Tom Crossland @ The Bike Fit
As I arrived in Tilford, Surrey for the Tri-Adventure 2hr Sprint adventure race I was excited to get the first race of the season under my belt and get ready for the rest of the year. My excitement was in contrast to the other member of the Bike List who was with me. It was Marlize’s first adventure race and so she was nervous. These nerves were partly due to the unknown nature of adventure racing and partly because she was returning to any kind of racing following a long time of rehab after tearing her cruciate ligament in her knee.
We parked up and went to register. As usual with the Tri-Adventure team the set up was great. We were based in Tilford village hall with free hot and cold drinks and biscuits and plenty of seating. The team from Tri-Adventure are always helpful and welcoming to old competitors who know the ropes and to new people, who they are willing to talk about strategy and routes with.
On offer that day were the options of the 4-hour experience, the 2-hour sprint and the 1-hour trail. We had chosen to do the 2-hour sprint to give Marlize an ‘easy’ introduction to adventure racing. The format for the Tri-Adventure sprints is a mass start on foot, then one transition to the bike, whilst navigating around your chosen route to as many checkpoints as you can.
Once we’d registered and got our maps we returned to the car and got our bikes and kit ready in the transition area. We then returned to the hall to plan the route for the day. At first glance there were plenty of options to make the route whatever you wanted out of the day. Dave Rollins, the Tri-Adventure route planner, seemed to have done a great job. Dave was on hand through the morning to answer questions and give advice.
We decided with Marlize’s potential knee problems to keep the run short and conservative, aiming to transition to our bike after 30-40 minutes and spend the rest of the time on the bikes.
At the briefing and warm-up all the Sprint and Trail racers lined up on the start line ready to go. At 10 am we were off. We set off running in the bright winter sunshine which lasted all morning. The run checkpoints were spread out mainly to north and west of the start/transition/finish point and were on well used bridleways and footpaths. We stuck to our plan and were back at transition after 42 minutes. We both felt good and were ready to get on our bikes.
We started off heading north on the road out of Tilford and picked up a few easy checkpoints before taking to the trails. Although there was bright sunshine over head, due to the amount of rain previously, a lot of the trails were churned up. This meant it was slow going with a few expletives and spills for Marlize, who at one point after getting stuck in a knee deep puddle of mud shouted “It’s okay, it’s when I stop shouting and there is no noise you should start to worry.”
After the fun of the muddy wood trails we headed back to the finish along sandy down land which apparently is “like riding on the beach”, collecting checkpoints as we went. We arrived back 8 minutes early, with the same feeling you always get when you finish early – could we have gone for one or two more checkpoints. But we were happy with a great morning out in Surrey countryside with good company.
Since this was Marlize’s first race I was keen to find out her opinion of adventure racing and the Tri-Adventure set up. “Everyone is really friendly and helpful, you can tell people come back time and time again, there is a real community feeling.” Would she take part again? “Definitely, I need to do some more training but I had loads of fun and would love to do another Sprint, I don’t know why I have never done this before.”
So all in all if you are new to adventure racing or more experienced and live in the South East Tri-Adventure races are well worth a go. There are a great range of races on offer, and the whole set-up is very calm and relaxing. There is always help on hand, if not from the organisers, from the other competitors.
Another great well organised race from the team at Tri-Adventure. Keep up the good work!
The Tri-Adventure Sprint combines off road running, mountain biking and navigation over a 2 hour course. These events are perfect for beginners new to adventure racing and experienced racers who want to stay sharp in the off season.
Cost: 1 hour Trail – £10, 2 hour Sprint – £25, 4 hour experience – £40
Fore more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org