The Rodings Rally is
an overnight cryptic orienteering, foot challenge in Epping Forest
organised by Epping Forest Outdoor Group. CamRacers are building
quite a history in this event. Having won in 2006, we have been
chasing that win ever since with 2nd places in 2007, 2008 and 3rd
in 2011. We've also had a go at the team agregate competition entering
3 teams and coming 2nd in 2007 and 2008. So the pressure was on
for Paul and Russ to come up with the goods this year, but the mix
of cryptic clue solving, navigation, speed and locating the hidden,
unlit, tented checkpoints throws a lot of unknowns into the equation.
It was a
relatively warm start to the evening, so we had trouble convincing
ourselves to shed enough clothing ready for a fast start which left
Paul shivering as we queued up at the start to get our clue sheet.
We were soon off running though with the first clues heading to
the Northern end of the forest. Each clue has 3 grid references
and the named locations on the map close to one of these should
match with the cryptic clue. We started well, running fast between
attack points and concentrating on good pacing and compass bearings
to get us to the checkpoints buried deep inside the woods. Ironically
we lost a couple of minutes on the one closest to a path as we figured
it should be on the other side of the path. In the dark woods it's
easy to be within a few metres and walk right past. We had a very
good run, right up to the last clue which stumped us completely
so we had to set off to visit all three grid references. The second
was very hard to locate so we moved onto the third, still with no
result. Finally returning to the second point from a different direction
we hit it spot on followed by a final sprint to the finish.
We held first place for just a couple of minutes before the next
team came in. We had lost it on that final checkpoint and finished
2nd overall. Thanks to everyone for another challenging and friendly
event. I guess we will just have to come back and try again next
On 12th October Jeff
made his attempt on the famous Lakeland Bob Graham Round. A distance
of over 70 miles and 28000 feet of ascent taking in 42 of the Lake
District's highest peaks.
The challenge starts from the Moot Hall in Keswick and the aim
is to return there within 24 hours having completed the circular
route. Witnesses are required to accompany the runner at all times
and these can also act as support, helping pace, navigate and carry
food and water. Sabs, Zoe and Pyro all played their parts amongst
others through a variety of weather.
Jeff comfortably completed in just under 23 hours. Congratulations
Sabs on top form at Questars
With Ben having worked
on the logistics side of the recent Adidas Terrex Sting World Series
race he was raring to get back on the competitors side of an event.
Sabs was recovering well from the team's 5th placing at the 5 day
expedition event and they both headed for the Brecon Beacons for the
Questars 1 day Masters event.
warnings of overgrown and muddy bridleways, but the majority of
the biking was minor roads and cycle routes. The kayaking was on
a different section of the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal than
that used previously and the run transition was remote, being reached
by bike. The pair went well with just the one navigation error on
the run, finishing just over the 6 hour allotted time with a score
of 785 after the 5 point late penalty. This placed them 8th overall
in the Masters race but top Mixed Team, 20 points comfortably clear
of their nearest rivals.
Terrex Sting Stirling race formed the UK leg of this year's Adventure
Race World Series. Taking place two weeks after our trip over to
Ireland, Jason turned up to the race with his ankle strapped up
having developed a post-race injury yet to be tested. The remainder
of the team: Jeff, Sabs and Russ arrived in good spirits and well
prepared with kit and race time estimates from the pre-event information.
Therefore we were able to spend a lot of time analysing the course
once the maps were issued.
The Sunday night prologue around Stirling was as frantic as ever
despite trying to take it slow. The result gave us a 25 minute penalty
but this was pushed back to the second day of the race where we
could sleep so not really a penalty at all. It was good to be doing
a bit of exercise though and Jason's foot survived the test so we
figured he'd be ok for the next 5 days!
A fast start was required in order to meet the first canoe cut-off
in 24 hours time, so after a quick jog up and back to the Wallace
monument we were soon working with other teams on the road bike
to Doune Castle and a row across Lake of Montieth. Once off road
through the Menteith Hills, Glen Finglas and Glen Kendrum the pace
slowed considerable across the boggy ground. This was followed by
a short canoe from Killin across part of Loch Tay for a foot stage
starting with the last of the daylight traversing the group of Munroes
on the Western side of Ben Lawers. So just before 4am we started
back in the canoes along Loch Tay somewhat slowly due to sleepy
paddlers compounded by a fresh headwind. By 8am we were descending
the river Tay which was enough to keep anyone awake. Several teams
had a spill at some of the rapids but we arrived unscathed at Grantully
after a leisurely enjoyable paddle.
