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The Accelerace Extreme race report!

 
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flyingelephant




Joined: 22 Mar 2004
Posts: 5370
Location: Deepest Darkest Devon / Kn0b freezing Norway

PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 1:05 am    Post subject: The Accelerace Extreme race report! Reply with quote

Friday: Wife asks if I'll be back before lunch after the race. I laughed and said meet me at the country park at about 3:30-4:00 pm. She then laughed. She thought it was just a little jolly around Teignmouth.
Saturday: Woke up and thanked whoever is in charge of weather that the skies were clear with no wind. Arrived at Teignmouth at about 7:15 to the sun rising above the flat sea giving some warmth t0 the clear chilly morning. We all chatted, signed in, racked our bikes, had the race briefing and squeezed into our wetsuits.
Nice sandy beach with a little ankle snapper shore break and a smooth calm sea. Had a little warm up swim and the water was almost tropical.
We were brought to order and assembled at the top of the beach between the flags for the running start. All the spectators and race crew lined up on the promenade for a grandstand view with the bemused dog walkers and morning newspaper buyers.
The whistle was blown and we ran into the sea and swam off into the sunrise. A little banging around initially as we all found our spots of clear water and feet to follow. We swam out to the first bouy and watched the sandy sea floor slowly disapear in the crystal clear water and settled into the rythem. Around the bouy and off along for the 1km section to the turnaround bouy and big boat the organisers had put there. Here we do a 180 degree turn and retrace our strokes back to the beach for another 1km. Jogged out the water just as my shoulders were starting to feel the swimming effort and jogged up the beach and into T1 to find a fair few bikes still racked.
The bikes that were to be raced varied hugely. From a mtb with slicks to a pure TT bike. Triple chainsets, compacts to straight road racing setups. Some expensive carbon bikes to older nicely worn in bikes.
The sun by now had removed any night chill from the air and things were now warming up nicely. T1 went well and we were on our way out of Teignmouth with the first climb. A small taster of what was to come. Once the climb was done it was a case of riding the undulating coastal road around to Starcross while taking on the first of the fueling before the next big long climb from the coast up Halden hill and past Exeter horse racing course. This climb starts off Ok but steepens as you go until you are checking your gears to see if you have any left. Here is where you find out if the choice of gears and bike is the right one for the course. And we are not even on Dartmoor yet! We hit the first downhill now where there is a chance for some serious speed. All the downhills are challenging on this course so your fingures are never too far from the brakes as the cornes can be sharp and a little bumpy. On this first down hill firstly a cat tried to run under my front wheel, then a rabbit made a bolt for it and was so close that I checked to see if I had winged it and finally a squirrel decided to join in the fun too. Fortunatly they all made it and no other animals risked it for the rest of the day. The sheep on the moors just sit on the road and watch you go round them. Now we are in Chudleigh and about to start the undulating ride up the Teign valley. A very populer ride for alot of local cyclists and a few older roadies were overtaken as they cruised along this road. This was the next chance to take on a bit of food before the climb over the top and into Moretonhampstead. Another longish climb with some false tops and steeper sections closer to the top but we were still relativly fresh at this point.
Through Moretonhampstead and a bit of courier style weeving through the local trafic blockage as cars tried to pass each other down the narrow street, and then off to discover the moors. A couple of short sharp climbs that make you work the gears and stand up for the occasion and a downhill were you could relax into the tribars at last. The feed station, a wave and another more evil climb as the moors start to make their presence known. Over a cattle grid and more climbing into the national park. Thankfully the skies were blue, the sun warm and no wind. Perfect! Once up on the moors the road goes gently up and down (camparativly), but mainly up as you cycle over the tops with some amazing views. The trees and streams having been left down in the lowlands. Passed the Extreme medic doing a good turn and pulling a car out of a ditch in his 4x4. Then it was passed all the drinkers at the Warren House Inn and another chance to eat something as the heart rate momentarily came under control again. From here you start the up/down descent turning left before Princetown (can't say I saw the prison) and more up and downs before a steep and very tricky downhill passed pixie land and into Dartmeet, over the narrow bridge, cattle grid and then the very, very steep and relentless climb up the other side. Here you could see various other competitors weeving around the road at about 1/2 mph gurning their way up on tired legs, standing and sitting banging on the gear shifter in desperation for another gear to be magically there. If you were in danger of bonking, this is where it would take you over the limit. I think this climb is now remembered in everyones nightmares. If you are thinking of this race for next year, a 25 or 26 on the back would be a good idea if you have good legs, although it is do-able on a knee popping/thigh exploding 23. A bit of soft pedalling at the top for recovery and some more food as you take on some more twisty undulating roads with a very tricky damp/bumpy steep left hander where my tyres without warning started to slip out from under me. A quick lift off the brakes and turn into the slide brought me under control, but on the wrong side of the road (gulp) and then past another Pub with more drinkers and lunchers enjoying the sun and relaxing day.
Another fast descent and then the last climb as we get closer to the country park with the legs starting to scream 'give us a break' A great downhill with lovely carving turns, over a long narrow bridge barging past a confused car and then trying to recover the beat up legs before T2, but there was no hope of that as the road still has little climbs to break up any rythem.
T2. A few of us are in there together as our bikes are taken off us by the ever helpfull race crew. Runing shoes on, gels loaded and off we go. Glad that all the bike climbing is over, only to be greated by a slow incline through the woods and along the river. The legs however were enjoying the change in format as I gently warmed and adjusted into the run. There is no chance to get mentally bored in this race. You have to stay alert and on the ball or you will crash, fall over and miss the amazing scenery. All goes well on the run, jogging along and pushing yourself up the hills thinking all is great. After 4 miles you reach the drinks station, smilling faces and a warm welcome again and then a few more sharp little climbs along the single track by the river until you turn off and are faced with the stagger up skywards to join the 2 moors way over the tops of the tors. The legs are really beaten up and screaming for mercy and every incline is harder and harder. (yes I did walk up some of the steep bits). This is where the stronger runners start to get their own back on the stronger cyclists. As you reach the top of the course a very welcome sight appears. A drinks station. The sun was still out, and there was still no wind, Ideal conditions as it was not too hot. Stopped for a few drinks, and a very quick chat and took a banana for the jolly run down into the valley. The legs were so out of it that going downhill was not as easy as I thought, having to go slower than usual to try and keep some control. A pleasurable continous run back to the first drinks station for another welcome drink and it was off for the final 4 miles to the finish. The legs holding out just long enough to reach the end.
How tough was it? Very intense, no letup or time to relax and regain composure after a harder effort. The legs get very beatup and there is no chance to just cruise in a rythum. Harder than Ironman? It might be shorter, but its far more intence. Look at the times and remember the race conditions were perfect! My wife said she noticed that the finishers were looking more waisted than on any other race she has seen. Most ironman races you have a chance of finding your zone and just pound out the miles, including IMUK. Not so in this race, it takes you out of your zone and beyond. My heartrate was consistently higher than I would otherwise race at. Finding places to eat some food prooved dificult and I would recomend either riding, driving the course or studying the map and contours for areas where you know you can open your energy bars and eat them.
Am I going to do it next year? Too right I am.
Should you do it? Yes. It's worth the effort and more, much more. Far more entertaining and challenging than the Vitruvian.
A big thankyou has to go out to all those who set this race up, and made it a reality. The reception and enthusiasm of the race crew all through the event was first rate and nothing was too much trouble.
A grand day out was had by one and all. Cheers.

