The inaugural iROC Adventure Race Weekend took place at Eastgate in the Durham Dales April 18 – 19, with 222 competitors battling it out at a former cement works site surrounded by a moorland.
Each of the six iROC races used the venue, as well as some of the surrounding countryside in some cases.
Continuous sunshine kept the competitors inspired, some of whom traveled from as far afield as Plymouth, Ireland and Germany. One competitor, Chris Lumb, even cycled more than 50 miles from Keswick to take part.
Saturday morning kicked off with the first race of the weekend, 15km of hilly fell running and Morgan Donnelly cruised round the course to comfortably claim first place in 01:03:07. Anna Frost was the first female back in 01:14:46 and also an impressive 13th place overall. The competitors were then able to enjoy some downtime before the first of the orienteering races, which Tim Higginbottom won in 01:02:09 (unfortunately Tim had to retire later on due to an injury) and Zoe Fleming was the first female back in 01:19:05.
“With only two of the weekend’s six races completed many of the competitors already looked tired and I was concerned that I had designed the courses to hard,” Race Director Shane Ohly told BikeRadar. “However, the philosophy of iROC was to have six individual races that only become an adventure race when competitors race each one consecutively throughout the weekend.”
As dusk fell, Race 3 — a score format orienteering race — marked the start of a very tough evening, which saw three races in quick succession, with some competitors finishing well after midnight.
Phil Winskill picked up the honours in the first race of the evening, clearing the course in a time of 00:49:28. Nicola MacLeod was the winning female with a score of 470. Half an hour later the Night MTB Time trial started with the fastest competitors from the day so far, setting out first on a very technical course that had been the main subject of conversation during the day between the competitors, who had run down it earlier that morning.
Brian Harrison completed the course in 00:27:12 to claim first place and Nicola MacLeod was the first female to finish in 00:33:45. Some very weary competitors gathered under the start/finish arch for the final race of the day at 11p.m.; the night fell race. Once again Donnelly dominated, winning in 00:45:19, with Frost finishing in 00:53:16 as the first female.
“After a full day of racing the competitors were clearly knackered and it was no surprise to find them heading back to their tents as soon as they had finished,” Ohly added. “For me and the team marshalling the event it was a real relief to have everyone back safely after such a demanding and technical day.”
Sunday morning started hazy but very soon it burnt off and the competitors enjoyed some fantastic weather for the four-hour mountain bike enduro. Once again Donnelly won, completing eight laps of the hilly and technical 15km course in 04:14:36. Nicola MacLeod was the winning female completing six laps in 04:02:29.
“iROC was a really tough race; every event was full on… I really enjoyed it though,” said Team Helly Hansen UK’s Bruce Duncan of the 1st mixed team and winner of the Patagonia Expedition Race. “A good format, very sociable, yet quality racing too. The location was perfect; brutal on the mind and body, which is good. I like events where you have to overcome the mind.”
For more information, visit www.iroc-race.com.