Here we served our 'penalty' and organised our bike boxes for the
big trek section and committed ourselves to a longer bike and trek
later in the race before setting off to cycle over mixed terrain
to the Bruar falls canyoning. Here we stalled as Sabs came to grips
with the water jumps which to her credit she overcame in her own
time, so even Russ felt he couldn't hesitate too long while Jeff
and Jason of course just went for it. The canyoning was great fun
and seemed to last a long time. By the time we were changed back
into cycling kit we were behind any optimistic schedule of completing
the full course. Although we had already decided to play the penalty
points 'Short Course' game before the start of the race, emotions
were high as to whether this was the place to start missing sections.
We opted for a short nap after which we all agreed to shorten the
next section to Mar Lodge.
The ride through Glen Tilt was surely scenic but lost on us in
the dusk and darkness as the track narrowed to a push and the midges
descended. It was very hard to tell in the lights if there was drizzle
or if it was all midges! Mar lodge was a very welcome sight with
hot food and our tent to catch our main planned sleep. Missing the
'orienteering' section was an easy call, it being longer than estimated
and a trail run. In fact having opted for the Short Course game
it was marginal whether any of the longer routes would help us up
the leaderboard from here on. Although we thought we could finish
the course in 5 days, the cut-off after 4 days was not achieveable
making it a 4 1/2 day race. However playing the short course game
we might only take a bit over 3 days to reach the final cutoff and
sit around for almost 24 hours so it was a balance of doing a bit
more of the course while trying not to take much longer than the
penalty times which would add to our race time hence our choosing
the longer bike and trek next.
Leaving Mar Lodge at first light we cycled through a stunning landscape
with the heather in full bloom. A fast road section past Balmoral
followed before heading up the valley towards Mount Keen in the
sunshine. On the way up we saw an adder snake slithering away off
the track into the heather, not an uncommon sight here. The upper
slopes of this Munro became quite steep and we rotated helping carry
all the bikes up. The wind had picked up and was compounded by the
downdraft from the filming helicopter as it watched us and followed
a full course team on their descent.
House of Mark provided welcome bacon sandwiches and plenty of space
to pack for the mammoth 75km trek. The first section to Glen Muick
was a pleasant afternoon/evening trek on fairly featureless terrain
with once more the midges to welcome our arrival. As it was already
dark we stopped for a short sleep in the woods before ascending
to Lochnagar. Luckily we didn't know at the time that we had just
taken over the 13 hours penalty time for missing out this section
completely! Still we had fun. The approach to Black Spout scramble
was tricky in the dark but the scramble straight forward and Sam
Noble was a welcome sight on the Stuic ridge as it started to get
light at the top. This wasn't enough to stop Sabs crashing though
and had to be marched arm in arm over the next checkpoint down to
somewhere suitable to pitch the tent. 15 minutes later she was awake
and raring to go and warm up. Part 2 finished at the luxury of Glenshee
with hot food and Jason and Jeff got their heads down for a while.
The last section followed the route of a previous LAMM elite course
to start with. A final team discussion agreed to head straight for
Grantully and sleep off the clock. Russ somehow managed to sleepwalk
through some of the final bogs or erase it from his memory. The
cycle to Grantully through Pitlochry was quick but with a sting
in the tail on the final tracks. Arrival was all the more welcome
though to be off the clock and find the local pub still serving
pizza and providing live music and still time for a solid 6 hours
So the final 12 hours was a bit of a sprint. We made an effort
to paddle the river faster this time and still stayed upright and
were surprised to be told we were one of the few teams using portage
trolleys rather than carrying. The 'orienteering' gained us a few
minutes against the penalty time and provided a welcome toilet stop
although was again limited to tracks/paths. This just left the final
road bike to Sterling where we overtook quite a few teams only slowed
by Sabs losing all her brakes on the final descent into Stirling.
A day later, the leaderboard caught up to show our strategy having
paid off putting us top of the short course teams and 5th overall
as several of the teams trying for the full course dropped off due
to injury/exhaustion as we had expected. 5th place beats our previous
World Series bests of 6th in Spain in 2007 and also 6th at Portugal
XPD in 2007 for Russ in a Sleepmonsters team. The parts of the course
we saw were great but it seemed wrong to be moving up the leaderboard
by doing less and beating those teams that completed a longer course
than ourselves. The result moves us up to 4th in the UK
The correct results with the penalties calculated properly should
1. 85:29 Team Adidas Terrex - Full course
2. 96:14 FGS! Nectar - Full course
3.106:15 Salomon - Running Free - Full course
4.109:15 Moxie Racers - Full course
7.114:58 Tri Adventure
This is much closer than the published results show. Taking the
long bike and hike almost cost us two places which would have been
really annoying and Tri Adventure only missed out on 6th place by
A very special thanks to all the volunteers at the race which wouldn't
be possible without you. It was always good to see your smily faces
however dirty or incoherent we were. Also thanks to all our supporters
- sorry the short course leaderboard was so hard to follow for you.
Scotland once more delivered the terrain for a real expedition
feel and the winners Team Adidias Terrex showed their dominance
of the UK scene. We hope they can do us proud at the World Champs
of Ballyhoura - an Irish training weekend
weekend of August had been put in our diaries as a final team training
weekend before the Terrex Sting Expedition Race. When we later saw
that this coincided with the Beast of Ballyhoura 36 hour race which
several of us had been interested in doing for a few years, the
decision to enter was quickly made. Many were surprised that we
would race 36 hours two weeks before a long race, but one of the
Irish teams had also taken this decision -rightly or wrongly.
Once entered we must credit Ivan at CCAR
and Ballyhoura Failte
for all their help in our airport transfers and accomodation to
make it possible to fit in the race on a tight schedule. It all
went very smoothly. We were of course made very welcome as you would
expect in Ireland.
The course was very well planned too with a core set of checkpoints
and bonus controls to allow everyone to make it to the finish in
36 hours. This was a real achievement and credit to the planners
as when they asked at the briefing who hadn't done the 'Beast' before
it felt like everyone's hand went up, ourselves included!
Starting with a swim by Jason and Sabs tagging Jeff and Russ to
orienteer, we were the first team onto the kayaks and immediately
had to decide to paddle away from the route of most teams for a
bonus checkpoint, but by the end of the kayak we had caught up somewhere
mid field before heading out on the bikes.
By afternoon we were out trekking on terrain that felt very good
training for Scotland. This included an exciting checkpoint under
a swollen waterfall. By dark we were stopped for a while waiting
for our bikes and struggling to stay warm on a high pass road.
Biking through the night was broken by a stop at Ballyhass
lakes for some night orienteering on foot and kayaks and a climb/abseil.
Then it was on to the final stages of a long trek in the Ballyhoura
mountains where we were forced to have a 20 minute nap and a mountain
bike back up into the same hills to explore the
excellent single track there.
After a fast race back to the excellent race base at Blackwater
castle, there were a couple of ziplines to keep us awake and
tubing down the river to finish off the race nicely. This was topped
off by an excellent spread of food and a brief results presentation
because people wanted to hurry to the pub to watch the olympic 100m
When all the points were added up, we came second with prices from
Wheelworx.ie. That just left
a hectic evening of trying to dry kit and pack before a 4am departure
to the airport.
We had a fantastic welcome and would thoroughly recommend the race.
We also look forward to seeing a few familiar faces over in Stirling
too. We owe a few people a beer or two..
and July we had a string of individual and pairs races with some
good results. June started with Ben and Sabs competing individually
in the Tri-Adventure Tri-Experience 3.5 hr event in Swinley Forest.
In tight competition, Ben won the male class and Sabs was 5th female.
Next up Steve H and Russ had a go at the Three Rings of Shap 100km
ultra in some pretty horrendous weather causing quite a few route
diversions due to flooding. They came in joint 9th place of the
34 100km finishers. Report,
photos, Results. Route
In July Ben and Sabs headed to the New Forest for the Tri-Adventure
Tri-Challenge 5 hr run/bike event. Sabs was top female with Ben
7th in the male class .Results.
The same weekend Steve H and Russ competed in the Saunders Mountain
Marathon based from Wasdale. For a change, heat was more of a problem
over some tough ground seldom visited in the Western Lake District.
