Monday, 27 April 2009


So, Its been a while.
Looking for a job is more of a full time job than actually having a job... how bizarre.
Still nothing on that front, however a couple of races have been run, and not much in the way of training has been done, mainly as the racing has been the training.

First up was the iROC, up in Durham Dales on an old disused cement factory. The race had been in preparation for quite some time- specifically as there were a lot of permissions that needed to be put in place, and also this was the inaugaral event- so there was much to go wrong.
The format was 6 races over 2 days.
Well, 5 on the Saturday and a killer on the Sunday, but more of that later.

What made this interesting was the nature of the event. After each race we got to go back to the tent, chill out, talk about the next race in the series, chat with other competitors, and generally prepare for the next one.
Of course, not all competitors were racing in all the events, so there were some people who were more knackered than others...

Like idiots, Jibber and I entered all of them.

Race 1. Fell race.
Basically up the steep sides of the hill overlooking the cement factory, up. Up more, over, into and across a bog, up some more, and then down, etc. For a good 8-9 miles. It basically gave us a good overview of the entire event area and more, what terrain to expect, where to expect it and how it was generally going to look.
The final part of the run was down through the single track in the forest- it was obscenely technical. Lumps, Bumps, roots, bridges, steep drops, the works.
That served as one of the big "anticipators" of the whole thing.
It turned out that a lot of the racers spent the rest of the day in dread of the night bike race which was going to go through that single track.
I spent much of that race waiting for Jibber- I appear to be a faster runner than him- and could have gained a number of placings, however, I waited and we plunged through the ice-cold river at the end of the race, and ended in good style.

Race 2. Orienteering part 1
For this race each racer was given a sealed map as they entered the start area, each map had a numbered series of orienteering points, and you had to collect the points in the correct order.
There were 4 loops, and every racer had the loops in a unique order. The loops at the bottom were the shorter of the 4, the other 2 were much longer and required a lot of hill climbing skills.
I had a bottm loop first, then a hill loop, then the killer bitch of a loop and then the final one closest to the finish.
Going up the third one, I was astonished to see someone actually RUNNING up the hill/slag heap behind me. "that bloke is fast" I thought.
Yep, then I got caned by a girl. Props to her though- totally wupped me.
Got back in 1hr31min.

Race 3 Orienteering 2
This was meant to go over into darkness, but it didnt really get all that dark. It was true orienteering in that we had an hour to get as much done as we could.
I teamed up with Jibber for this one and we got as many as we could. I managed one more point than him with a final sprint along the bottom of the course. Quite a nice trot over the hills, but I was really beginning to feel it.

Race 4 Night MTB
This was the one that the Bikers were looking forward to, and the runners really werent.
I was very happy that I had my Maxx exposure Joystick head torch thingy- just the right amount of light. (more would, of course, have been useful, but light=lots of cash.
The start was a bit of a mangled affair with people not knowing when or who was going, but I managed to get away with 3 others (we were let out in batches of 4).
The outward trail was getting torn up by this time, and wasnt fun at all- (I was VERY VERY glad that I had spent 30quid on a new rear tyre a couple of hours before) and I started winding my way through people on the first climb up the road.
We then went onto the grass, still up hill, then more winding up to the top of a massive slag heap, and a massive scary downhill bit, which was most amusing.
So I had overtaken a number of people, and then it was down into the depths of the forst and singletrack- which was, without a doubt, absolutely fantastic.
There were a couple of uber steep bits that had to be walked, but other than that, it was really good.
Coming down the final road, I pushed on the power and really drove it home, overtaking another load of people before the end.
I came about 41st out of the whole lot, which, all things considered, was not bad at all.

Race 5 Night Fell race
Ok, was getting tired here, it was a 4-5mile slog up and down the hills, we had covered pretty much all of the ground during the day, but it didnt make it any easier.
ACLs and ITBs were in massive pain going down hills, had to go through that damn forest again, which was even more churned up than ever. I got back in 1hr 8mins, Jibber took considerably longer.
going through that damn river at the end really didnt help either.
Settled down to sleep once the music in the marquee had shut the hell up- at 1am, and woke up, somewhat concernedly at 915 the next morning, when we had only really had about what felt like 10 mins kip.

Race 6- MTB enduro
Never done an enduro before. Never want to do one in those conditions ever again. Knackered to the point of oblivion we set out- with a 500yard dash to the bikes, en masse, and then got on out bikes... now, I consider myself to be quite a hardy biker, but, by the end of the first loop, I was gasping, and by the end of the second, I was a gonner. I couldnt stand up on my pedals to go over rough ground as my knees hurt too much, I couldnt pedal up hill- I was in granny ring the FIRST time around, there wasnt anywhere else to go after that!
so after only 1.5hours and 2 loops out, I called it a day and limped in. Knees are more important than a few places on the chart.

I came 60th out of about 200 (I was 50th before the enduro... but there you go), and was totally knackered, with a massive cut down the back of my left leg from the DMR pedals.

couldnt have finished the race without High 5 4:1, nor power gels, nor geobars.
best endurance food ever.

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