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Completing La Petite Trotte à Léon 2009 part of the The North Face® Ultra-Trail du MontBlanc®

Way back when! the La Petite Trotte à Léon part of the The North Face® Ultra-Trail du MontBlanc®

La Petite Trotte à Léon
25th-30th August 2009
La Petite Trotte à Léon is now in its second year although this year the course
changed by over 80% from the previous year, with much of the course at higher
altitude and along more technical paths. Mick Kenyon, Paul Vousden and Matt
Hicks signed up to tackle this challenge.
 Non-competitive event for teams of 3 people, of whom at least 2
UTMB finishers
 Team of three inseparable from the start to the finish of the
event.
 Course of about 245 km for about 21,000 meters of positive
altitude change.
 Course following mapped paths, featured on a map made
available to each but not signposted.
 100% Mountain and Nature course (less than 5km of tarmacked
roads).
 Start at 10pm on Tuesday 25th of August.
 To be completed by Sunday 30th August at 4.30pm.
 Event in complete autonomy with refreshments and rest the
different refuges passed through.
We arrived on Monday evening to temperatures in the 30’s. The
registration wasn’t until Tuesday so we had a little time to explore
Chamonix and have a good feed. At the chalet Whymper where we
were stopping was another British team taking on the challenge Team
Martlet Kayak club, in total there was 3 British Teams, the all female
Midget Gems making up the 3rd Team. It was a broken night’s sleep
with the nerves jangling and a massive Thunderstorm echoing down
the valley adding to the apprehensiveness.
Tuesday came and it was warm and humid which supported the
predicted Thunderstorms for the first night of the race. At 4pm we
went and registered and dropped off our 2nd bags (which we would
collect at Morgex), there were no kit checks; the organizers said they
trusted us and we would be foolish to skimp on any of the mandatory
kit. We were given a GPS tracker and 5 sets of batteries adding to the
weight of the usual mandatory kit including sleeping bag liners,
fleeces, jackets etc. and food required to get us round from refuge to
refuge. We had already realized that we were not to be passing
through many villages or towns in this year’s event so needed to make
sure we had enough food. Following the kit check was a briefing; this
was conducted in French with a very much briefer English translation!
At 7pm a meal was provided by the organizers, we made our way to
the canteen briefly getting lost, hoping this wasn’t a sign of things to
come. The meal was a spag boll; this was to become a theme of the
race! A few bottles of water were provided but these were all used up
by the time we got to our turn, this left either beer or wine, with only
3 hours to the race we declined. We went back to the chalet for last
minute faffing with bags and time to get changed into the running kit
and visit the loo as many times as possible. The rain outside was
getting heavier and we debated heavier waterproofs but decided to
stick with our lightweight Haglofs Oz pullover jackets.
We headed to the start line at 9.30pm, the rain had subsided and it
was to be a brief dry start to the race. By 10pm a large crowd had
built up around the square and was lining the streets, it was certainly
quite humbling that all these people had turned up to wish us “bon
voyage”, something you just don’t get in Britain. The motivational
theme music of the UTMB blasted out as we set off, aptly named
Conquest of Paradise (Vangelis).
At 10pm prompt we set off on our journey. The first 10km was a nice
warm up, pretty flat and on good tracks following the UTMB route but
just before the first of the big climbs the rain started coming down and
thunder and lightning started filling the skies, not a comforting thought
when you are about to climb alongside a ski lift up to nearly 2000
meters. Matt “Stato” Hicks was counting between the flash and
thunder and informing us that the storm had started some 20 miles
away but was now less than 5 miles away. The rain was relentless for
most of the night but fortunately reasonably warm.
We briefly left the UTMB route after reaching La Charme dropping into
Saint Gervais before again rejoining it at Le Champel. We followed the
UTMB route until shortly after La Balme refuge (which was closed in te
middle of the night). We then split from the UTMB route for our first
taste of what was to come heading off up a very rough steep climb
with lots of loose rocks, at this point quite a few team were still
grouped together and those above periodically set off small rock falls
keeping us awake and alert as first light started to be seen. It was a
relief to reach the Col d Enclave (2667m). At least the rain had passed
by this point and the morning was bright and spirits lifted. We headed
to Refuge Robert Blanc (2760m) along a rocky path down the
mountain before it climbed steeply up and over a boulder field. Once
at the refuge we took time for our first meal and brief rest, we had
covered 41km and a fair bit of climbing over some difficult terrain (this
was nothing compared to what was about to come) The cans of coke
soup and bread were welcome. After a short hour we set off again
along the boulder fields and paths crossing the melting Glacier
streams, we were to have our first taste of the many more tricky paths
where chains were bolted to the rocks to help prevent falls (and
presumably you damaging the rocks as you fall on them from great
height). As we descended to one on the river crossing points a French
team behind us dislodged a boulder. He shouted a warning in French
(it might actually of been “take that”) but whatever it was we heard it
just in time for Paul “The Joker” Vousden (explanation to come) to look
up and duck below a crashing boulder that would have finished the
race early and more to the point might have broken the GPS we had
borrowed. We carried on to cross the UTMB route at the Italian Border
at the Col de la Seigne. From here we made our way over to Petit St
Bernard crossing more boulder field’s moonscapes and steep climbs.
Once we reached the refuge we made the decision that we should refuel