They finished in a fought over 4th place on the longest pairs 'Scafell
Results. Reports. Routes:
Day 1 and
the end of July Steve H and Russ attempted the Wenlock Olympian Walk
of 100 miles around the hills and valleys of Shropshire. This formed
part of the games in Much Wenlock organised by the Wenlock
different loops of 50 miles each centred on Much Wenlock, many of
the competitors found the return to the village hall in the middle
of the night a place too comfortable to face setting off on the
second loop. Russ suffered with his stomach on the second loop and
Steve more so with his feet, but they perservered and formed part
of the elite group of only 25 finishers, their time making them
10th quickest over the distance. Results.
Steve and Russfinishing back at Much Wenlock
Photo: Geoff Sproson.
to Settle - the long way round
It was a short 15 mile coach ride from
Settle to Kirkby Lonsdale for Ben, Jeff, Sabs and Russ to the start
of the Adidas Terrex Swift race. Ahead however lay a 300km, 50 hour
race route to get back to the finish in Settle.
event was hosted by Open Adventure as an introduction to longer
expedition races. Therefore the maps and route were sent out beforehand.
We had a good look at the route and distances and decided we should
be capable of getting around the full course although it was structured
with many optional parts in the later stages to allow teams to reach
the finish before the time cutoff.
It started with a sunny run around Kirkby Lonsdale and alongside
the River Lune to collect our canoes and continue all the way down
through Lancaster to the estuary, a great start to the journey.
We took the run steady and passed a few teams on the paddle by not
capsizing and picking good lines down the river. 6 hours into the
race we transitioned onto the bikes to cycle across the Forest of
Bowland for some bike orienteering in Gisburn forest. Jeff took
the navigation and we were swapping places here with Team planetFear,
although Marieke injured her ankle on the final control which would
eventually lead her to drop out towards the end of the race.
Soon we were into Malham to drop the bikes to head
out on a 10 mile tour on foot as darkness fell. We took in Malham
Tarn via Goredale Scar and back via the bottom of Malham Cove where
we caught the Irish team MOXIE racers. It started raining and we
packed a lot of food and clothes as well as our climbing gear for
what would be the next 18 hour mountain biking stage. From now on
teams could start taking shorter routes. We were the last of only
five teams to continue on the full route.
got ahead of planetFear we took a wrong turning on one of the tracks
over Kilnsey Moor and had to back track and could see their headlamps
behind us as we headed for the abseil down Kilnsey Crag at dawn.
The next high leg was over to Aysgarth. Heading into the wind and
rain it was a bleak ride. We had to just keep going and get down
to some shelter. It was too early for anywhere to be open in Aysgarth
but people were awake and Ben persuaded a cafe to open to serve
us bacon sandwiches and plenty of tea. With still a long way to
go our only focus was to get the next checkpoint and over to another
cafe in Reeth to recover. However on the way the rain started to
ease and we were boosted by meeting the race photographers on the
descent into Reeth and carried straight on through. There was a
lot of climb in the next few hours but finally we were rewarded
with some pleasant descents before the final climb from Muker to
Hawes. In the final descent the temperature dropped and we arrived
cold once more into transition.
35 hours into the race without sleep we decided this was a good
place to catch an hours sleep undercover wearing our clothes ready
for the final long trek. This 65 km stage would take in Whernside,
Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent to complete the journey back to Settle.
We left Hawes at last light heading for Whernside. It stayed dry
but cold and the peak was in cloud. Although we jogged a short section,
it took us 5 hours to reach the summit. Although the sun rose on
the descent we were all hit by tiredness. We were moving slowly
and stopping often for naps. At least a couple of teams pulled out
on this final stage. With a further 10 hours of trek to go we weren't
going to complete the route before the cut off and reluctantly cut
the final two peaks. This 'shortcut' was still a further 20km of
hiking to the finish however.
Just four teams completed the full course and we placed 7th as
the penalty times for missing checkpoints on the final trek were
much higher than those for the preceeding mountainbike stage for
those teams racing more tactically. Given the weather and the number
of teams new to these longer races it was good to see over half
the teams making it to the finish and useful experience for those
heading towards the longer Scotland event later in the year.
