Well, it's a short race, if an odd distance (11.7k, near-as-dammit 7
miles), and it mostly circumnavigates parkland and farms that it's
not easy to cross by bike, so this is a bit of a short report too.
But I'll pad it out a bit with some things that you might find
interesting, and if you don't, I will refund your subscription in
Getting ready for the start, a little delayed because the traffic
has been very difficult. While crawling down the road, we thought
there must have been an accident, a notion reinforced by the two
ambulances that came roaring down on full blues-and-twos, but that
turns out to be a red herring; it's just the race attendees queueing
to get in. We gather they've had to change the parking arrangements
at the last minute, so perhaps that's why.
Amanda is cold. No surprise there, unfortunately, but at least it's
not as bad as it could have been. There's some wind, but the
temperature is relatively mild and although we've had some spots of
drizzle, it's dry for now.
I've carefully taken a position to get Loseley House at the start,
but Amanda is too busy looking out for me and the other runners to
realise that she's running past the house!
It's Sara from RTL RC. Didn't know she was here! "Hello you!" I cry,
"What are you doing here?!"
And not far behind is Amanda. I'd hoped to catch her at another
point nearer the start, but by the time I'd forced my bike through
the muddy "short cut", she on good roads had got way ahead. I had
another theory to then head back to Watts Gallery, but talking to a
local dog-walking woman, she suggested I might be stymied by stiles
on the route I had in mind. I just hit the road in the opposite
direction to the runners, then, and while the first few guys were
virtually at the finish as I rode past them, I was in good time for
the mere mortals. I don't think Watts Gallery would have worked as a
backdrop anyway: it's very visually interesting in itself, but not
from the road AIR.
And the final straight! Sara must have crossed the line just a few
moments before I arrived, because although I benefitted from a good
long downhill sweep on the bike, I was still taking a longer route
with a muddy track back up to the finish line, so I wasn't that
much faster overall than the runners.
And she crosses the line! Never having done this race before and
knowing essentially nothing about it, her goal was sub-1h which she
has just achieved. A brief check of the results shows her finishing
21 out of 126 old dogs ('Open' and 'FV40+' are the only categories),
or better than 5 out of 6 of them.
As it's the Hogs [sic] Back Race, the Hogs [sic] Back Brewery are
the title sponsors, and a soupçon of ale is offered to
finishers. Amanda, as you can see, delegates the drinking of said
ale to her champion.
But she'll pretend long enough for a celebratory photo!
Here we are, the spoils! The course is in the shape of a hog, the
medal is in the shape of a hog, the beer is in the name of a hog.
Dunno quite where the Garmin fits in...
So back home for lunch. Note carefully my coffee mug. If you look
closely, it shows me on my bike descending the final approach at
Denbies for the Three Molehills, caught by Anthony of Sussex Sport
Photography who never told me he'd sneakily snapped me! He just
quietly put the pictures in the gallery under Amanda's race number,
and she thought it would make a fine thank-you present for my
Note also the Badger T-shirt. As I was standing waiting for Amanda
at one point, a guy running past cried out "Badger! Favourite race!"
At the finish, I saw some Chineham Park RC folk, a club I'd never
heard of until I got chatting to some of them at Bath the other
week, which one of them had been at. It's a bloody small world, this
As I say, a short race report with some padding. In the afternoon,
we went to RHS Wisley for a famly meetup. You don't want to see
pictures of the coven (they're women of a certain age; there hasn't
been a male born into the family since approximately 1560 or
something; you've all seen women of a certain age before), but the
illuminated flowers were very pretty.
Best seen just as it starts to get dark
In summer, the pond is full of colourful waterlilies, but it
provides a fine reflection now.
And that's it then, the last race of 2015!
We're off to Ethiopia for Christmas and the New Year, so have a
great time everybody and we'll see you in 2016.