and rest, we had been on the move for 18 hours and awake for
30+ hours, we ate our Spag Boll and took an hour’s kip in the
marquee tent provided, it was cold and noisy. We got up and made
the most of the couple of hour’s daylight remaining. Along with
nightfall the rainfall returned. We came across the ….Kayak clubs
support crew bivying out at Col Louie Blanche with a bottle of wine,
salami and cheese. Later that night there idyllic bivvy point turned into
a river and they had to make a hasty retreat to dryer land. We
descending a difficult boulder field with an indistinct path before
improving. A couple of teams had missed a river crossing point and
were too low down the valley, they spotted our head torches and we
could imagine the relief they felt to get an indication of the true track.
We continued through the darkness and made a decision to pre-book
the refuge Deffeys (2494m), the race organizers had provided the
refuge numbers to book ahead (we lost this piece of paper after this
point!). We finally arrived there at about midnight and grabbed some
more Spag Boll before retiring for a couple of hour’s kip. The dorm
was a small one where a lady with her 2 children were sleeping, it
must have been a shock for her to have 3 smelly guys turn up snore
for an hour and then get up to their alarm clocks. A quick breakfast
and off again into the beautiful early morning. After leaving the lodge
we climbed another 400m to Haut Pass (2869m) again up steep and
rocky path. Once reaching the top we descended a very long way into
the town of Morgex (884m). As we approached Morgex we could hear
the speakers announcing our arrival only to find it wasn’t for us but for
the Giro Italia cycle race…. (not famous just yet). In the sports hall
awaited our 2nd bags and we took the opportunity to grab a quick
shower and some food before one of the longest climbs of the route.
We left the sports hall in the midday heat and it was uncomfortably
hot. We each carried 1 litre of water and in the heat and with the
severity of the climb this soon ran out, we were relieved to find a
water trough half way up the ascent where we replenished our
supplies but this water was not to last long. We carried on climbing
with no shade and the water ran out well before the summit but we
dug deep and carried on with the promise of water near the the col of
Tete Licony (2914m) which seemed to be guarded by the huge
avalanche prevention nets strung across the mountain top. Paul was
suffering with chapped lips and took to the sudocreme, he smeared it
across his lips and with his blue sunglasses on looked like “the joker”
out of batman. This sight was to be seen many times before the end
of the race and even a call was put into the finish line to make sure a
supply of lipsolve was available. We weaved between the avalanche
nets and finally reached the water supply which looked not much
better than a stagnant pond, but we were desperate and so filled our
bottles and added some water purification tablets and nuun to hide the
taste. It still was not very pleasant but needs must. We continued on
a tricky descent, I had de-hydrated and soon finished my pond water
on the long and tricky descent where we lost 1000m in height. I was
getting desperate for water and was so relieved to hear the sound of a
stream. This turned out to be water many thousand of years old in
the form of Glacier melt however I filled the bottles and drank without
ill effect. We then regained some of the height lost before descending
at midnight to the refuge we voted as the best refuge by a long way.
We reached the five star refuge Bonatti (half way point on the route)
where good quality soup and Spag Boll was consumed. We retired to
the dorm for what we hoped would be 4 hours sleep, this turned out to
be a lot less as more teams arrived and alarm clocks signaled to other
teams it was time to leave. We got up and had our first healthy
breakfast of fruit and juice which was so needed. Refreshed and
refueled we got on our way in the darkness of the early morning along
part of the UTMB route, the sun rose and we were treated to fantastic
views of Mont Blanc massif in an orange glow, it was quite a sight and
lifted our spirits. We continued on the UTMB route and started the
climb of the Col Ferret before veering off to go over the Italian/ Swiss
border at col du Ban Darray(2695m). Much to our amusement
someone had done a big curly pooh on the knifedge ridge…don’t ask
why we found it amusing or why the person had dropped it there!
We were joined by a French team for the descent down a lovely Swiss
valley, every so often the path was blocked by an electric fence, one of
the French team was vertically challenged and rather than stepping
over the wire lifted the stake out the ground. We crossed one of the
fences and heard a commotion behind us, the cows had followed the
French team over the electric fence and a stampede of friendly Swiss
cows making there dash for freedom was on it way. To make things
worse the farmer was observing this from some distance away, he
started screaming instructions which we soon managed to work out he
wanted us to heard the cows back up the valley…little to say we did
our best waving our poles in the air and mooing! Onwards we
continued and the next section was cruel loop that climbed up over a
col down a valley and back over another col a couple of miles away
from where we had started the loop. A warning was posted in the
route book not to descend in bad weather; it was very steep and slippy
with big vertical drops at the side of the path and continued to
descend for 1000m, the weather was luckily good, the organizers were
right, I would not like to have descended that in the rain or worse. We
reached the village at the bottom and took advantage of little
restaurant where they served us Spag Boll! After the brief rest we
joined the UTMB route were the front end of the CCC race were
passing. We even managed to see a friend who briefly wished us luck
and gave us encouragement (well done Alex Pillkington on finishing
about 90th…great run). We were heading towards Champex which was
only a few miles down the valley but not the way our route was