Jeff, Sabs and Russ have finished preparations for the Terrex Swift
event this June Bank Holiday weekend.
CamRacers had a weekend with all 5 of the expedition team squad
together in the Peak District for two further sessions in the canoes
on moving water followed by a substantial mountain bike ride together
into the night and topped off with the 3 hour Dark and White Dovedale
trail score event on the Sunday. Ben and Sabs placed 2nd mixed pair
although for the same score the remainder placed lower in their
There was just time for Ben and Sabs to squeeze one more event
in at the Questars 6 hour run, bike, kayak down in Purbeck where
once again they achieved a hard fought 2nd placing in the first
hot weekend of the year.
Open Adventure's decision to revive the two day stage race in the
UK with a proper team category will up the game of UK teams. Certainly
it was blessed by the weather until almost the end while the South
and West of the country suffered floods and gales
Sabs, Jeff and Ben our team for Adidas Swift competed together in
the 4 person mixed team category. Russ and Jeff were regular competitors
at the original 2 day staged ACE races so were familiar with the
Nearly all the top UK teams were at the event so it was going to
be a good competition.
Day 1 had a ride to a remote start at the foot of Loughrigg for
a 2 hour foot score navigational section. Up to 1 hour rest was
allowed before taking all your equipment from stage 1 on a 4 hour
30 minute mountain bike score stage down through Grizedale Forest
to finish back at the Coniston event base campsite.
top 3 teams cleared the first stage but we lost a few minutes here
and there meaning we had to drop a checkpoint placing us 4th. The
following ride was very well planned with a lot of strategy required
to get the most points without being late back. We weren't helped
on this stage by two puncture stops but were pleased with the decisions
we made and our timing was spot on. This left us in 4th place with
TotalXC just behind on points.
The final stage of the day was a 90 minute night stage up at Tarn
Hows. Most of the teams had problems with navigation or timing on
this stage and we were no exception. We picked a checkpoint following
ground that was very rough underfoot which slowed us down a lot.
We didn't panic though and had the energy to sprint the final track
to avoid losing too many points for being late back and held our
4th position overall.
Day 2 was a 90 minute score event kayaking on lake Coniston followed
by a fixed route trail run up over the Old Man of Coniston. There
was quite a wind blowing down the lake and we took the cautious
approach dropping a couple of checkpoints and coming in early when
it would have paid to collect one more. We were still 4th on the
stage though which just left the trail run. We weren't up to our
normal speed on this and feared how many points we must be losing
but we stuck with it and all the teams had to battle the strong
winds on the ridge. It was a great run but we were glad to be back
down and the weekend's competition over.
When the points were totalled we had easily held on to 4th place.
We were very pleased with that as we didn't realistically expect
to be up with the ex-World Champions and other two sponsored teams
above us. We were also pleased with how we had worked as a team.
None of the stages had gone perfectly but we had kept going and
made good decisions.
'Make good decisions' was always Phil Humphreys advice to people
new to his 2 day races. Let's hope Open Adventure make a good decision
and keep this social and competitive format alive in the UK calendar.
final event of the Tri-Adventure spring series was held at Mickleden,
Surrey. The format is a fast and furious 2 hours split into an hour
on foot and an hour on mountain bike, navigating to score the most
checkpoints against the clock.
good turnout saw over 100 competitors competing in both the 2 hour
'Sprint' and the 1 hour foot based 'Trail' cataegories. Sabrina
came out top in the female category amassing a sizeable 20 point
gap over the rest of the field.
Things were closer in the male category with Ben taking 3rd spot
from Tom Davies behind Nick Gracie and Adam Marcinowicz. A very
respectable result amongst such a strong field.
Ben and Sabs were competing in Surrey, Russ travelled up to another
of the Dark & White 3 hour score trail runs starting from Hope
was a great sunny day if a little chilly with snow still lying in
the gulleys and a forecast maximum temperature of just +3C on the
tops. As ever there was a lot of local competition in a strong field.
