Such a good weekend! I competed in my first adventure race, one of the Haglof Open5 Adventure Series and it was so much fun!
For those of you who don’t know, these are a series of 5-hour orienteering adventure races set around the UK consisting of a mountain biking and fell running section.
The day before the race I decided to get out on the mountain bike for a short ride as a little warm up for Sunday. This went horrendously! As bikes have a habit of doing, mine decided to break in quite a big way. I lost the ability to break and steer, my suspension was worryingly soft, and I had two flat tyres, nothing was running smoothly!
I nursed the bike back home and set to work on trying to fix it with a HUGE amount of help from Tom (thank you!). I am getting better at mending things, but I need the slightly more complicated stuff explaining. Luckily by about 10 pm, we had a working bike – be that with a slight mash up of parts and a slightly reduced range of gears.
The next day was an early start as the race was being held near Ingleborough in Yorkshire. We arrived with no problems and headed off to registration. I have always been a competitive individual, so naturally seeing the whole set up and other competitors I instantly was determined to win!! Tom reminded me we were just doing this for fun, so I tried to chill out a bit. However, I couldn’t help adding to my wish list seeing all the professional bikes and gear. Looking at my trusty but very tatty knee pads (which I didn’t see anyone else wearing!) I made a note to try and look a bit smarter next time!
Warm and dry on the way to Settle:
Competing in the mixed pairs with Tom we decided to bike first as it was very, cold windy and kept snowing and hailing intermittently. The thought behind this was, as running nearly always makes you hot and sweaty, it would be better to do this after biking so not to get too cold. So after planning our route of checkpoints we were off!
Map of the mountain bike section:
The bike section of our went well. It was tough but out route involved some cool riding across a range of terrains. I found the biggest challenge (aside from the weather conditions) was balancing your energy levels – making sure you were always taking on the right amounts of food and drink. I definitely will make sure I read up in this more before the next race.
Looking a little tired at the transition point:
After a tick transition we were onto the fell running section, or in my case, more accurately walking!! One thing I had not considered was how hard it would be to run after 3 1/2 hours of intense biking – my legs just weren’t listening! Luckily things quickly picked up and I was able to get my pace back up. However, I definitely need to train this section more. We finished, now in thick snow, with 10 minutes to spare. I was knackered!
After a quick change and sort out we heading to the prize giving and best of all tea and cake. I have to say the organisation and friendliness of the people running this event was great. I would totally recommend giving this a go if you like the sound of these races but are not sure where to start. Everyone is so helpful, and I didn’t feel intimidated by the whole set up. Competitors range from total newbies (like me) to the far more serious professional athletes, and this creates a great atmosphere.
Queueing to get up the hill at the end of the race:
The day was made even better when after all of that we discovered we came 10th in the mixed pairs! I was really chuffed and totally fired up to enter the next race on 12th April in Edale! All in all such a good day out – I can’t recommend it enough. It has left me feeling energised and a real sense of achievement; so definitely give it a go if it sounds like your thing. Bring on Edale!