A short sharp fell run on Holcombe Moor in early morning mist; a flat out ride though Helmshore round to Edgeworth and back; up on to Holcombe Moor again; and down to the Hare and Hounds for a pint or two of Guinness in warm, late Summer sunshine. I can’t think of a better Sunday morning.
This was the second running of the Holcombe Mountain Trail Duathalon, capably organised by John Raho and Holcombe Harriers.
The event has a limit of 100 places and 52 starters, including a handful of Rossendale Harriers, set out on Sunday 18th September on a steep 8.3km run on rough tracks and boggy paths through Redisher Woods to Pilgrim’s Cross and back via Peel Tower. It was cool and misty and at Pilgrim’s Cross just starting to form a cloud inversion.
Such aesthetics were far from the mind of Ironman Andy Preston as he headed off into the mist at the front of the field. I tried to keep up with Phil Taylor who had stepped in at the very last minute as a relay partner ( or “ringer” ) with Michael Huggins. Also in the relay were Dave “Bradders” Bradley and Drew Webster. (Some of you will know Drew as the professional drinker who has accompanied us to the Ben and to Jura in previous years.)
Never having done an event like this before I had no idea how to pace the race, so I followed a policy of not thinking about it and just getting on with it.
I’d had a fairly good first run and I was in 9th position at the transition. Not having done this before I can pass on some advice to anyone tackling this event for the first time next year. You have to mount your bike on a cambered surface. Trying to mount your bike from the lower side of the camber when you are 5feet 8inches tall is at best embarrassing and at worst life changing.
The cycle route is the 27km original ‘Mountain Trial Holcombe Circuit’, a challenging road course up Lumb Carr Road Hill Climb taking in the summit of the Grane Road and the winding road from the Grey Mare to Edgeworth – a road which has a head wind every day of the year.
Some fantastic looking full carbon bikes flashed by me as I toiled up Grane Road. There had been some talk about “Spot Prizes” – I wondered if there would be one for the heaviest bike.
The final run repeats the first run route but in reverse direction, which means a much tougher initial climb up to Peel Tower on very heavy legs. But it’s worth it for the fantastic run in from the Cross to the finish.
Back outside the Hare & Hounds, the sun decided to come out so it would have been rude not to have had a well earned drink or two whilst waiting for the rest of the Harriers to come in. Which in the end were as follows.
Andy Iron Man Preston 5th : Micheal and Phil 14th / 1st relay: Jon Tinman 16th : Dave Bradders and Drew (honoury club social secretery) 19th/ 2nd relay : Paul Henegan 47th : Dave Pearson & Lesley Fisher 43rd.
This is a fantastic, well organised local event which deserves our support. There are plenty of Rossy Harriers who ride as well. Get it in your diary for next year.