Russ completed a taxing 25km loop with 1000m climb extending along
the ridge from Win Hill west almost to Edale and back over Lose
Although the area was partly familiar territory from the High Peak
Marathon route, a couple of navigational glitches cost Russ time
losing points for being late back and dropping him down the rankings
to 9th Vet Male. A great day out as always with lashings of tea
and biscuits at the end. The 20 mile cycle each way to meet with
his lift to the event won't have done any harm either as training
for the longer events planned for later in the year.
final event of the Haglofs Open 5 2011/12 Series took place in Dovedale
in the south Peak District. In contrast to many of the events through
the winter, finally the sun came out to celebrate the series finale.
and Sabs were there to defend their lead in the series and Russ
also made the journey up for the weekend for some training on the
saturday riding and running with George before the event on the
With dry trails and a good network of footpaths, roads and cycle
trails it was always going to be a fast event - Russ averaged 20mph
between two of the MTB checkpoints on the Tissington Trail! Most
people including the CamRacers contingent elected to run first which
took us South from the start at Alstonefield towards Ilam Park and
in and across Dovedale with one of the checkpoints in the well known
Neither of us had particularly efficient run routes but there were
glorious views. Russ managed to cut short his run to keep down to
the 2 hours, but Ben and Sabs although scoring highly on the run
were out for more than 2:40 which despite a fast transition was
always going to leave them short of time on the bike in the 5 hours
allowed overall. Both made it home in time with Russ placing 4th
in the Male Solos and Ben and Sabs placing 6th in the Mixed Pairs
against strong competition.
Then it was a tense wait while all the figures were crunched to
determine the Series ranking. Finally it came down to a single point
difference in this last race to knock Ben and Sabs into 2nd place
overall. The close competition made for exciting racing throughout
the series and it all starts again in November. Congratulations
once again Ben and Sabs.
and Sabs taking their 2nd place Series trophies for the Haglofs
2011/12 Open 5 race series
our joint training weekends between CamRacers and Tri-Adventure,
it was Ed and Soph's turn to organise and the venue was the Brecon
beacons. Basing ourselves in Dolygaer bunkhouse, having arrived
late friday night, the first phase was a mountain bike route leaving
abut midnight. It wasn't the best of nights with mist and rain on
the higher ground - but all good training. We were having our first
run out as the team entered for the Stirling expedition event later
in the year now that George has dropped out leaving Russ, Sabrina,
Jeff and Jason. We've all raced together in different combinations
so know each other well. We rode well together making an effort
to stay together at the same speed. We had several kit issues, mostly
things that we would have checked if it it wasn't just a training
weekend but they were welcome reminders.
Unfortunately Russ took a small tumble on the bike and Jason also
gashed an ankle which we dealt with once back at the bunkhouse 'in
transition'. Both groups were similarly paced on the bike so we
set out on foot into the saturday morning daylight together. The
foot route of about 40km was a great tour of all the main ridges
and peaks in the central Brecon Beacons and with more wind and rain
forecast we were racing quite heavy with lots of food, clothing
and shelter - remember we all got up for work on friday morning
and hadn't slept since.
We jogged more than we might have expected, not least to avoid
Sabrina getting cold! We also took the opportunity to test putting
up the tent and felt we should try sleeping which was easy for a
quick 15 minute recover. Some of the hardest grassy/boggy terrain
came as a sting in the tail towards the end of the afternoon as
the 10,000ft of climb started to take its toll. An early evening
transition to the pub allowed us to swap stories of our day before
some well earned sleep.
Sunday some people had to depart but we managed to take in part
of the Cwm Carn trails including a valuable experience of learning
to finish without any brake pads left! Altogether a very useful
weekend giving us confidence for later in the year and also plenty
of areas to work on once more.
Sabrina travelled to the New Forest to take part in a mini event
staged by Tri-Adventure
for filming as part of the BBC1
Countryfile programme. Presenter Ellie Harrison teamed with
Nick Gracie over a short course involving both foot and mountain
bike navigation. Sabrina was part of 'team purple' competing against
Nick and Ellie.
Ellie found it tough not being used to quite such a pace and Sabs
had several seconds of fame in the fetching purple bib!
countryfile teams at the startline. Photo: Tri-Adventure
the local landowners thought it promoted
off road mountainbiking in the area when all tracks used were
part of public rights of way and the approved cycle network.
Sabrina fight back in the Open 5 Series
the title of these notes, you need to understand the missing story.
