Wednesday , April 17 2024

Sunday XC League – Grovelands (Serpentine)

Going on a bear hunt, old school cafe, up & down and round & round then the long journey home.

An interesting journey on the Piccadilly Line as we boarded at Acton Town to discover a bear sitting in our carriage. Ok, not actually a real bear but someone so wrapped in a huge fur coat that looked like a bear. The unknown person was wrapped up tight and fast asleep so we could not tell whether a man or woman was snoring away beside us (snoring like a bear as well, I may add).

The carriage was full of arrivals from Heathrow, identifiable by their over-sized luggage, and our hairy friend had a small suitcase taking up the next seat so appeared to be a newly landed visitor to these fair shores.

Our new friend drooped lower & lower until she (her bear coat parted) woke in surprise as her phone and other hand-held belongings fell across the floor. She promptly fell asleep again, once everything helped to pick up her items, and slept all the through central London and out to the east with us. By the time we departed, just 2 stops from the end of the line, she was stretched out across the aisle and had kicked her shoes off so was snoring away with her bare (bear?) feet on display. I hope she enjoyed her sleep and is still probably going back & forth through London.

The Son accompanied me as always so our first port of call, once we setup base station Eagle, was the café in the park to secure him a large hot chocolate. The café had a real old school charm about it and reminded me of the seaside shops that I would visit when I was young – shops serving food & drink, small toys and crammed to the rafters with bric-a-brac. The Son gave his thumbs up to the hot chocolate and rated it 9 out of 10 (the cream and marshmallows sure looked good).

Our route for the day would take us out as a large group to then zig-zig up and down a slope, which included a sharp downward bank, and then uphill through the muddy section. I was thoroughly enjoying myself and this time I went out hard from the start, to try and avoid getting held at any pinch points. The Son took some team photographs as we all completed the first lap, before retreating back to his chair to lay on his DS, and we completed the remaining laps.

I really enjoyed the course & conditions – some hills, some technical challenges and enough smattering of mud to skip through in my spikes. This was the first race for a long time where I really felt like I was racing and putting myself on the line to run quickly. My fitness is back and long my it continue.

Post race snacks were enjoyed by all and I walked back to the tube station with The Son to make our Piccadilly Line journey home. I was half expecting our snoring bear friend to still be lazing on the train – this time probably laid out on the carriage floor – but thankfully the train was nice and empty.

  • Race time: 0:39:15
  • Garmin time: 0:39:16
  • Position: 231 / 409
  • Position male: 187 / 258
  • Category: SM
  • Category position: 67 / 76

About Dan

Barkrunner (A117556).

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