My first time doing yet another version of the Dumyat Dash. It’s shorter and steeper than the 2012 version – altogether more dash like. A large field had assembled, undeterred by the poor weather.
The race starts up a series of narrow trods above Menstrie – a fast start to get in to a good position and then it was a case of ignoring the jaggy gorse bushes drawing blood as you went on. Then on to a gentle downhill track. I heard Manny approaching (the laboured breaths are a dead giveaway) and soon he was edging in front. Now, I knew Mr Gorman was going to catch me at some point, but my ego wasn’t going to let it happen on a road so I pushed to hold him off. This worked well for both of us as we tore along the track, passing the family Knox and establishing ourselves in 4th & 5th. We hit the steep hill-side and Manny shot off, no way was I going to catch him on that terrain.
The route was (very) well-marked by spray-painted arrows on the ground. Which is all well and good, but it did mean I missed some obvious short-cuts and I was craftily undertaken by Thomas Knox when I took a needless high-road. I regained my position on the steep gully up towards the 1st top. Then there’s a long loop around towards Dumyat. I soon found myself alone in the mist and totally disorientated; just switch off and follow the markings – exactly my sort of race to be honest.
A glance back at the top of Dumyat revealed a worrying group just behind so I put on a push for the final descent and, much to my surprise no-one caught me. Just before the final section of steep narrow trods a wee girl warned ‘Be careful down there, it’s really muddy.’ And so it proved to be; a hair-raising descent of twists, turns, slips, not-quite-falls and just-and-no-more turns. Thomas Knox nipped past me in the last 500m, I couldn’t match him on the steep stuff and a sprint on the final road section wasn’t enough to catch him so I settled for sixth place.
The new route was far more fun than the old version, short & sharp with a bit of everything for everyone – highly recommended. A top effort from all those Westies that turned out, a lot of very muddy yellow vests by the end.