Race report from the 2013 Tri Adventure fun event.
Location: Swinley Forest, Camberley, Surrey
Events: Trail & Sprint
Date: Sunday 19th January
The morning of Tri-Adventure’s first Trail and Sprint of the 2013 season dawned with spectacular beauty, a glistening blanket of crisp white snow decorated the already beautiful Swinley Forest.
After much feedback the decision was made to move the first event of the season forward to January (to kick-start the January fitness drive), record numbers signed up and our dedicated adventure racers battled through snow and ice to make the event!
The snow, whilst beautiful, does create some challenging conditions for both the run and the bike – this coupled with the infamously difficult to navigate maze of pathways in Swinley Forest made this event one to remember…
The brave competitors were rewarded for braving the cold conditions with free tea, coffee and biscuits whilst they strategized with their maps. Dave Rollins (GB orienteering coach) and the friendly Tri-Adventure team were on hand to offer advice and strategy tips to the many first timers who’d come along. Given the snowy conditions a race briefing with heavy emphasis on health and safety issues was given, ensuring racers had tips on how to run and bike safely in the snow, had extra clothing and had their mobile phones. Gil Cramer from ‘Fit Concepts’ kindly ran a pre-event warm up session, getting everyone stretched and limbered up.
The claxon sounded at 10am, the mass start on foot all headed off into the snow, soon disappearing from site and into their adventure. As usual not everyone took the same route, groups took different routes into the forest, some striving to hit the farthest checkpoints on the 12km run and others being slightly more cautious and off to the nearest. One thing was for sure, careful footing and good navigational skills would be needed, the normally easy to see bridalways and ruts in the ground were covered in 3inches of snow!
Transition onto the bike showed how tough and cold the course was, expert navigator Dave Rollins said, “racers left it very late to transition onto the bike, sensibly planning to do the majority of the race on foot which is a little more predictable than the bike in snowy conditions. Every layer of clothing was thrown on before they headed off on the bike, the already cold conditions would be magnified by the wind chill so extra layers are essential.” Racers later spoke about the difficulty of surface transitions on the bike, going from wet tarmac to deep snow and often not knowing what’s under tyre – you could transition between three different surfaces within five minutes each needing different technique. A physically and mentally draining ride for sure!
A few racers made it back a little early, most on the two-hour time limit; nobody was keen to stay out in the cold for longer than needed. As racers finished there was a common theme, grins like Cheshire cats and lots of “that was so fun”, “loved it – snow was so beautiful”, it had been hard but also exhilaratingly!
The warm welcoming hall of Tri-Adventure HQ was a welcome haven for the finishers, hot showers, body massage and hot drinks with cake were waiting for all as they crossed the finish line. The warmth and refreshments were enjoyed as everybody dibbed in and all awaited the prize giving…
1st Stephen Dadswell
2nd Isaac Griffiths
1st Carol Yarrow
2nd Carys Holloway
3rd Julie Jefferies
Male: Zbynek Simcik
Female: Georgina Little
Our next Trail and Sprint will be on the 17th February in Swinley Forest, for more information visit www.triadventure.co.uk/next-race