GMOK 8k gravel test run. Had never really run the 8k loop as a whole, so didn't really know the course too well. Studied the map a bit beforehand so knew at least where the 3 hills were, but had no idea where the km markers were. I figured I could run under 28min with a really good run based on 3 and 5k times, but I was told that the loop actually measured a bit shorter ~7.8k. Planned to simply run hard and maintain 3:30s.
The top 4 guys took off really fast, I started quite slowly at the back of the trailing pack. A lot of jockeying in the first few 2k but gradually made my way to the front of the trailing pack, about 10 of us maybe. Lillen lead the pace nicely from about 2k and I sat behind him and Junis. At the second climb after 3.5k it seemed like the pace dropped a bit and I felt like somebody needed to make a move. Since it was my first time doing the test, I knew it would be dumb to take the lead, but at the same time I didn't have anything to lose. Decided to attack up the second part of the climb, and moved into the lead.
Only heard one person strongly respond, thought that it was probably Junis, but wasn't sure. Tried to keep the pace high up and over the hill and along the flats over the next km, felt really good here. I'm not used to leading someone, so I tried to constantly remind myself to not slow down, and to not look back. Made sure to let the legs completely go on the downhill to km 5. At the bottom of the hill, it was confirmed that it was Junis right behind me when he told me to turn right.
The next km was tough. Not only was Junis breathing down my neck, and hinting at passing me, but I had also underestimated the distance it was along the lakes. Finally got passed after 6k, at the start of the long hill up from Stora Delsjon. I think I did a good job of responding, and was only a few meters behind at the top of the hill, but he got way ahead on the long descents towards the finish. Lost 20s to Junis over the last 1.5km.
Happy with the time, but I think I can definitely improve next time. The
map and results can be seen here: http://gmok.se/News/Details/688
Wore my garmin and had planned to check splits along the way, but ended up not bothering because it was dark and I didn't know where the kilometer markers were at all. The race started when it was already dark, which was kinda cool. Meant that it seemed like you were running faster than normal throughout.
Will have to practice the second half of the course. Definitely the toughest part, especially for me with all the downhill running.
The stomach was again a bit of an issue. Could feel that it would maybe be an issue from the start, and started to really feel it over the last 3k. The legs felt great on the other hand.
Happy to have a test loop to work towards. Miss the old Mooney's fall evaluation loop.