takuing us, instead we had another big climb up to Orny (2691m) and
descent on the other side before we could rest. The climb up Orny was
steep and again we were having water issues, descending were a
group of climbers and we managed to beg some water from them (we
owe them at least a beer or 2 if anyone knows who they are) Darkness
fell as we reached the peak and although spectacular views were seen
briefly the cloud came in. We were descending and at times used the
chains attached to the rock face not knowing what was at the side.
The next few Kms were tricky with visibility less than 3m, the
headtorches light bounced back at us and we were very reliant on the
accuracy of the GPS, luckily this was spot on. We were all feeling tired
and thought we were getting sleepmonsters when the street lights
below were seen as a giant glowing orange star….it turned out it was a
giant glowing orange star and not street lights, it was standing above
the ski lodge which on a clear night would be visible from Champex.
We descended the black ski run twisting and turning all the way into
Champex occasionally losing our footing and on number of occasions
falling over. At Champex we re-joined the slower end of the CCC
runners before turning off the route for the refuge for the night
Auberge du Bon Abri, arriving in the early hours. Again we had a Spag
Boll and 2 or 3 hours sleep before setting off in the early morning
darkness. We had made it through this cut off with 15 hours or so to
spare. The next cut off was at Vallorcine at 16:00. This was only
25km away but with 2 major climbs and on the terrain we had been
crossing could be quite tight. We started the day with a 1200m climb
but made good steady progress, the tracks seemed to be improving
and the descent on the other side was a lot better than we had come
to expect. As we approached the bottom of the climb we had a call to
say we were not moving on the GPS system, I had inadvertently
dislodged the USB cable. Friends and family watching were getting
twitchy and we received a few calls asking if we were okay? With the
GPS back working we made good progress and soon climbed to Col de
Balme (2204m) before another descent into Vallercine. As we
descended the first of the UTMB runners passed us making it look so
effortless, first there was last years winner followed by the Japanese
runner. We could hear the cheers and support in Vallorcine and before
long we were welcomed and encouraged by the gathered crowds. We
had made the cut off with an hour to spare. We discussed why the cut
off was so early as we only had 30km to go and 24 hours to complete,
surely anyone could do that? Matt “Stato” then pointed out that in
tiredness there had been a conversion failure between miles and
Kms….we had 50km to go and the highest mountain of the race to
navigate.
We set off after a rest and refuel with 30 mins spare before the cut off.
Mid afternoon and we wanted to make the most of the daylight, the
climb was steady but on good tracks and so we made good time
planning what we should do to finish the course as we climbed. The
plan was to reach Cabane du Vieux Emosson in good time get a bite to
eat and then tackle the start of the big climb in darkness hopefully
timing the tricky via ferrata section to be done at sun rise. We made
the progress we needed and reached Emosson just as it got dark. We
ate but the only place to sleep was a base tent erected round the back
of the cabin. We climbed into the tent, we were the only ones there so
took 2 blankets each. Just as we were dropping off to sleep another
team joined us and then another, we had to relinquish the blankets.
We agreed we were not going to sleep so it would be better to push
on. The climb up Cheval Blanc was steep and rocky, we could see
headtorches down below at Emmoson but know one was following us
out into the darkness to tackle the mountains at night, we knew this
was a tough section and this was to be made even worse by the lack
of sleep. We made the top of Cheval Blanc (2816m) where the track
disappeared only marked by the odd cairn, these too eventually
disappeared. We crossed scree which was collapsing under us and for
a while doubted whether we were on track but we eventually reached
the foot of Le Buet. The last 200m of climbing was on via ferrata
cables, but we had no harnesses to protect us. Thank goodness for
darkness which hid the steep drops into oblivion? We finally crossed
the summit of Buet (3082m). The long descent ahead was tougher
than the climb, without the adrenaline to keep us awake the
sleepmonsters attacked. I tried to shut one eye at a time but this
didn’t work as the other eye wanted to join in. I was getting
desperate for sleep (I think we all were, there was no chat just the
click of the poles on the ground) I was about to drop on the track. We
finally turned a corner just as the sun rose to see refuge col d Anterne.
It was the most welcome sight and almost like a mirage. Despite the
daylight there was no skipping through here. Too tired to eat we set
the alarm clock for in 1 hour’s time, despite being so tired I awoke
before the alarm and felt totally refreshed; it’s amazing what your
body can do if it has to. We grabbed a quick bite to eat and set off.
We only had 2 descents and 1 climb left…we knew we had done it!
We broke out into a run on the 400m descent and climbed the 700m
with ease reaching the col du Brevent (2366m). The final descent into
Chamonix was down twisty but good tracks, as we descended past well
wishers and paragliders the celebrations in Chamonix were getting
louder and the familiar anthem of the UTMB could be heard. Once we
hit the tarmac everyone was congratulating us on an epic adventure
and crowds seemed to have great respect, we had won the tour de
france or it seemed that way. We crossed the finish line (1035m) after
111hours, we had climbed 21,000 meters and descended 21,000
meters and covered 245km in true mountain wilderness….an epic
never to be forgotten. 17 teams out of the 55 starters completed, we
crossed the finish line in 9th place (not that it’s a race!!!)
Report by Mick Kenyon Petit Trotte Finisher 2009

