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Author Topic: Open Adventure; Open 5 – Grizedale  (Read 2534 times)


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Open Adventure; Open 5 – Grizedale
« on: April 04, 2011, 10:54:02 PM »
The last race in the 2010-2011 Open 5 series (5 hours of running, mountain biking and navigation) was held in Grizedale in the Lake District at the weekend. Following good results in the last two races I was feeling optimistic and had prepared well for the event. I even went to the trouble to practice my transition a few times on Friday night - which actually paid off as I had my quickest changeover ever! I am also more familiar with the biking trails in this part of the world, having done a few other races and trips down there before. Hilly and rocky – perfect!

After a good dinner and a solid night’s sleep (thanks to my accommodating host!), we drove the short distance to the event centre just in time for the sun to come out. I collected the map, planned a likely route, laid out my gear and got started.

Everything was going well on the first part of the run. I was moving quickly between controls, checking where I was going next in advance to reduce my stopping time and generally making good progress. There were a couple of controls on the other side of the valley though, which I wasn’t sure about going for. As I approached the decision point I considered two options. Plan A: lose height, cross the valley, get the nearest control and come back. Plan B: Ignore them both, stay high and loop back collecting all the nice nearby controls on the way back to transition. I decided I should be confident and bold on the run and took the route down the hill and up the other side, collecting the first control quite quickly.

Then, for some reason, insanity took hold. I looked at the map again and bizarrely decided to implement Plan C. Plan C?! There was no plan C! But now I found myself setting off to find the second, faraway control, with a tempting 20 points. Unfortunately, the route I took involved following a wall through rough uneven forest, up and down over many lumpy bits, dodging fallen down trees and squelchy bogs on the way. I had wanted to take a risk and stretch myself (maybe this would differentiate the leaders?), but even as I made slow progress I realised the move had been a real mistake. The sinking feeling was quickly followed by a sick sense of panic which was almost harder to deal with than actually getting to the control, located in a part of the forest where the indistinct paths on the map were difficult to follow and other features became important. I finally got there and hurried back across the valley and up and over the hill to the transition area, relieved to be collecting controls again but heavy legged and knowing I had wasted a lot of time for little gain.

After a slightly shaky start on the bike (how could a bunch of about 6 of us not see the control we kept backtracking past?), I regained confidence and started enjoying the ride. As well as forest navigation tricky enough to keep the mind busy, there are some fabulous trails to be had in the area, including a most memorable one with stunning panoramic views across Coniston Water to the fells beyond. I also enjoyed the challenge of riding up some technical trails with aplomb. Sadly, due to aforementioned running Plan C, I had to cut my bike route short and still came back late (incurring penalties) – a real shame, since there were lots of points on offer and it is my stronger discipline! In retrospect, I should have been less ambitious on the run and really gone for it on the bike section. In a relatively short event like this, it is hard to recover from a significant tactical error and, in this race, I only finished 7th.

Much more positively though, I ended the overall series with third position in the female solo category (best three races count) and won the competition for top scoring female from any category across all five races – the latter attracting a handsome prize from Mountain Hardwear which easily beats all my previous race winnings put together  ;D. This was a great result for me and I hope is a good sign of things to come!

Many thanks to everyone who has supported me in any way with this series – from lifts, accommodation and meals, moral support, rides and racing advice to the all important mechanical maintenance of my poor battered bike!  Also big thanks to James Thurlow and his team at Open Adventure for putting on such a quality series.


If you’re at all interested in this sort of racing, we’re running a very similar 3hr mountain-bike only event next weekend on the Pentland Hills (Edinburgh, Sunday April 10th). Whether you’ve never done it before and are tempted to find out what it’s like, or you’re a seasoned racer, we’ve planned the course with something for everyone. Entries close on Friday, more details here:


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