Read the Accelerace race report about the guy who borrowed a bike from a unkown local in Moretonhampstead when he had blown both his wheel rims off.
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Toyota_Crown




Joined: 07 Mar 2005
Posts: 15893
Location: Lincoln / Scarborough (Algerino-Land) / Fircombe-on-Sea. sandbagging for daveM

PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very Happy

At last.

Well done FE.
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cog20




Joined: 17 Feb 2006
Posts: 53

PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great report - really glad you enjoyed yourself - I think the shots of the various comatose finishers says a lot for how tough this event truly is. As you say, the course doesn't really let up for almost the full distance - it's a real challenge. And that climb out of Dartmeet really is a killer - check http://www.climbbybike.com/climbs_selection.asp?MountainID=7365&Mountainname=Dartmeet for both the climb and subsequent descent profiles (the 5,389th toughest climb in Europe sort of makes it sound a bit puny! But after almost 50 miles and the better part of 6,000ft of climbing, it's a different proposition - see http://www.accelerace.co.uk/tribike - it's that innocuous looking lump just before the 50mile marker).

As organisers we were really happy to see so many proud finishers, and just have to congratulate you all - there were some really good performances throughout the field. And I appreciate the bolded 180 degree turn!

Above all, really pleased you 'enjoyed' the course - that's where so much of the effort of putting our events together goes that it's really gratifying when it comes together.

Congratulations again, and we're really looking forward to next year already (now we have a finishing time for people to beat!) - would be great to see you there again.

Bring on the other reports!
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crazybus




Joined: 05 Sep 2007
Posts: 127
Location: Firmly ensconced in the E. Midlands

PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great report FE. Nice to have it all brought back to life again.

Agree hearitly with your comments on the 26T. A lesson learned hard - my 21 (or rather my legs on a 21T) proved to be a bit of an embarassment to say the least.

I too found the hear rate considerably higher than I could ever persuade it to operate on the IM which was interesting.

So who's up for the equally evil Accelerace Winter Death Camp (Sorry, Training Camp) then?




For legal purposes this comment is not intended to indicate a willigness to participate in said Death Camp, rather an overt pronouncement of vocal avoidance of what I know would be good for me. We shall see.
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Toby_W




Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 164
Location: Bristol

PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was one of the badtri ers and it was great to have nice weather this year and meet so many smiley cheerful people the morning of the race.

Sadly I'd hurt my ankles so couldn't run but the swim was lovely and warm and the bike divine.

My profile from the bike puter.

http://people.bath.ac.uk/tw236/Accelerace.htm

Hopefully see you next year with similar weather.

Cheers

Toby
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Toby_W




Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 164
Location: Bristol

PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I should just add I'm not some sort of mutant, the speed on the graph is km/hr despite being labelled mph.

Cheers

Toby
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PD




Joined: 06 May 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Toby W - I remember talking to you in T2. I followed your lead by having a bit of a rest and composing myself before the run then you told me you'd finished!!

A wise choice! 6 miles into the run and i was finished too!
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Toby_W




Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 164
Location: Bristol

PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd have loved to run but

a) I'd have died a lot before 6 miles
b) I'd probably be broken even more now.

It was the most laid back transition I've seen, people rolled in, had a sit down, had a drink, asked where the toilets were wandered back... I could then see them thinking, right I've put this off for as long as possible, which way do I run?

See you next time.

Cheers

Toby
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