Sports Event Photography Service 2018

Sports Event Photography 2018

It’s that time again when many Race Directors and Event Organisers start planning their sports events for 2018. As soon as an event is planned I would recommend booking your photographer as 2018 looks like it is going to be a busy year!

cycling photography service

cycling sportive photography

Racing Snakes is much more than a photography service, the website including the photostore attracts nearly a million site visits each year.  Many are looking for their photographs from their favourite event but many also visit other pages on the website.

For 2018 an event calendar has been added, events can be added to the racingsnakes website for free by race directors/organisers.  All you need to do is drop an email asking for access to the calendar. The calendar allows viewers to add the event to their google calendar and view the event on your website … not bad for a free service!

Sport Event Photography Options

A few options are available for your Sport Event Photography, one of the most popular and growing in popularity is for images to be taken at your event, shared on your social media (usually your event facebook page) with watermarked images. This is really cool way of promoting your event, people get tagged and share and before you know it 1000’s of people have seen the images all with your event logo added, these can even be done with multiple logos, ideal for adding sponsors logo too.

A more traditional approach is for photographs to be sold direct on the Racing Snakes website. Racing Snakes photostore website allows for instant downloads of high res images as well as options for ordering prints.

Racing Snakes Photography is ideal for Endurance Sporting Events. Expert photography for cycling sportives, triathlons, running events including trail running and ultra running, mountain marathons, adventure races, cyclocross, mountain bike events. All events are considered, long days and remote locations are no problem.

