A slightly more aggressive start than I usually employ in cross-country but still allowed the leaders to press-on up ahead while I tried to hold something back. Opeining up with a sub 3min kilometer but still being over 10 seconds back at this point shows the speed of the start. I settled into a constant effort according to ‘feel’ and didn’t actually look at my watch during the race. I was pretty even in terms of workload throughout the race as shown by heart rate graph despite the stochastic nature of my velocity as shown by speed graph. After the 9th kilometer I was closing in on a group just as we hit a flat, firm section at which point it appeared as if I ‘kicked’ hard as I opened up a considerable gap in a short space of time however my hr values showed no real spike which demonstrate that my effort itself didn’t spike, only my speed. In other words I effectively used the flat section as ‘free speed’ while perhaps the guys in the group used the flat as a bit of respite from the mud and hills. It’s crucial in undulating terrain to utilize an effective pacing strategy which doesn’t mean even velocity (as shown by nearly 30sec range between fastest and slowest kilometers) but even distibution of effort (as shown by narrow range of hr values after 2nd kilometer of just 5 beats). If you start too fast you will faulter in terms of biomechanics and once that happens, there is no way back. I’ve learnt the hard way but have now worked with Triumph coach Aaron Harris to identify my training paces so that I know how long I can sustain a given pace and what that looks like in terms of hr but most crucuially what it feels like in terms of effort. Know yourself, know your paces and you’ll nail your races!!