12 Jan

Mountain Hardwear Series Back On Track

competitor in the Mountain Hardwear Open 5 Winter series

Over 200 people braved the icy, cold weather last weekend to take on the challenge of a 5 hour adventure race in the North Yorkshire Moors. The clear, crisp weather made for spectacular views as the racers navigated their way around the Mountain Bike and Running routes.

The event was the second race in the Mountain Hardwear Open 5 Winter series. The Open 5 races are all at different locations in the UK and competitors have 5 hours to visit as many points (controls) as they can on the map. Some controls can only be collected by mountain bike and others only by foot.

Racers and organisers were determined that this event would go ahead after having to rearrange from the original date in December when the snow stopped play. Bright sunshine and a cold wind greeted competitors as they arrived at the Sutton Bank Visitor Centre on Sunday morning.

Competitors could start anytime between 0930 and 1030 and it was not long before everyone was out on the course. Racers have to decide whether they choose to run or cycle first, playing to their strengths and then consider which checkpoints to visit in the allocated time. This is dependent on their navigational skills, fitness and bike ability, the route planning is often the key to success.

The mountain biking section of the course took cyclists up onto the escarpment and around the valleys and lanes feeding the River Rye. Cyclists had to take extra care on the icy paths, and at times it was a combination of sheer determination, riding, pushing and sliding that got cyclists back to the transition.

The run was the least icy section of the course, but made up for the lack of ice with plenty of mud! Trails meandered through the woods and up to Hood Hill where racers were greeted with incredible views from Hood Hill. Helen Jackson (Team Planet Fear) comments about the run "Great views and good weather, not too cold (unbelievably), good terrain to run on frozen paths and not too icy."

Alistair Morris (For Goodness Shakes!) was the winner in the Male Solo category with Kim Collison (Team Inov8) second; Keswick Bikes duo of Chris Hope and Andy Wrigley came first in the Male Pairs with Tim Harvey and Steve Turland (The Herbs) finishing second. Karen McDonald was top female soloist, and Helen Lambert and Barbara Lonsdale (Calder Valley) edged out Sue Booth and Louise Hanley (BeOutdoors/TTC) in the pairs. Steven Gregory and Molly Ralphson (Trawden AC) were best in the Mixed Pairs.

Event planner Andy Conn excelled himself with a fantastic distribution of well placed controls which enabled racers to see some magnificent views, experience some great mountain bike trails and running trails.

There are still another 3 races in the Mountain Hardwear, Open 5 Series, details at www.openadventure.com

  • Kirby Stephen, Northern Dales - February 6
  • Bakewell, Peak District - March 6
  • Grizedale, Lake District - Apri 3l