Monday, 3 June 2013

Team Haglofs-Silva 2nd at the Open 2 Day

Thanks to James Kirby for some ace pictures this weekend! Running of Helm Crag

What a couple of weekends racing! Two weeks ago I was on Jura for the fell race. If I showed you this:
 I would forgive you for thinking that's the race profile. Not a bad route! However that isn't even half of it....the actual race profile looks like this:
The climbs are steap, the terrain rough, the race long - all things that should play to my strengths. Unfortunately the pollen was also high and we camped the night before. Around the 2km marker my lungs were feeling it a 5km I'd put it down to the start being 11km  I knew it wasn't and that my asthma was bad but I was in 4th! 15km I accepted this fact and was no longer in 4th however by this point I was in the middle of nowhere with the best route back being the race route. So a very very very slow walk got me over the paps, losing oodles of time and places but eventually I made it back. All I can say is, if you ever get the chance to sit on one of the paps and look at what you've just run down, do it, it looks mental!

Thus started the recovery - 6 days and counting to the open 2 day. By Tuesday I wasn't optimistic, walking to uni and back was an expedition in intself. By Wednesday there was a glimmer of hope, but it wasn't until Thursday I could breathe a deep sigh of relief that my lungs had stopped burning and whoever it was had stopped sitting on my chest! A bit of a test run on Friday morning and although not tip top I could at least run - a good start!

So, off to the lakes for the open 2 day, I was racing with Bruce Duncan, Tim Higginbottom and Chris Near as Team Haglofs-Silva.
The race had a fast a furious format, there were five stages, each separated by a couple of hours so you could try and stuff some Wilfs chilli into you and maybe get changed (although there was no time for changing if you took as long to eat as I did...). Stage one was a score format - we had two hours and were presented with a map scattered with checkpoints, each with a set number of points. The aim was to get as many points as you could in the two hours, the big question though, could we get them all. Well, we thought so!
From Easdale tarn we took in the sights of Castle How, Stickle Tarn, Seargent Man, Codale Tarn and Helm Crag (among others)...although I think the rest of the team took in more of the sights as I spent a large portion of this staring at Tim's shoes as he towed me along. He had gone to great lengths to make sure he was wearing one of every colour in the new Haglofs Monochrome range....
Tim's shoes, unfortunately you can't see his pink bumbag on this picture
 We stormed round the course picking up all of the checkpoints and arriving back almost 3 minutes early taking the lead, with Team Mountain Hardwear and Adidas Terrex hot on our heals. Best of all no major asthma attack - good work lungs!

The next stage was a similar format, 5hours score course on mountain bikes, and this is where the race started to hot up. This time there was no question of clearing the course so some tactics were required. Our route was a loop with some awesome descents, visiting Chapel Stile, Little Langdale, and Wray Castle then heading through the forests to the ferry port where we had just enough time to get an ice cream before jumping on the ferry across to Windermere. From there it was up up up onto the fells, over to Troutbeck and back to Rydal via a bit of a time trial along the road to pick up a control we'd discarded earlier. This wasn't the smoothest of stages, I lost a bolt out of the cleat on my shoe so every time I stopped I had to realign it and clip in...then the shoe would wobble all over the place giving my lower back a good workout... I also inadvertantly let go of the bike tow at full stretch which Bruce definitely knew about, oops... and Tim got a puncture on an excellent bit of downhill near Troutbeck, attempt one of sealing it failed so out with the inner tube. We still got a decent score but Mountain Hardwear took the lead, we were now in second, trailing by 20 points, with Adidas Terrex only 1 point behind us!

Don't let go of a bike tow at full stretch...
Into the night, the sun set, the silva runner 550 torches came out, again we had a tactical decision to make as 90minutes was not enough to clear the course.The 'safe' option was obvious...but safe is never fun right? We hit this one hard, commiting to climbing loughrigg twice (not many people bothered with this). Given the cooler air and lack of pollen my lungs felt like a completely new pair! I love a bit of night running and we soared round, getting back in 1hr28 mins, perfect!

End of the night run

Adidas Terrex also hit this one hard hoping to claw back that one point, but didn't make it back on time. All change in the leaderboard with us taking the lead, 16 points ahead of Mountain Hardwear with Adidas Terrex in 3rd.

Sunday started with Stage 4 which was a little different to the rest of the event, a 'trail run' which was essentially the fairfield horseshoe. 500points to the winner, then 5 points lost for every minute, or part of a minute, you were behind the winner. The plan was simple, take it out fast and try and secure a few more points lead before the kayak which was definitely not our strongest discipline.

Start of the Fairfield Horseshoe
 Within the first few minutes it became clear that Mountain Hardwear also considered this to be the crux of the race, as Kim came past, panting hard and pulling Sally up the hill. Closely following was Stuart towing Alex up the hill! Now we knew we were in for a tough run. Apparently Kim kept that effort on all the way to the top and I can well believe it as, even with Tim and Chris both towning me at the same time we reached the summit 6minutes down, not ideal. I did however get a spot prize and a new nickname 'slingshot Harris' for this effort. Now came the most exciting part of the race so far - catching Mountain Hardwear on the descent....or trying anyway.

Off up to Fairfield, Mountain Hardware a switchback ahead

This meant I stayed on Tim's tow down the hill as well. Apparently Tim was running pretty much as fast as possible and just waiting for the tug to come on the tow as I hit the deck! Fortunately that didn't happen and we clawed back about 3minutes on the descent. It all came down to the exact times, as long as we were only 3 minutes down we would enter the paddle on even terms.....we were 9seconds over only taking the 3minutes of penalty!! So Mountain Hardwear went into the paddle with a 4 point advantage.Boy this was nail biting!

 I'll quickly add an aside here. When I saw the time for Fairfield I was pretty pleased, 1hr37! That would have had me in 5th in the English Champs race (so if I could just take Tim and Chris with me fell running that would be great). Even more impressive was Sally and Mountain Hardwear getting round in 1hr33 which would have been 3rd! Achieving those times after 8.5hours of racing, I think this was the most impressive stage of the whole race.

Into the boats, we set off 4mins behind Mountain Hardwear, back to the score system with 2hours to paddle. We put everything into this, going for clearing the course as we could see them doing just ahead of us. Both teams cleared the course and both teams arrived back over the two hour time limit so time penalties would apply....predictably, mountain hardwear had been faster however. They got back 8minutes faster than we did, securing the win. It was an excellent race and fantastic to have such hot competition! I'm already looking forward to the next 2 day event on the first weekend in July in Wales.


  1. Hi Lucy, well done!

    When you say you were slow eating - is that because you were doing a lot of talking at the same time, by any chance?! :-)

    By the way, I've been reliably informed that bottle cage bolts and disc rotor bolts are the same thread size as a cleat and can be used as stand-ins - though I've not tried it myself and wonder if the head is flat enough?

    Cool how you made it to some of the cover photos :-)

  2. Hey,

    Thanks Rosemary, have currently removed a bolt from my road shoe...who needs them anyway :-P

    Slow eating, well, talking might have had something to do with it, but I don't think my stomach would take food much faster! Getting some good eating training in now though :-)

  3. This whole post makes me smile :)