Here’s a few pictures from the Mr Bling Winter Series, Round 4 race at PORC last weekend. Brad Sheehan, Joe and Alfie Killner all managed top ten positions on Sunday with the new race jersey also making its debut on the backs of Joe and Alfie (Brad isn’t allowed one until he promises to stop crashing!). The short track made for close times and exciting racing.
Archive for February, 2012
It was Time for something else new for me and this event looked really interesting (and local, being at Mickleham /Boxhill). The basic premise of this race was a checkpoint race involving trail running and mountain biking whilst trying to get to as many of the 20 checkpoints as possible in 2 hours.
As this was my first attempt at this type of event I wasn’t sure what to expect, so I arrived early at registration and found plenty of people already in Mickleham village hall pouring over maps and studiously planning their routes. That raised the sense of nerves and anticipation, and the thought that I could be out of my depth!
So, having been given my map, one side with the run checkpoints and the other with the biking,and my timing dipper thingy, I sat down with my regular support crew (my dad and my daughter), took a deep breath and got planning. I’m definitely a stronger rider than runner, so the plan was to run for 45 minutes (ish) and ride for the remaining 1hr 15 mins. It was really difficult to work out how long it would take to get round, so we plotted a route to try and get to 7 of the 10 running checkpoints, and all of the biking ones and marked it on the map.
After a couple of nerves induced toilet trips, we had the race briefing and got to the start line. We all had to start on foot, and only transition once onto the bike, and get at least one checkpoint in each category to complete the race. Each checkpoint was worth 10 points and points were lost for being late back beyond the 2 hour point, so lots to think about!
It was strange to start a race and have competitors go off in different directions, and I quickly found myself in a small group of 6, all with map in hand. We got to the first checkpoint in 5 minutes with no problem, and set off to the second one. First problem and mistake! It wasn’t obvious which was the correct path, and rather than keep to myself, we ended up in a group discussion, and went wrong! This cost probably 6-7 minutes, and gave me my first lesson!
Eventually we all got to the checkpoint, dipped in and continued to run, now steadily upwards, which split the group down to a couple of us. I really got into the concept of the race by now and was running quite well and finding the checkpoints without too many problems. After a while though, I noticed that time was disappearing fast, and I realised I was not going to get round all of the checkpoints I’d planned. It was taking a lot longer than my normal running speed to navigate and find the checkpoints, and I needed to get back and onto the bike.
I was running with one other guy now, and we were pretty evenly matched, so worked together to find one more checkpoint, which involved a sneaky clamber over a barbed wire fence and a hack across a field, and then get back the most direct route we could find. Unfortunately, we didn’t consider the contour lines and gave ourselves a seriously steep climb, up and over and down the hill again, back into transition, having got 6 run checkpoints, but taken an hour and 6 minutes.
After a minute or two faffing, changing shoes etc and downing a gel, I got going on my bike, which as always felt good! It was about half a mile to the first checkpoint, which I overshot in my eagerness to ride fast! Once I found it (at the bottom of the Boxhill zigzag) I headed up to the next one, which was at the viewpoint at the top of the hill. I decided that the road would be the fastest way up, so played a game of ‘race the roady’ up the congested Olympic hill and quickly found the 2nd checkpoint.
As I often find in the duathlons that I’ve done, I can make up a lot of time on the bike, as most people tend to be runners who ride, rather than me who is a rider that also runs. Trouble was, it was easy to get carried away and ride fast and make navigational mistakes, so I still needed to be careful. I also got a 3rd checkpoint, which was nastily placed halfway down a steep hill, which my route meant I had to go down to and U-turn back up.
It was very obvious now that my longer than planned run had compromised my bike time, so I checked the map and changed my route. I ended up at my 5th checkpoint with 7 minutes left, at the same time as a guy in London Phoenix kit and we jointly decided to get 1 more checkpoint in, which was pretty much on the most direct route back – which meant pushing the bike back up that same hill I’d had to run/walk up! We got back on at the first opportunity and I chased the guy across ‘The Gallops’ towards the checkpoint. Unfortunately, I was too busy riding hard and mistakenly trusting that he knew where it was, and we plunged down the hill, got to the bottom and realised we’d missed it. There was only 3 minutes left, so we shrugged shoulders and rode round the corner and back into the finish area, dipping in with 1 minute and 40 secs to spare.
I got a downloaded print out of my score – 110points and a free massage from a rather lovely young lady with amazing hands that worked some magic into my tired legs.
My 11 checkpoints got me into 11th spot out of 49 in my category, which I was really pleased with for a first go. I’ve realised the navigation and strategy and planning adds an addictive ‘nerdy’ element to racing, and I can’t wait to have another go, now I know so much more about how it works. The massage at the end is all good too of course…
Originally, the plan this Sunday was to race the Rogate Resurgence event (now postponed until next weekend) with Haven Distribution/Devinci team rider Brad Sheehan, customer Joe and his son, Alfie. Unfortunately, the inclement weather put paid to that. So rather than go back to bed, plan B was implemented: head over to Pitch and meet up with the Sunday morning shop ride. Having wheel spun are way up the hill past the snow weighted trees to car park 3, we found Paul, George and Matt waiting for us…