Just had a weekend down in Dorset. Really excellent fun.

On the Saturday Jo and I paired up for a “Dynamic Adventure”  race. The weather was great and the terrain beautiful if a little muddy. The format is an 8 hour points based orienteering course with half the checkpoints to be done on mountain bikes and half on foot. You chose which to do first being aware that about the last hour or so will be done in the dark.

This was a training day for us so we chose to do the bike first to make it a brick session. Our plan was simple – clear the bike course and then see what we could manage on the run. Straight into a hill and it became pretty clear that we are relatively strong on the bike – shame we’re not that expert at Mountain Biking. we didn’t make any major errors other than following a load of others round a couple of fields that we didn’t need to. We managed to clear the course in about 5.5 hours despite Jo getting a puncture.

This gave us plenty of time to get a decent number of checkpoints on the run. I was feeling alot better than in the race we did in december and this really showed on the run where I felt stronger the longer we ran. Spot on with the navigation but wasted a fair bit of time trying to find the ‘obvious’ route round a farm we were meant to avoid going through. My dropping the score card didn’t help. Luckily a competitor behind us found it so we didn’t waste more than 10 or 15 minutes back tracking.

Jo made the mistake of mentioning that she was a little disappointed last time that we didn’t have to go balls out to get back within our 8 hours. So… as it got dark, the terrain got better and I felt stronger so “we” decided to a flat 2k out and back to grab an extra checkpoint. I was flying and luckily found it straight away. We now had about 12 minutes to cover 2k downhill with a small detour for a checkpoint. We were now balls out, found the checkpoint pretty smoothly, it was a matter of how late we would be. Push, push push …. it felt like sprinting though probably wasn’t. We got to the finish 2 minutes late absolutely wasted. GREAT !

Toptastic pub meal rounded it off nicely.

Sunday I got up early and did a 90 minute loop before hooking up with Jo and Morag for a longer ride. I’d borrowed a Parlee test bike from mosquito bikes and it was awesome. Throughout the ride there were times when I just had to push it as it felt so great. We had a fantastic ride aiming for Abbotsbury and the ‘big cake cafe’ I discovered when recce’ing the Ironman UK course 2 seasons ago. We got there to good news, bad news and good news (a slight variation on a theme) – good news – it was the right village and the cafe was there, bad news – it was shut, good news – there was another cafe. We all had Doreset Homity (lovely) but unfortunately the service was very slow so we were now very pushed for time and had to try and keep a decent pace.

We didn’t do too badly but the last 12 miles were a mirror of Saturday – racing to get back in the dark to minimise our time on the roads with only small LED lights. Jo did a fantastic job on the front pushing the pace along, Morag dug deep and hung on, I kept close to morags wheel as she didn’t have any lights. Aweseome day. Ended up with about 110 miles in 7.5 hours.

Before heading back to London we went for a curry. Think it’s the nicest curry I’ve had in the UK.

The big test was whether I’d be up for swimming this morning, given the late night and hard weekends training. I’ve not managed swimming following a big weekend yet this year. I’m pleased to report I did manage it ! Also I’m feeling well up for further sessions today. All excellent signs.

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