Monday, 14 February 2011

It went white!

I was ill most of the last week, only actually getting out either running or biking on Monday and Tuesday. On all other days I was asleep before 9:00 pm. I did get out for a jog on Saturday and feeling much better took to the hills again on Sunday.
Winter had returned (arrived) on Rokko Island this week with one day of almost continuous snow, that failed to settle.
I was aware that it would be a different story further up the mountain, but was not quite prepared for what I found.
The lower slopes reminded me of winter running back home, a little mud, a little snow to the side of the trail, but other than that near perfect conditions.

But as I climbed higher things began to change and the trail became whiter and whiter. At one point I was sheltered by the trees on the edge of the valley watching the black clouds drift down bringing near blizzard conditions.

It occured to me that I should probably cut my planned run to Arima short and head back to the bike, but I resolved to make it at least to the top of the climb and then make my decision. I was very glad that I did.

The trail just got prettier and prettier, and what's more the running became easier and easier.
The trail was for the most part well trodden without being icy so the trail shoes gripped well, though I appeared to be the only person out there without a set of crampons on. The snow had also been deep enough to cover many of the small rocks and roots making what would otherwise be a rocky rooty trail into a smooth trail with near perfect grip.
I continued down to the Arima trailhead and thoroughly enjoyed myself before turning around to climb back up to Rokko-san.
I then ran the road to the Rokko cable car. The traffic to get into the view point and garden at the top of Rokko was astonishing. The traffic backed up for probably 1.5km maybe more as people cued for the car park. From there I took the alternate trail back to the bike, A trail I remembered as more runnable, than it turned out to be.
It was a great day out - just short of 4 hours, 13.5 miles 1200 metres ascent 16 minute miles and I fet great at the end of it.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

I heard in the morning that I had a place in the STY short course version of the Ultra Trail Mount Fuji (short course being a mere 90km). So I thought I'd better go run in the hills. Time constraints, previous arrangements, general laziness and my immeasurable ability to faff around meant that I didn't get out there until a bit later than planned. I hadn't actually linked the routes up in this order, in this direction before and it was good, but quite tough.

The run was a bit shorter than I was expecting but I was out for 1:45 hours. So given that my foot still has not healed properly and that I am suffering a little from a cold it was plenty long enough.

I think they may be planning on closing one of my favourite bits of trail.
What do you think?

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Ultra Trail Mount Fuji

Or in fact the STY (Shizuoka to Yamanashi) version. Entry for both races opened today at 10:00 am Japan time and the UTMF was full inside an hour.  Kaho, who has helped navigate many Japanese websites and gained me entry to several races, spent quite a while hanging on line as the entry server struggled with the traffic but, in the end she managed to get both Linda and I entered into the 90km STY.

UTMF movie

It does take a long time to load but it is worth it.

Safe to say I am now very scared...the solo 24hr mountain bike race in the Enchanted Forest gives me lots of opt outs to sleep, drink beer, and just hang out...the Silver King Races have tight cut offs, and a built in altitude excuse for failure, but STY has neither altitude, nor tight cut offs - now I'm in, there are no excuses.

I am 7.5 kg lighter than I was this time last year, which is good, but realistically I need to shed another 7.5kg if I am going to be in any fit shape to complete these things. Oh well I feel a strict beer ration coming on.