2 day ACE Race Report – fast and furious:

The forecast for the weekend was bad, the weather worse. This was the last of the year?s 2 day ACE races based in the beautiful Lowther Estate near Askham on the eastern side of the Lake District.  Myself and Phil Scarf held the planetFear banner at this race running as a male pair. The event had been slightly redesigned this time with the kayaking taking place on day one as a score event.  This meant 2 hours cycling, 2.5 hours kayaking and 2.5 hours running. Things would be fast and furious.  Heading out from ACE base in the mist and drizzle the route would take us over the north end of High Street to a transition area on the shores of Ullswater.  The riding was generally good and fast with teams trying to squeeze as many points into 2 hours as possible. It was then out onto the lake in strong winds and rain.  The strongest teams would pick up all the checkpoints, but the distant 80 pointer was an extra 5 km of paddling and on our calculations would not gain us any extra points at the speed we were paddling and so had to drop it. This left plenty of time to collect the other points and so a more leisurely paddle.  Aberdeen Asset Management and the male pair of Pete Rostram and Ian Mulvey were strong completing the whole paddle within the 2.5 hours. Back at transition we shovelled food and drink before heading back across the northern end of High Street, this time on foot.  A steep climb took us onto the top and then we weaved from point to point collecting as many as possible.  The running was generally with interesting navigation.  We were with Aberdeen when they headed off down street, which to us seemed like a strange route choice.  It became clear when we later found we had missed a checkpoint when marking the map.  A manic run in brought us back a few minutes over time, but we had made up some ground on the pair infront placing us in second place.  Racing was tight at the top of the male solos and the mixed pairs with anyone able to take the lead. The 1.5 hour night navigation would be set in the Lowther Estate itself. A surprise came for us when a deer bolted out of the forest straight into Phil?s knee, concussing the deer as it landed on it?s side in the track infront of me.  Deciding I was it?s maker and was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel then jumped up and bolted off again into the undergrowth.  There were many nettle and thistle covered fields and we both regretted not wearing full length legs as we lay down trying to get to sleep with tingling legs. Day 2 dawned wet again. By now the river was the most swollen anyone had seen it for some time.  As the kayaking was on day one, we would have a 24km cycle up Loadpot Hill and back and a 20km run.  Racers were set off in reverse order with ourselves and the first placed male pair heading off together.  All they needed to do was stay with us, so the racing was fast and furious as we each tried to shake the other off.  There was lots of pushing going up the hill on the sodden tracks and then a fast descent down the other side.  At one point I was pitched over the front by a bog only to find my back wheel had fallen out.  It was neck and neck back to ACE base and seemed impossible for us to make up enough points on the run. The run was long for the second day and again around the Lowther Estate visiting some of the places we had been to in the dark the night before – it was much easier to avoid the nettles in the light.  By this time we were feeling it in our legs and were unable to catch the first placed pair, bringing us home second male pair and third overall with Aberdeen strong as ever. This was one of the toughest ACE races we have done with the short time for the cycling and running on the score events and the day 2 head to head making the pace fast and furious.  Despite the weather everyone had a good weekend.  There were hints from the organisers that things will change for the 2 day events next year.  We will wait and see??