Adventure Racing

The format is this: you have 5hours to cover as much ground as possible on foot, bike and by kayak. The winner is the team/person that has reached the most check points. Geeky- yes! But it’s bloody tough going, especially when it’s a fraction above 0! It’s great training- being on your feet for 5 hours is tough going…. Especially when you are lost and frustrated!

Two weekends ago we (me, baz and big baz) entered an adventure race in the New Forest. The weather was horrific- it snowed for the 24hours leading up to the race, the wind was blowing HARD and the temperature (before wind chill) was a painful 2 celcius. A hard day was in store!

As soon as we had maps in hand we started frantically planning- we usually plan for 10 mins then bolt out the door and start racing. Today, however, we were allocated a 11:45 kayak slot and the kayak transition was close to the start/finish so we delayed our start (you have a 1hr window). We tried to get our departure time so that we arrived at the TP at 11:45.. Only we underestimated our speed and arrived 5mins early with 2check points in the bag. Standing in the freezing cold next to lake wasn’t ideal. We cracked on with the kayaking, gathered 4 CPs and only used 20mins of the allocated 45. Good work so far.

From there I strapped my feet back into the pedals (not that I could feel them after wading shin deep in the ice cold lake) and we cracked on with the bike ride! An hour and half spent cycling into a head wind at the helm of the Felt 29er was an interesting way to spend a saturday! Baz and Big Baz has a really good pace that i just couldn’t keep up with – my legs were still recovering from Reading half! At the 2.5hr mark we took a pit stop near check point 22. An energy gel, flap jack and 15 mins of steady cycling later, I was back on pace so we headed to the Run TP.

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Now the real fun begins… And by fun I mean cramp! After all 3 of us cramped simultaneously whilst cycling up a big hill climb, we were not it in a fit state to run! But that’s no excuse- we had at least 5 miles to cover if we wanted to be competitive… 5.2miles later we returned back to TP and were suffering badly. Baz was cramping in his quads and hamstrings- an unsolvable dilemma! It was a steady plod back to the bikes…

From there we were back on the bikes and had a 3mile sprit back to the finish!!! Sprint is a generous way to describe it… But we did our best!

All in all it was an epic race despite the freezing cold! We clocked 35+ miles of cross country running, cycling and kayaking. We managed to bag 6th place (out off 80+)! Not bad for our 3rd outting at adventure racing!

This weekend we are heading to the Lake District for another 5hr race. The competition will be stronger and the hills even steeper- but at the minute it’s all about the endurance training, so the added challenge is just added motivation!

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