Event Photography

Photograph of sports event showing watermarked logo on image

 

Outdoor Sports Stock Photography

For those working in the Outdoor Sports market, getting a source of stock photography can be difficult.  There are lots of outdoor sports photographers out there, but many just take images they can sell to the competitors, these tend to be very personal shots capturing the individual rather than the the atmosphere of the event or sport. Racing Snakes has now added a Gallery of photos suitable for Outdoor Sports Stock Photography. The album of stock photography can be found here Outdoor Sports Photography 

Ricky Lightfoot, 3 peaks winner 2014

3 Peaks fell race winner Ricky Lightfoot summiting Ingleborough, available in the Stock Photography section

In addition to the stock photography Racing Snakes Photography service can also be hired to take Outdoor Sports  brand, individual and event photography. Advanced booking essential as many events book 12 months in advance.

Racing Snakes specialises in outdoor sports such as Cycling Sportives, Ultra running events, Trail Running Events, Mountain Marathons, Mountain Bike Events and Adventure Racing. Clients have included the Wasdale triathlon (the hardest triathlon in the World), The Spine Race (Britains most Brutal ultra race), Open Cycling organisers of ‘Coast to Coast’ and ‘Wales in  a Day’, Patagonia (Sponsors of the Fellsman), Etape Du Dales (Iconic Yorkshire Sportive), Inov8 athletes retreat, Salomon athletes retreat, Sky Running UK, Ilkley Triathlon, Rather be Cycling,

Other events also covered  have included the 3 Peaks Fell Race, The 3 Peaks Cyclocross, The Fellsman, V3k.

Sports Event Photography 2017

The benefits of having professional sports event photography and media of your event is essential to any well run event. A professional service for your sports event not only brings back memories but also provides future marketing material. It also brings added benefits for sponsors and supporters. There are some professional photography services that take images of competitors but offer little else, read on to see why racingsnakes photography offers much more for you and your sports event.

Event Photography

Photograph of sports event showing watermarked logo on image

Event Photography

The are many options for getting the most out of your images and depending on the sporting event and sponsors requirements these do vary. Racingsnakes can provide advice on what will work best for your event, this maybe to maximise reach of the sports event using social media or maintaining that valuable relationship you have with your sponsors and supporters.

Event photography can be broken down into two types, ‘photos of people’ and ‘photos for marketing’. Here at racing snakes photography, both types are catered for.
People Photography – There are some event photography services that stand in one place (usually at the side of a road) and take similar images of every athlete. They don’t like to venture to far from their cars! Fine for some, and they do sell to athletes that just want a picture of themselves competing in the sports event on the day. The other and prefered option of racingsnakes is to get athletes in the best location on the course. This maybe a climb or descent on a sportive with a great backdrop or mountainous checkpoint on a ultra run with moody skies that reflects the true feeling of an event.
Marketing Photography – This is very different from the ‘athlete running shot’. If you are planning on expanding your event or just need professional photographs of your event for flyers, banners and your website. Athlete photos are fine for the individual but often these lack the requirements of capturing the bigger picture and perhaps the key selling point of the sports event.

Escape to Gisburn Mountain Bike Enduro photos

Images provided for Escape Bike shop for the Escape to Gisburn Enduro race

Share The Love – The Racingsnakes Photostore

Having great imagery for the athletes and yourself is just the start of it. You will need a way to be able to share the images and more. Here at Racingsnakes there are great professional options for doing just this.
Share the professional sports photography on the photostore. This allows for images to be instantly downloaded or prints ordered, but that’s not all. Voucher codes can be used and prices set for each gallery of images, so depending on your needs you might wish to choose to offer your competitors free images.
The photostore allows for other professional photographers to also upload their images from the sports event and sell within the photostore making sure all the images from the event are kept in one place and easy to find.

