The Maverick Silva Dark Series Oxfordshire Trail Run

This was the first time I have either entered this event or done an event hosted by Maverick, and so on Saturday I was going to achieve two firsts.

A trail run in the dark was always going to be fun, and when it is hosted on a.private estate with plenty of hills then you know it should be good.

The race hq was set in a field in the shadow of some Woodland Hills, which as the darkness fell gave a lovely vista.

Registration was well organised and quick to get your race number and glow stick wrist band, what a combination glow sticks and head torches.

Once start time arrived it was on with the head torch and off. The first hill seemed to arrive almost at once, and this pretty much set the tone for the rest of the race.

It is always difficult to give a detailed course review when you are involved in the race asI find it hard to remember the exact details. This course had a heady mix of uphill, uphill and more uphill, frankly as discussed with another runner it seemed that almost the entire course was uphill! Now as we all know it can’t all be uphill and whilst some of the hills were steep, to the point where walking was quicker than running,, The downhills were often muddy slippery and immense fun as you fought to keep control, rest and pick up some time, A combination which is tricky at the best of time. Running through woodland in the dark with you way lit by a head torch is great fun and something that everyone should do at some point, it heightens your senses and makes you concentrate, it seems the more you concentrate the more fun it becomes.

The finish came and I thought the fun would be over, but I was wrong, on crossing the line I was asked the best question I can remember being asked on crossing a line. “Would you like a beer?” What a question, “Yes please” came my instant response, “Would you like me to open it for you?” Came the reply “yes please” again I replied. The beer tasted really good. They also gave me an iced coffee and a Tribe bar, both of which were also tasty.

In terms of the time it took me 66 minutes 28 seconds and I finished 43rd. To put into context only 23 people went sub 60 minutes, which when you have nearly 300 metres of elevation it is not surprising.

By completing this event it means I have now done as many this year as I did in the entire of last year, and the best part was I really enjoyed this and it has given me the confidence to do more, mentally I feel I have taken a step forward, at no point did I find myself looking for excuses not to turn up or to even pull out of the race at any point.. For me that was the most important thing, rediscovering the fun element.

I am booked in for a couple more Maverick events this year and based on my experience with this one I am looking forward to them.

It is good to feel like I am back in the game again!

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Late Season Sunshine

What a weekend, the sun has been shining the sky has been really blue and the temperature has been at that just properly cold level where you can easily layer up your clothing to feel comfortable.

For me, Saturday was trail running day, despite some recent rain the trails are still surprisingly dry and the only moisture comes from all the leaves that have fallen from the trees. Running at this time of year is great as you get see the trees changing together with the under foot conditions going from dry to wet. These changes also mean you need to go back to the techniques of winter running, and that means light feet to ensure that if you run over hidden wet roots or holes you don’t twist an ankle or worse, of course early on this is a challenge as you are used to the dry, dusty summer conditions.

The run itself was a very steady paced affair, and I was really using it to try an dale army head after a couple of challenging weeks, normally running does the really well but of some reason there were a few things it just couldn’t shift so that means you don’t get a really relaxed run and so you spend the entire run feeling a bit uptight. Having said that it is always good to get out into the countryside, and as usual I came back with a few paw prints on my jacket even though I don’t own a dog, something I have come to enjoy over the years is being met by friendly dogs whilst running as they are usually accompanied by friendly owners!

Sunday was a spin on the road bike, again layers up against the cold the only “mistake” was not having a dark lens in my sunglasses as the sun was real bright and I ended up squinting when heading towards the sun. A slightly odd experience this late in the year!

Getting out and riding is ¬†one of those simple pleasures that you sort of take for granted and so as I haven’t done it for a while it was a real pleasure to get out again, I had sort of forgotten what it felt like.

Not getting out is something that has become much easier due to smart trainers and Zwift, I know I can’t blame Zwift but it make indoor sessions so much more fun that if the weather is a bit dodgy or I just don’t fancy going out jumping on the trainer is just too easy.

Plenty of other cyclists out today, most seemed friendly, always a few that don’t acknowledge you but hay not everyone can be as cheerful as me!

I didn’t really tackle any big climbs today, just a few medium sized ones, and they felt ok.

The bike on the other hand didn’t seem to want to play ball, as the shifting back from the inner ring to the outer was a real tricky affair, I have had the impression the left shifter has been on the way out for sometime and I think it really is as the inner wire is pretty new and the adjustment is ok, oh well something to explore.

Overall a fun ride in the sun, and it capped off a couple of decent days of steady paced exercise in the outside sunshine which was probably well needed.

Let us hope that the weather holds and it enables some more outside fun, and once the mud returns it will be time for single speeding on the mtb.