Caerphilly Mountain Event 06/12/2015
My reaction on seeing the new map was that it was much greener than I’d anticipated. Test runs on the preliminary courses in May indicated that although the relative grading was correct, the overall runnability was on the slow side. Courses were shortened and adjusted to ensure that legs had a route choice that minimised the need to go through the greener blocks. However, when controls were set out it was evident that the brambles and bracken had thrived during the previous months making the going tough. As a result, many competitors were forced into routes that significantly increased their overall course lengths and times.
In retrospect, we should have either shortened the courses further, or included more path runs. Ideally, we would have had the courses on the better West side of the area, but parking would have been a problem.
The bad weather was a big worry in the days preceding the event, I was regularly checking forecasts, in case we had to cancel. Although the early runners had the rain, we were fortunate to get away without significant problems.
When we first recce’d the area last December using a fledgling copy of the new map the undergrowth was a lot more runnable and thinner than now. This was the case on subsequent visits up until summer when the courses were planned in. In addition in early summer a fire cleared the majority of Rudry Hill of all ground vegetation. We also had some issues with new cycle tracks which were creeping through the area plus possible permission issues in the central nature conservation area which required some tweaking of courses crossing it.
It was a surprise to us when putting out the controls last week how much the lower ground vegetation had propagated and remained in situ over much of the area during the past few months aided by the very mild autumn we have had over many parts of the area. The low lying brambles especially seemed to be 50% to 100% more abundant. A new cycle track also approached up to a control on the Brown which meant it had to be grippled and was possible a bit low as a consequence. Apologies therefore to those affected by all these factors as looking at the results times all appeared to be on the long side bar the yellow and orange. Possibly in hindsight the area might better be used later in the season on the assumption that cold winter weather would kill back the ground vegetation.
Thank you all for coming to the event – my first organising experience for many years – it made all the work worthwhile. Many thanks to the helpers for their efforts, particularly the download tent erectors who fought with the billowing canvas in very gusty conditions.
Lost Property: 1 pair of tinted spectacles/safety glasses. Contact me on 02921 154865 to claim.