Between the Quantocks Open 5 (below) and now, was the North Pennines
event planned by our very own Jeff. Unfortunately due to an error
judging the amount of snow present, Ben and Sabs had a bad day only
managing 12th place.
doing so they lost their lead in the series. Hence this North Downs
event was their chance to fight back.
It was after all our area of the country and an area where we have
raced before, so felt like home ground. With such determination,
Sabrina headed out onto the first run section like a bullet and
had to be pulled back by Ben to a more sustainable pace. This was
still a very fast pace though and with a good score it was soon
time to head back for the bikes. Transition was quickly accomplished
but perhaps a little too quickly in retrospect.
The weather soon started to break from the temperate rain to freezing
temperatures and snow. Suddenly the hills were a blessing as going
up could still keep them warm. Ben had taken time to put on plenty
of clothes but soon had to concede that he was going to have to
give most of them to Sabrina if they were going to finish! Struggling
all the way to the finish, they kept it up for a convincing win
in the mixed pairs although Sabrina had to be bundled from the finish
to warm up before finding out the results!
So going into the final event in the Peak District, Ben and Sabrina
lead the series once again by a very small margin. It's going to
be an exciting finsh to the series!
to the High Peak Marathon
High Peak Marathon features in many fell runner's calendars and
anyone who has done it has plenty of stories to tell. As such it
has become a very competitive race and this starts each year in
November when the entries are put in to the lottery. Following a
very respectable 7th place in 2009, Russ thought it was time to
put in another entry and was slightly surprised when the entry confirmation
The team evolved to be predominantly a British Antarctic Survey
team with Hamish and Clare joining and Kate,a glaciologist living
in Sheffield with useful local knowledge! Although a strong team
on paper our aim was always more about fun and completing the 40
mile overnight route. Time passed quickly leading up to the event
and although Kate managed to get out on part of the course, we were
mostly relying on Russ' memory from 3 years previously.
Friday night came and the usual suspects including many adventure
racer friends assembled in the Edale hall to be let out at 1 minute
intervals into the foggy night. Recent warm temperatures had taken
away all thoughts of snow and frozen bogs. We moved pretty steadily
but it was soon clear that Clare was suffering but bravely keeping
up the pace. Once out on the moor as the ground forced a slower
pace she started to feel better. One moment of excitement was helping
another team to pull one of their members from a bog before the
rest of them became stuck. On the main featureless section we suffered
a couple of navigational issues: following an unmarked path for
a couple of hundred metres off route and later turning too early
as daylight came. We were within a few hundred metres of the route
but the detour cost us a further half hour. Somewhere here Hamish
managed to damage his toe which reduced the pace further but we
struggled on to the main food stop at Snake pass. Despite the rain
in our faces we all wanted to continue - or perhaps just no one
wanted to let down the team!
We weren't moving quickly but the weather gradually cleared to
sunshine and showers with great views round by Kinder Downfall.
We finished in 14 hours 17 minutes, all glad to have finished. A
couple of days later there was even talk by at least a couple of
the team about having another go sometime. It's that kind of event...
This was our first test of our new tracker allowing friends to
follow our progress in real time and record our navigational issues.
We hope to make more use of this.
day for Jeff, but not so for the team
Haglofs Open 5 event was based in Warcop and Jeff had agreed to plan
the event. This wasn't quite a s straight forward as a normal event
as access to the military ranges is strictly limited and he had to
use just about every day they were open to plan.
was further complicated by access to the area being under the A66
in a small (wet) culvert - but hey, it's meant to be an adventure
race! On the day there was still recent significant snow on the
higher ground and this was to have a significant impact on the results.
Ben and Sabs still leading the series were one of the ones choosing
to head for the higher ground believing they needed the points from
the higher ground to get a good score on the day, but the going
was so soft and slow it seriously ate into their time making them
late back and into serious penalty points. In the end the results
were largely split between those that stayed lower with higher scores
and those venturing higher. Ben and Sabs still gained a respectable
10th in the mixed pairs but with their rivals taking a win they
lost their lead in the series. Still several events to go and everyone
went away having raced on an area they were less familiar with and
no one got shot much to Jeff's relief!
two longer UK races in the year ahead for the team in the form of
the Yorkshire Dales based 48 hour Terrex Swift and multi-day expedition
race starting from Stirling -Terrex Sting, it made sense to start
getting in a bit of team training. This was especially true as both
will involve Open Canoe legs which we have not raced with to any
The team for the events is made up of Sabs, Jeff and Russ joined
by George from Team Tri-Adventure but who is currently Cambridge
based. George took on the task of organising the weekend on his
home turf of Purbeck helped out a little by Russ with the maps.
