For the third year running I entered Hell Rider seeing as it seems to have become an annual thing I participate in. The previous two years I trained hard – doing huge amounts of work at weekends running and cycling off road around the Chiltern hills and then went to the event, drank far too much fluid and had horrendous cramp. This year I was determined to enter, do the training and manage my hydration better. Sadly not all of this was to work out – I managed not to do any training for the event at all!
This year at work has been completely mad and I have been working lots of long hours which have stopped me from doing any running in the evenings at all and often at weekends I have either been too busy or too shattered from the week to train. I have barely made it to any of the Monday night circuit classes having been unable to make it home in time and aside from cycling to and from work I managed to do 2, on road, relatively flat 5 km runs… Oh dear!
As a result, I went into Hell Rider expecting it to be a complete disaster from a fitness perspective – fortunately this year they held it at a different location which meant I wouldn’t be able to draw any direct comparisons with my effort from 2012
The Event - What is Hell Rider?
Hell Rider is an off-road duathlon held over 8 hours that can be entered as teams of 5, 3 or as an individual (I enter as an individual). The event consists of a 5 km run over hilly off-road terrain followed by a 7 km mountain bike ride over similarly challenging terrain. As a team each person goes out on a relay basis and must compete in run / cycle / run order. Individuals must run / cycle / run as well, only they don’t have anybody to relay with. The idea is to see how many laps you can complete in an 8 hour window. As long as you start within the 8 hours your final lap can be completed outside of the 8 hours.
Here is the elevation and my pace info for one of the run laps:
And one of my cycle laps (which I still don’t understand how they managed to get so much climbing into):
How Did I Get On?
This year I managed to complete 6 runs loops and 5 cycle loops in just over 8 hours (including breaks between loops) – last year I managed 6 of both. Not bad considering I didn’t do any training to speak of! All of the other competitors who took part last year all agreed that the cycle route was harder work (it was more technical throughout and harder work physically as a result). Below shows my lap times – about 7 hours of effort in total.
So, lap wise I could have done better had I trained and you can see how much I was suffering on the runs from the degradation of the lap times – the cycling I was better on which makes sense given I cycle commute. Hydration wise I did much better, only one moment of cramp in the whole day – my problem was legs manufactured from lead from lap 4 onwards – my muscles just gave in and the absence of training was really apparent on the down hills which I couldn’t run down as my muscles just wouldn’t do it.
Overall I am pretty happy with the fact I managed to keep myself going (with some encouragement from the other competitors on the day as well). Here are a couple of photos taken by the event photographers (who hardly seemed to bother, bit disappointed in that side of things really):