CTS Dorset Ultra: pre-race rambling

I’m packed and ready to head down to Dorset tomorrow. My training has gone really well and I feel prepared and pretty excited to get down there and get to business at 0800hrs Saturday morning!

This is by far the ‘lumpiest’ race I’ve ever entered with the website reading 1700+m of ascent and the GPX file the RD supplied reading 1800+m. The race has been billed as 53km but from everybody I’ve spoken to who has raced EnduranceLife events before I can expect a course ranging from that up to 55-56km. Whatever happens on the day I feel good about it already; it’s going to be tough and hard on the legs but mentally I feel stronger than I have prior to all of my previous races this year. Here’s a little look at the course profile and aid station layout:

1700-1800m of ascent over 53-55km. 17km between aid stations after H20(A).

1700-1800m of ascent over 53-56km. 17km between aid stations after H20(A).

As you will notice either from the image itself or the caption, there is a fairly sizeable gap between H20(A) and CP2! The reason behind this 17km of wilderness is that runners racing the Ultra (and Ultra+) events can only use certain aid stations if they want to earn UTMB qualification points valid for the 2017 edition. It means that we also have to run through H20(B) in the middle of that wilderness which is there to service the Half and Marathon runners.

That is going to be interesting for some as I suppose people may not be prepared for it. I’m aiming to fuel my race with Tailwind and as such I’ll be wearing two soft flasks in my race vest and carrying a handheld – the handheld and one soft flask will contain Tailwind and the other soft flask just plain water. I’ll graze at the checkpoints if I feel like it but I’ll also be carrying a Snickers bar and some Shot Bloks to supplement the powder should I feel the need.

You may also notice that at CP4 I will be able to access a dropbag if I so desire. With this being my closing race of the year and because I feel like really racing this one I’m opting to carry everything I’m going to need in my race vest and I certainly won’t be stopping at CP4 for anything other than a water refill and maybe a graze!

One final thing that makes this race all the more interesting is the exposure along the entire route. It is open to the elements from start to finish as the vast majority of the route is along the South West Coastal path which runs along the UK’s Jurassic Coast – an area of outstanding natural beauty and one that I have yet to visit! I’m excited to race along the coast and to be able to look out to sea when the going gets tough, the sea never fails to calm me and to fill me with wonder and I know the power of it will drive me forwards at times.

I’m going to round out this pre-race ramble in a different way than I normally would because I’m just going to put my A, B and C goals on the table. I set the goals 14 weeks ago having weighed up my race experiences of the year past, taking into consideration the training plan I had created for myself at the time and taking into consideration the statistics for the course:

CTS Dorset Ultra course statistics (provided by endurancelife.com)

CTS Dorset Ultra course statistics (provided by endurancelife.com)

So, ideally I’d like to run 6:15/6:25, secondary to that I’d be happy to be in the 6:30/6:45 range and the C goal (as ever) is to just finish the damn thing one way or another!

I’ll see you on the other side dear reader – watch this space for a race report either on Sunday evening or Monday afternoon.

Peace & Blessings

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