Waking up for the Dirtopia Change of Season Trail Run this morning was a bit of a mission. It was cold and misty and the bed seemed to be the best spot. Thank goodness the event was just down the road, about a 10 minute drive, which meant we could leave a little bit later than usual, but they were expecting a lot more people there as it was being hosted at a new wine farm so leaving a bit earlier was on the cards.
Dressed as warm as I could over my running gear and off we went to the beautiful Peter Falke Wines. I tend to get to events a bit earlier so I don’t have to worry about parking as well as queues of registrations before the time. The last thing you want is stressing about those little things before a race! We got our race number and headed back to the car for a few selfies and a banana snack. The sun was just coming over the mountains and the sight over the vineyards was spectacular! I didn’t have my photographer face on today so I didn’t take any on the trail as I was just focusing on time. Before the race I was aiming towards 1:10min which is quicker than my previous trails and because of the climbs, I was not expecting it to be anywhere close to what I’ve been doing on the flat roads recently.
Race briefing started at 8:50am and I guess there was about 180 people doing the 11km. I tried to get to the front pack as the beginning stages of the route seemed to be very tight and I hate being behind slow runners. I always wonder why the slow runners tend to want to be at the front when all they do is hold up the people. This was exactly the case for me for the first kilometre. meh.
We exited out of Peter Falke and made a left onto Annandale Road and up to Alto Wine farm where we started climbing up. A combination of some slow climbs and some steep short climbs. I can really feel my legs are much stronger on the climbs as I am enjoying them much more these days. Controlling one’s breathing helps a lot with this too. There were two single tracks through the trees as we went into the Ernie Els farm and did some fast down hills through the vineyards. Around the 5km mark made our way back up hill towards Alto Wine farm again. I for some reason walked twice in the next kilometre even though I was fine, still can’t wrap my head around it. Anyhoo, the rest of the run was very much enjoyable downhill towards Peter Falke again. At this stage I caught up to the 6km runners and just as I got into Peter Falke farm, the route took us for another 2km loop and I was trying to weave and pass people to not affect my time too much. There was a small single track through the trees close to the end which was frustrating to pass people but not much you can do about that. I came in about 10 minutes quicker than I thought I would be which I am happy about! 30 seconds shy of 1 hour but my TomTom said that the distance was only 10.5km so not going to read into that much.
For once we never stayed for prize giving and took a quick snap before we headed home.
All in all it was a beautiful and non technical race and I really hope the organizers can get us running there more often! Very well organized as usual and thanks to the participating wine farms for letting us run on their land!
Next race on the calendar is the Dirtopia Youth Day Trail Run at Delvera which is always a great run with magnificent views and climbs out in Stellenbosch. Not sure which of the four distances I am going to do then but it might more than likely be the 12.5km but I shall see.