Wasn’t too sure what to expect for the first leg but whatever it was going to be, there would be a lot of people.

We got a bit unlucky with the entry so the team ended up being dealt number 1582. Which meant there were about 1500 people between me and where I would have liked to be, and on the second last starting row.

The start was hectic. I was out behind all the old people so had to use some crazy traffic weaving skills learnt in the Gdansk pamphlet race. I figured out quickly that there was no actual technique to it, just pretty much pick the gap, no matter how small, and then shoulder your way through.

I got in some good map reading time so I figured out what I was actually heading for, and then put my head down. This allowed me to get a really nice line through the controls and I feel like I passed a fair few teams just on the small route choices. First radio control at number 5 – place 253 +2.36min down.. Made up some nice few places.

Heading into the thicker stuff now and not as many chances to smoke the pack by running beside it. I worked hard running up the hill to 6, getting pretty pissed off with all the slow people when I hear “hey sexy boy” beside me. I had caught Olle. Took my own little route choice down the hill to 7 but I didn’t watch closely enough crossing the marsh and lost myself on the opposite hillside, losing maybe 2mins.

Considered cracking a gel when passing 8-9 but was feeling a bit seedy, so opted not for it.

Put on a show for the cameras at 9. Later watched the footage and it looks like I have no idea what I am doing!

Heading 9-10 I opted for the same directish route choice as the pack, which I later realised that maybe it was smarter to take the track option and destroy everyone else. Was getting pretty agitated by all the slow people at this point. I was feeling really strong but couldn’t find any passing opportunities. I took the time to read ahead and identified some hard controls coming up 11-16 and decided I would strike then. Went through these really smoothly, apart from a minor slip to 14, and passed a fair few teams.

Got a little bit carried away running to 20.. I hadn’t really been reading too closely and was having a bit of a running to nowhere moment. The line of slow people was infinite so I was still getting pissed off and looking forward to the open running 23 – 24. Didn’t really get what I wished for, with the indistinct track and ride being turned into massive tracking, it wasn’t too good for passing.
Made my way past another few teams with a short sprint on the road coming out of 25, then had to sit all the way into the finish sprint.

So all up – crazy race. Placed 146th +10.41. Happy with how I went. Feel like I could wipe a lot of minutes off my time by starting higher up in the pack.

Team did really well! Finished with place 229 after a strong finish by Bryan. Looking forward to next year.

Ian Lawford