Posted by: Bruce Duncan | December 9, 2009

Road Trip and Helly Hansen Race

So i’ve been on a wee road trip the last 10 days.  I headed south after my weekend in Scotland and went to Wales to see some friends, John Laughlin and his wife Hester for a few days, it was great, we did some training, had some great banter, and chilled out while John studied for his medical exams!

I then headed to London to Nick Gracie’s house to see his family for a few days, it was good to catch up and chat about the past few months, and what lies ahead, sadly Nick was ill so we couldn’t get out and train though.  I did catch up with some other good friends, but as is usually the case for London, didn’t see everyone i had planned to.

Sunday i took part in the Helly Hansen race at Hawley Lake just near Camberly.  It was a big race, 350 teams of 3 people.  We had 2 teams entered, and up until about 30mins to go we still didn’t know who would do what.  So in the end Tom Gibbs, Paul Pickering (a last minute replacement for Nick Gracie) and myself ran as a male 3, and Nic MacLeod, Mark Humphrey and Howard Lowe raced as a mixed 3.

We didn’t know what to expect, Tom was still very tired from his World Champs efforts, as was Paul, and i was keen to race fast!  We set off at a good pace, and soon had loads of keen beans running past us on a nice track. but then we hit some soft woodland, and we flew past everyone, being able to run on uneven ground and slippery surfaces really is a skill you don’t realise till you see tarmac runners try it!  We came in in a good position on the run, and after a very speedy transition we were out 3rd on the bikes.  A fast 15km loop through some great singletrack and very wet tracks saw us return in 1st place, having passed VO2 who were replacing a punture!  It was so muddy and wet we were totally covered.

The transition to kayaks consisted of us dumping bikes and running in all bike kit, helmets included into the kayak.  A very short paddle and we were off the water almost before the next team arrived.  Back onto the bikes, and after over 1000 people had gone round the bike loop it was very deep sludgy mud!  We lapped hundreds of people, zooming past many like they were standing still (many were!).  Some people were shocked that we were already on lap 2, others were not so helpful in moving out of the way, but we squeezed past and got round in a good time.

Setting off on the run we knew we couldn’t ease up at all, and we pushed it at a similar pace to the first loop, coming into the obstacles area before even any marshalls!  We were good boys and did all the challenges and left before the next team arrived, a great sign on such a fast race.

Clambering over the slippery wall to finish in a time of 2hrs 18mins we were very happy, muddy and exhausted.  We had raced really well together, and were pleasantly suprised at our result.  VO2 finished over 5 mins behind us, so a comfortable victory.

Once finished we laughed at how muddy we were and washed both ourselves and our bikes in the lake and headed to the pub after the prize giving for a wee team social. The guys in the mixed team finished just behind For Goodness Shakes, so sadly missed out on the prizes.

It was a great race, good to win and continue the 100% winning streak Tom and myself have when racing together!  Meeting up and chatting with friends was great too, and it was fantastic to see my friends Claire, Alison and Hayley racing and finishing the whole race in a time of about 5hrs, they were shattered but i think they did enjoy some of it, and i was very proud to see them finish the whole thing.

Back home now in Keswick where it is raining again!


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