The results of the experiment

The Open12 is billed as a 12hr race but the fun actually started on the Saturday afternoon with a 6pm eyeballs out prologue that saw teams pelting round the Coed Llangdegla blue trail at minute intervals. Not necessarily the best way to 'warm up' for an endurance event but a lot of fun all the same. We missed getting in the second round by about 30seconds but that's probably for the best as it gave us more time to rest for the later stages, rather than going around again to scoop only a few extra points.

The race proper started for us at 12.42am, setting off on the bikes to head out on an anticlockwise race route. I've been to North Wales before but never Llangdegla or the surrounding area. Who could have imagined so many hills? Just when you think it's all over, they throw some more at you .

The highs of the race involved whitewater swimming (not as cold as you think!), rock climbing (choose between easy, medium and hard climbs to get extra points) and a mini-fell race with a lovely downhill section as it was starting to get daylight (around 4am by the way, not sure many of you would have noticed that!). Low points - well, I'm starting to forget them now but I rather wish I'd worn cycling shorts, given that the course ended up 80% cycling (over 100km on a mountain bike) and contained some humungous climbs.

I was slightly put out by the fact that my team mate did the entire race cycling 30m ahead of me. It felt like we were racing as two solos. The psychology of racing and motivations always really intrigues me and I'm guessing he probably thought that if he left me struggling behind (including leaving me to get completely lost in the woods at 1.30am) then I'd 'have' to go faster. Not the case!! If only he'd let me draft behind him or even given me some encouragement? Anyway, was interesting all the same! I don't think that by the end of it either of us really came out as the 'stronger' team mate. We came 8th out of 21 mixed pairs so I'm pretty pleased with that.

As to whether my 'experiment' with going harder worked - all I can say is that for the last 4hrs I went about 1/3 of the pace I was going at the start of the race and had to push up the last hill (very embarrassing!). I suspect we might have overcooked it a bit on the way out but I guess we'll never know!

PS. Well done to Suzie on her amazing West Highland Way run - 22hrs!!!


trio said…
I though adventure racing you worked to strengths, so drafting the stronger biker etc?

Sounds fun, something I want to try, but guess I should learn to climb?
Elizabeth A said…
Yep, I love the fact you can all be good at different bits of it and help your team mates with the bits they're not so great at - you even see towing on the bike stages. The idea is that you can always go faster than the speed of your slowest team member! That's the first race I've done with real climbing in it and I think for a lot of people it was their first ever climb. SO MUCH FUN!

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