Published: 17th February, 2013
The Stinger 2013 - Maddie Horton
I love the Stinger. It combines my two favourite activities, and happens to be 5 miles from my house ¡V what¡¦s not to like? Due to work commitments, Jay and I have not raced since November and were both feeling a bit nervous, letting those nagging doubts about fitness creep in.
Fortunately for everyone, the sun had his hat on today, which always makes everything better, and there was a real buzz during the race briefing.
The first run followed the same course as the bike route, and as expected there were some fast starters. And as expected some of these fast starters crumbled on the first climb (this always makes me laugh ¡V they never learn!). It¡¦s always odd running on tracks we usually ride bikes on, but it was a good chance to recce the bike leg (I chose not to pre-ride as I didn¡¦t want to get my bike dirty).
The bike route was the same as Soggy 1 and Soggy 2, but this didn¡¦t bother me too much, having had to miss out Soggy 2. The recent dry weather had also dried the tracks out fairly well, so going looked good.
At transition 1, Paul Sole and I racked our bikes at the same time, and were both spectacularly slow changing shoes. What lay ahead were 4 laps of the bike course, which meant 4x up the cliff climb ƒ¼, 4x down cottage return ƒº, 4x along the increasingly gloopy river track ƒ¼, 4 x through the arena where the crowd were really getting behind everyone ƒº.
So that happened. I overtook some people, some people overtook me and somehow Paul Sole and I found ourselves in transition together again. Equally bad at going from spds to trainers, we both wobbled out onto the Stinger run. Having set out the course for the Stinger run 2 days previously, I had the advantage of knowing where the climbs were ¡V and the first one was nasty!
The Stinger run was not the mudfest it is famous for, but it did involve brutal hands on knees climbs, a quicksand fire-road, and a lot of deadfall to trip over (deliberately left there to make things tough). Having had the pleasure of walking the Stinger run laden down with course marking stakes, arrows and tape, I knew where the really deep gloop was. I managed to catch up with Liam Newton (2nd Vet male) as he was tugging his right foot out of one such section of gloop, and tripped past him on a semi solid bit of track (pointing and laughing). After gloop alley, it was downhill and flat all the way to the finish, and as I ran towards the arena I could hear the supporters cheering and shouting for finishers. Coming in to win the solo women¡¦s race to the sound of cheering was really great (and pretty rare in British Events where spectators are usually huddling for shelter).
The Stinger lived up to its name once again. It¡¦s a really tough Duathlon, and one that I hate to miss. I¡¦ve never been beaten (by a woman) in a mtb Duathlon, and I¡¦m happy to say this remains the case after today¡¦s race.
So on to the rest of the Certini team:
Jay won the solo vet men¡¦s category by 10 mins, and was 2nd solo overall.
Gary and Lisa paired up for the first time in a race with Lisa taking on the running and Gary on the bike. They came in 3rd, and it has to be said, Lisa looked very good in a Certini jersey. Harry Forshaw had a great race, finishing 2nd solo senior male. Kim Long took 2nd in the solo vet female cat. Harry Smith roped in a mate to do the running for him, and they finished 3rd men¡¦s pair. The Farrer brothers were in 2nd position in the pairs¡¦ event when Ben spectacularly broke his bike ¡V game over. Rich Long also had problems, when he got to his bike after run 1 and found he had a flat. He duly pumped it up (Teenies do not quit), but didn¡¦t get very far before it went down again (sometimes Teenies have to quit). Tom Thorne was there too ¡V but I don¡¦t know where he came ¡V sorry!