Isle of Purbeck

The heavens opened just as we got back to the running transition. We were positioned nicely on the top of the Purbeck ridge where the wind could blow the rain at us sideways. This was round 4 of the Quest Adventure Race Series, and the last hour and forty minutes had been painful – the run was tricky, slippy, hilly and my legs just didn’t feel like running. With hindsight, we should have cut the running leg short at CP07, but the lure of CP15 and CP11 and the sixty points they held was too much. I have some rules for these kind of events which go like this:

  1. Make a plan
  2. Stick to it
  3. Have an exit strategy just in case number one doesn’t work out…

It’s fair to say we did neither of the last two for the run and it cost us time – 20 minutes by my estimation. The result was my legs were wrecked by the time I finished and we had to compromise our bike route to make the finish on time, which more or less nulled the sixty extra points we’d worked hard for on the run.

The bike section hadn’t been easy either. We had a constant head wind, and the ground was sodden after the weeks (months?) rain. We both had tyre/ground interface problems finding little or no traction on  the chalk. The only thing that saved us was good route planning and execution that meant that we had a good points total and plenty of time as we started the run. Now those hard earnt minutes on the first bike leg were now lost after the run, and time (and strength on my part) was rapidly running out we made a dash back to the finish. We had 25 minutes left on the clock, with 7 miles left to do on the bike back to the finish. It was going to be tight, really tight. I hung on to Al’s back wheel as we blasted the road leg back to Wareham.

We swung into the finish having exceeded our 5 hour allowance by only 4 minutes. To our suprise, the points we acculumlated across each of the disciplines were sufficient to take us through the win. Possibly the hardest earnt win I’ve made in a long time, and one that I probably wouldn’t have managed without Al, who was most definitely the stronger on both bike and foot.

With Matt Morris and Barry French winning their Master’s Team category in the trio event, it was a good result for Brecon contingent last Saturday. Hopefully something we can continue in 2009.

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