Wednesday, May 13, 2015

RACE REPORT: Rock The Trail

We had the chance to partake in a local race just north of Uppsala and it was one we just couldn't turn down. It would include only trail running & mountain biking but both with orienteering. It also offered the opportunity to race as a duo or a team of 3 and we immediately thought of asking Niki to join us to let him see what multisport was all about.

Knowing roughly where the course was situated and that we had been in that area for RAID 2013, Niki and I (David) went exploring the week previous whilst Jon was in the USA.

We took the maps from RAID and plotted ourselves a course to follow for both running, biking and then a short run again. Great fun and very useful to refresh the orienteering skills (or lack of) prior to the event. At the very least we'd be better equipped to realise what was a fence and what was a trail this time!

I had some equipment concerns the week previous to the race with my MTB still in service (3 weeks!) and unsure if it would be fixed in time. I took up the option to borrow one from a colleague just in case but fortunately received it back on the Friday evening... just in time. However, fortunately Jon decided to change his tires the night before the race and found a broken spoke on his wheel...with the shops closed, the spare bike was needed in the end!


Race day:

The morning was cold and windy, ahh the Swedish spring! so consideration of clothing was on our minds, with the forecast predicting it to warm up slightly (it eventually turned into brilliant sunshine!) we shed layers with the hope we'd be warm quickly.... and warm we were!
The first 2 checkpoints involved descending into a quarry then up the other side, then dropping back and doing the same to the other side. High HR, burning legs and heat generation were certainly in order.
We had plotted a good course on the map and were able to make slight adjustments on the fly to make it even better. There was an opportunity at one point to cross a slack-line across the river or take a bridge which meant a longer way around. We chose with our heads and ran the extra distance which in hindsight was a great decision after looking at the pictures of others in the water or struggling across. Did not want to be wet & cold so early on.

It was soon time to swap to the bike navigation and again we had made some wise navigation choices, taking slightly longer routes but faster ones on wider tracks or even on asphalt we gained time on our competitors. Our strategy of moving smartly was paying off. We left the bikes in another quarry for a short but intense run involving yet again many vertical metres of ascent and descent.
It was at the end of this run we re-learnt an important lesson, "stay 100% focused 100% of the time". Running along the ridge of the quarry we saw a checkpoint ahead and simply assumed that was the one we were aiming was...but not in that order. There was one checkpoint prior to this one which we missed and had to go back to take it before heading back again. We lost a couple of minutes in this process and added a few hundred extra metres to the legs.
Swapped back to the bikes once again for a relatively straightforward navigation back to the finish where we still had a couple of kms to run and then tackle an obstacle course. Of course, the obstacles were the other side of the first quarry which meant some more scrabbling up and down the sides using our hands it was that steep!

We finished in glorious sunshine in 4th place, with only 36 seconds separating 2nd, 3rd & 4th place. So close!

A hugely satisfying day. Orienteering is not our strength but we made wise choices, went quickly but most of all smartly. It was fun to race together and a 4th place was above our expectations at the beginning of the day.

We'd recommend this race to anyone wanting to have some early spring fun and try out multisport. Credit to the organizers at Uppsala Multisport.

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