluate my position at the turnaround, and I started on my way back towards Cape Shanck in 14th position.
I overtook a few runners as we tackled the main climb of the race back up to Arthur’s Seat, and the gradual climb that followed. But unfortunately the race ran out of notable climbs, and I ended up running without spotting another runner for the final quarter of the race over a gently undulating course. I started to cramp within a couple kilometres of the finish line, an indication that I had pushed myself to my very limits.
I crossed the line in a time of 4:32:42, good enough for 9th place. I had run the 5th fastest time over the return leg of the course.