Posted by: Bruce Duncan | March 21, 2010

Helly Hansen Series Race – Cumbrian Commotion

Today saw the last in the Helly Hansen series of races, the series has been going since September and culminated in the toughest race of the series from Grizedale forest visitors centre.

Over 1000 people turned up for the race, almost a record, a lot of teams clearly making a weekend of it, there were almost as many supporters as racers, for me however it was a great race, only 45mins down the road! Although there was a mountain bike race right outside my door in Whinlatter!!

Nick had come up from London to race and to train, and Clive was over from York. We had a good day on Saturday with some kayaking on Windermere, then a relaxed afternoon with a big pre race feed.

The weather in the morning was lovely in Keswick, but as we headed south we entered the mist, it finally burnt off just after the race started. The registration and start was the usual madness, everyone queueing all over the place, getting last minute bike bits, sorting out kit in transition, and the usual teams putting war paint on for the team look!

We knew the VOtwo team would be very fast, and decided to just race our own race, if they had a shocker we would then be in the perfect position to capitalise. Heading out at the start, people set off at a fast speed, but as soon as we hit the first hill most teams dropped away, and after the 2km run leg we were comfortably in 2nd place.

The mountain bike leg was about 20km, it was mostly on fireroads, with the occasional bit of rocky singletrack which Clive and myself loved, but Nick was having an awful time, his forks had frozen on him, so he was effectively riding a rigid bike! Riding at a good fast pace we made sure we had no mechanicals or punctures and stayed the right way up on the bikes! Coming into transition we were about 5 minutes down on VOtwo.

The run to the kayak leg was tough, up and over the hill, then a long decent to Coniston Water. It was a beast of a run out, with Nick struggling on the hills and then flying on the flat, Clive and me going well on the hills and lagging behind on the flat. We reached the boats and found they were proper canadian canoes, the water was a bit choppy, but we managed to stay upright, i wonder how many teams didn’t though.

The climb back from the kayaking was really tough, but we soon seemed to be almost back at the finish. Running the last few km’s along the fire road Clive was worried about his hamstrings, but easing up slightly he was ok to the finish. The usual set of obstacles awaited us in the finish field, the planks, cargo net, and slippery slope were all completed and we crossed the line in a time of 2hrs 8mins, about 12 minutes behind VOtwo! Those guys are super fast, and took a well deserved victory.

After having some scran in the cafe and a wee chat with the FGS guys Nick and I headed toWindermere Canoe and Kayaks to get a paddle session in. We kayaked from the boat house to YMCA Lakeside and back again, a great paddle in pretty rough weather. Finally finishing a long day of exercise we went for a we road trip to see a friend, then back to drop some kit off at my dads, before eventually getting home some 12hrs after we left, a long day out in the Lakes.

It was a great weekend, and very happy to finish in 2nd place to such a good team, Clive was very happy with his condition after not racing for a while, and Nick was loving being out in the hills again. More training next week, getting ready for the next race!

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