Day three started with a beautiful 20km run up from Kirby Stephen to the top of Nine Standards and following the summer route down to Keld. As a Yorkshire lass, the gentle gradient and peat bog suited me perfectly after two hard Lakeland fell days and David and I blasted to the top in an hour and a minute overtaking Team FTOD on the way.
The descent off the tops was super fun for those familiar with peat bog running and I only came a cropper once landing up to my waist in one well disguised hole. We had hoped to catch up with Castleberg on the way down, but they were nowhere to be seen and we assumed that their superior running skills had meant they were even quicker.
Coming into Keld, we found out, however, that Castleberg had not yet come into transition! They must have taken a slightly different line and we had passed them on the way! David quickly swapped to his biking shoes and clung to Jack’s back wheel as Jack the biking machine took the lead on the following MTB stage to Castle Bolton. Having done this stage two years ago I know there is a good hike a bike section as well as a rocky descent so David had all of Jack and my respect for riding it on a cross bike. In the meantime I was placing my faith in the sat nav and moving the kit the next transition.
The problem with putting bikes on top of a 4×4 when you are only 5’7 is that getting them back off again is a bit of a logistical challenge. Fortunately, some fellow racers came to my help and it was with great relief that I could stop bridging the car door frame to try and reach the clamps.
Our fastest transition to date followed as the boys came swooping into transition, Jack picked up a couple of gels and the two of us set off for the final 50km road bike to Northallerton. Now I’d never ridden the borrowed cross bike before so was a little nervous as we set off, but soon got into the swing of it and the two of us had an absolute scream on this section, taking it in turns to draft one another to keep the pace moving we flew over the moorland roads with carpets of heather on either side of the road.
It felt like we were eating the miles up and fuelled by more gels than my tummy could cope with we pushed on, catching teams as we went. In my head I had the words of Tom Gibbs from Team Adidas in my head. I’d spoken to him at the end of paddling Ullswater and he’d advised me that I should go as fast as I could, and when it felt like I was getting tired, go up a gear and peddle even harder. It seemed to work -we rode with Eddie Winthorpe of Sleepmonsters.co.uk for a while who pronounced that we were ‘going like a train!’ and boy it felt like it.
I was super chuffed when we crossed the finish line of day three after 5 hours and 21 minutes – the last 50km had taken us 90 minutes exactly. Once again, I reaffirmed that I’m a day three girl!
In the meantime, David was busy enjoying beans on toast and making the most of the heated seats in the team vehicle. He was more than a little surprised was he to find that we’d been in Northallerton for over an hour before he showed up – I think I was too! Race analysis showed that we were once again back in third place and had increased our lead over the teams behind us. It was clear that Teams Adidas Terrex and Accelerate would be battling it out for first and second place on the final day, and that we were going to have to keep our wits about us to defend our position in third over Teams FTOD, Castleberg and Dutch Courage.
Here’s a short video of Day Three:
The final day was soon upon us and it was clear that things were still to play for in all fields. In the teams, Teams Adidas Terrex had struggled to keep up with Team Accelerate on the run stages who now had a comfortable lead, but it was clear that James Cracknall, Bruce Duncan and Nicola McCloud were not going to roll over and give up at this point, as was made clear as David and I ploughed on over Carlton Bank on a glorious hazy sunny morning hunting down Team FTOD infront, and with team Adidas Terrex fast approaching from behind.
The decent off Carlton Bank is brutal on the knees after four days of hard running – almost the entire track is paved with stone slabs, followed by a steep 800m descent down the road into transition where Jack was waiting with the bikes.
Less than two minutes later and the boys were heading back up the steep sides of Carlton Bank for an off road 30km blast over the north Yorkshire moors to the tiny hamlet of Glaisdale.
Here, Jack and I took on the final bike stage to Robin Hood’s Bay completing the last 30km in an hour and a minute, despite me plowing into a gate at the bottom of an off road descent. (pesky cross bike brakes!).
The final 500m was a sprint finish on foot for the team together by the shore line.
23 hours and 27 minutes in total, and third place for the team. A result we were more than pleased with.
I would like to thank my fantastic team mates Jack Venner and David Hetherington, as well as Iain Hetherington for his invaluable help on day’s one and two with logistics and support without which we would have been unable to compete as we did. I would also like to thank Open Adventure and all the marshalls, and all the participants who were so friendly and supportive throughout the event – it really was appreciated. Thanks you also to James Kirby Photography, Stuart Hale of Team Accelerate and Charlotte Hatersley for the photos. Finally the team would like to say a big thank you to Berghaus for all the fantastic kit they supplied for the race.
More details of the race results and photos from the event can be found at www.adidas-ar.com . The event runs every two years and is open to all from those just wanting to enjoy the journey across the country to international racers. If the photos have inspired you, take a look at the website and give 2013 a go!
The race will be televised later in the year on Channel Four.
Here’s a short video of Day Four: