Neil reports: Simon came up with the idea of entering a team adventure race a few months ago and Jill and I stupidly agreed. The race was Trailplus’ Porridgepot or Bust in Pirbright and involved an unknown combination of trail running, mountain biking and Kayaking (triathlon obviously usually involves a swimming stage, but this was January after all!).
So the MTB’s were dusted off (and borrowed from my wife in Jill’s case!) and a kayaking lesson was hastily organised as none of us had ever been near such a thing before.
Something like 150 teams of three turned up on a very cold but sunny day and not having done this before we were optimistic but hesitant. The format was announced to be Run; Bike; Run; Paddle; Run, then a little obstacle course before the finish. But they weren’t saying how far each stage was!
The first run through the woods was exuberant and muddy but was dispatched strongly and we came into transition in about 5th nicely warmed up. A quick change of shoes and on with helmets and we were off on the mountain bike stage, two laps through the woods. Jill on her fourth ever MTB ride was impressing everyone with her natural ability. There were plenty of good descents to make it challenging technically and loads of steep climbs to separate the men/women from the boys/girls. We were soon lapping some of the slower teams over the hard frozen ground.
Once back again into transition it was back on with the running shoes and off through the woods for another couple of miles to the kayaking stage. We made up a place or two on this run that we had lost on the bikes but once at the kayaks it was evident that the boats were entirely different to what we had practised with! We somehow managed to not get too wet to our amazement but Simon managed to whack me on the back of the head with his paddle and it was a bit comedic how circuitous our route was down the narrow canal.
One of the trailing teams caught us up here and made a snide comment on how we must have travelled twice as far as everyone else but we soon shut him up by pounding off onto the run home leaving them in our dust. Predictably I managed to take the team the wrong way but fortunately we didn’t lose any places; I also lost my shoe in deep mud and at one point Jill practically flew over the stream crossing clearly recalling her heptathlon history.
Tired as we were we still had to complete three obstacles. A plank walk (don’t ask!), a cargo net and a high, slippery wall but once done we crossed the line jubilant having had a great day and some real laughs.
2 hours 14mins got us 8th overall and the prize for first mixed team (and armfuls of goodies as prizes!).