We were joined by the main Tri-Adventure team also aiming for the
same races as well as fellow CamRacers Ben and Jason and some more
friends to assemble 4 teams in total.
The weekend started from Brenscombe outdoor centre at 11pm with
a trek over the hills and around the coast on a cold, moonlit night.
In total for the weekend we would cover around 45km on foot but
this intial trek was around half that. A quick transition back at
the centre set us off on mountain bikes for the remainder of the
darkness as the temperatures fell well below zero causing us a few
challenges with frozen bikes. Around daybreak we regrouped to head
on foot down to Cleavel Point to start the Canoe leg which would
take us across Purbeck Harbour and up the river to Wareham where
we had a spot of street orienteering to stretch the legs and help
With the tide turning, we headed back for the return with one further
run enroute causing a few navigational problems as the tiredness
started to hit. The final paddle was tough against wind and tide
before a short portage and the final foot section back to the centre
for a big meal and a bed for the night.
We learnt a lot and can start to focus our efforts now in the areas
we need to concentrate on.
meeting on the Whitby Coast
and Steve H decided that getting in an early season ultra run would
be good preparation for the year ahead. The night in the travelodge
went all too quickly and early in the morning we finished the drive
to the iconic Whitby Abbey which was to be our start and finish
point for the 50 miles head.
was a cool morning and the early start wasn't quite shorts weather.
Soon the small crowd were set off, some at quite a pace South along
the undulating coastal path. As there was also a marathon on the
same route it was hard to tell who was running what. Steve, on his
first ultra took it easy, starting from the back while Russ didn't
want to get held up on the stiles and was somewhere near the front.
The route went as far as Ravenscar on a disused railway track before
heading inland across Fylingdales moor, and a circuit of Sneaton
High Moor woods before retracing the route back to Whitby. Just
as we turned inland a friendly hello greeted Russ as Paul came through
to meet him. Having not met up for over a year as Paul's work commitments
had taken him abroad we were both as surprised as each other. Paul
was based back in the UK and with an entry in the Dragon's Back
lined up was also in some need of training. The miles passed quickly
as we chatted away. At the refreshment stop Paul pulled away but
just like old times he missed a turning on the 'marked' route and
Russ caught up again and they settled down to run the rest of the
Meanwhile Steve was taking it easy about 20 minutes behind and
slowly closing the gap as he gradually overtook people. By the end
Paul and Russ finished just over 10 hours together in 11th place
with Steve just 10 minutes and 5 places behind. A tough but greatly
enjoyable day out. Surprisingly muddy and slippery on the moors.
A good one to tick early in the year and great to see Paul back
out racing again.
2012 season started with two events on the same day. Russ travelled
up to Hathersage in the Peak District for the second round of the
Dark and White mini-mountain marathon series while Ben and Sabs
headed across to the Quantocks for the next in the Haglofs Open
5 series with an eye to maintaining their lead position in the series.
It was a glorious day across the country, seeing good turn outs
for both events. Most of the main adventure racers had made their
way across to the Open 5 but Russ was to have competition against
a former rival dating back as far as the ACE Race 2-day events in
the form of Phil Scarf and his teammate. The Dark and White 3 hour
format is a foot based score event sticking mostly to rights of
way so with the easy navigation attracts a strong field of local
fell runners too. Surprisingly for a 3 hour event using a 1:25 000
map, just a single A4 sheet was used but the network of tracks above
Hathersage to Stanage edge and beyond was enough to keep everyone
busy for 3 hours with the winner just clearing the course with a
few minutes to spare. Phil Scarf came out the victor to take second
place in the M40 class edging Russ into 3rd place by just 5 points.
The Quantock hills proved to be just as much a battleground with
the 5 hour format of foot and mountain bike. Despite an unfortunate
choice of control by Ben and Sabs which cost them a lot of time,
partly due to the recent wet weather, they had a good run leg and
were consistent in the remainder of the biking to settle for second
place in the mixed pairs, retaining their lead in the Series.