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Storm the ‘Scarpment 2014

Event:

Storm The ‘Scarpment – 2014

Host Site:

Kelso Conservation, Milton, ON

Storm the ‘Scarpment is one of four events in the ‘Storm” racing series. It offers a unique racing experience based on its format and is the final event of the Storm racing calendar.

The format of the race is as follows;

  • Team formats:
    • Solo racer
    • Pairs tag team (2 people tag off for each lap, one racer on course at a time)
    • Pairs (two people compete together, always remain together)
    • Team of four tag teams (two racers on course together, tag off each lap)
  • Race format:
    • Complete as many laps as possible in 8 hours. Each lap consists of:
      • 7km Mountain Bike loop
      • 3km trail run loop
      • 1km paddle loop
    • Fully marked course, no navigation needed.
    • No one can begin a lap after the 7 hour mark.
    • You must complete your final lap before 8 hours is up for that lap to count.

I competed in the solo racer category, which meant I was in for a solid 8 hour non-stop grind! I say it was a grind purely because of the weather conditions. The day before had seen substantial rain fall in the Milton area, and the morning of the race was overcast, sporadic drizzles, and very chilly! Setting up my food cooler in the transition zone I was wishing I had brought some extra layers of racing gear as everyone was chilled to the bone!

The race began with a short run to collect three different coloured flags, this took about 15 minutes and was designed to stretch the field of racers out somewhat before we all headed out onto the first bike loop. Some of the bike trail was single track and having a mass of bikes squeeze into those trails would have been troublesome, especially with the wet, muddy, slippery conditions.

Despite this initial run start there was plenty of passing required on the first bike loop as people came to terms with the conditions. There were some very tentative bikers on the trails which slowed me down somewhat, but in fairness, we were all seeing what pace the trails would allow.

The first bike loop was done and onto the initial trail run section. The trail was great, rolling hills but nothing too harsh, with one exception! The transition zone was located at the quarry inside the Kelso Conservation site. Anyone who has been there knows this sits down inside a large bowl shaped area and as such, in order to get to the trail one must ‘climb’ the very steep quarry wall. What with all the rain and the long grass/brush this made the first trip up the ‘wall’ extremely slippery! (A rope was installed on subsequent laps to assist people in getting up this tricky section). A nice little leg burner right before you set off on your 3km loop! The end of the run setion had a small but fun obstacle course with over/under/through style obstacles (military style nets, etc). The paddle loop was a great chance to rest the legs before crossing the finish line, albeit it was only about 9 minutes to complete.

Each lap was the same format, so I won’t go into detail about them. However, the weather had a real effect on the course as the day progressed. The rain came down hardest during my second lap and as such this was one of my slowest bike sections. The trail was turning into a mud puddle in parts, each and every turn required you to brake hard, carry very little speed through the corner and then accelerate out hard with lots of wheel slip. This quickly sapped a lot of energy out of peoples legs! The sun came out later in the day and by my fourth lap the trail was actually beginning to get dried up in parts. Only for the rain to return on my 5th lap and then really soak the course again on my 6th and final lap. The weather had little to no effect on the run and paddle sections.

Overall it was an enjoyable and challenging day. The race was expertly organised and I would recommend it to anyone looking to challenge themselves in a non-navigational format. As mentioned I completed 6 laps in total and was very happy with my performance.

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