Racingsnakes uses professional Nikon photographic equipment
Contact mick@racingsnakes.com

Clients of racingsnakes professional sports event photography include;

Open Cycling
The Montane Spine
Patagonia UK
Inov8
Salomon
Rather Be Cycling

 

forest with runner, sunlight, event photography, spine race

Event photography for The Montane Spine Race

 

 

Pictures from Buttertubs Pass TdF

Pictures from Buttertubs Tour de France -TdF. Buttertubs Tour de France photos The Tour de France (TdF) finally got underway from Leeds on Saturday 5 July 2014.  The race started off from Leeds at 11 am and visited Harewood House, Otley, Ilkley and Skipton before making its way on to the scenic lanes of the Yorkshire Dales.  The race did the first big climb of day just outside of Buckden with the ‘Cote de Cray’ the first of the categorised climbs of the 2015 Tour de France (the first points of the ‘King of the Mountains’ – Poker dot jersey).  The race then meandered its way via Aysgarth and Bainbridge before reaching the pretty small town of Hawes which nestles at the foot of the Buttertubs pass.

TdF Buttertubs

Jens Voigt leading the pack up Buttertubs Pass in the Tour de France 2014

Buttertubs is one of the great cycle challenges of the Yorkshire Dales, it is just 4.4km in length, but its steep ramps and great views of the Yorkshire Dales makes it one of the locals favourite climbs. Thousands of people turned out to watch ‘Le Tour’ riders tackle the climb. The road rises up from Hawes and passes over the pass before a very fast descent to the typically named Yorkshire village of Muker. The climb has a maximum 20 per cent gradient just about the cattle grid half way up the hill.  It is estimated up 60,000 spectators may turn out to see the climb.

First pictures of Le Tour De France 2015

 

First pictures of Le Tour de France 2015

The first pictures from the Le Tour De France taken at the opening ceremony of the Tour de France 2015 can be found by clicking on this link to the gallery on racing snakes website. GRAND DÉPART. The images were captured on Thursday 3rd July as Le Tour De France riders made their way through the streets of Leeds from Leeds university to the Leeds Arena before the celebration and team presentation to the crowds at the Leeds Arena. The riders were joined by local club riders to set off for the short ride from Leeds University to the Leeds Arena. The riders set off just after 6pm before making their way to the Millennium Square in Leeds with big crowds expected for the first glimpses of the riders.The first pictures were taken as the riders arrived at the university followed by more photos of the riders as they entered the Millenium square in Leeds City, West Yorkshire.

The biggest cheer of the night will surely be reserved for Team Sky being headed by Chris Froome, team Sky are the favourites to win Le Tour de France with Froome being heavily backed for finishing the race in the yellow jersey.  Another favourite of the crowds will be sprinter Mark Cavendish who is one of the favourites to win stage one on Saturday, Mark Cavendish has links to the local area and will be well supported by the Yorkshire crowds.

First Pictures of Le Tour de France 2015

First pictures of Team Sky as they cycled to the presentation evening

Le GRAND DÉPART

Le Grand Depart starts for real on Saturday 5th July when the riders of Le Tour will set off from outside the Leeds Town Hall on their way to the first days race finish in Harrogate.     The route takes them to some lovely Yorkshire Dales Towns of Otley, Ilkley, Skipton, Aysgarth, Hawes, Reeth, Knaresborough before finishing in Harrogate.  Over one million spectators are excepted to be on the course on Saturday 5th July.

Team Quickstep

Team Quickstep which includes Mark Cavendish the favourite for the stage one win of the Tour de France 2015

The riders stay in Yorkshire for the second stage, although they do cross from North Yorkshire to West Yorkshire before finishing in South Yorkshire.  This is a tough stage which although doesnt have any alpine climbs in is undulating to say the least.  The riders will tackle a number of not too short climbs including Holme Moss (the biggest climb of the day) which will attract big crowds and much excitement.  The race continues to finish in Sheffield on day two.

All pictures copyright of Mick Kenyon (racingsnakes.com)

Photo album of the Tour de France riders 2015

More information about the start is available on the official website http://letour.yorkshire.com/news/2015-yorkshire-race-official-launch

Scafell Trail Marathon photos

Scafell Trail Marathon

Scafell Trail Marathon photos. Sunday 15 June 2014 the Scafell Trail Marathon took place, the photos can be seen of most of the runners on http://racingsnakes.com/

Kim Collison leads Cristofer Clemente off scafell pike

Kim Collison leads Cristofer Clemente off scafell pike

Cristofer Clemente Wins after Ricky Lightfoot Makes Navigation Error

The 2014 Scafell Trail Marathon was won by Cristofer Clemente who beat Ricky Lightfoot into second place.  The race was in warm and mostly dry conditions but the weather was certainly a factor in the top three positions.  On the climb to Sty Head Ricky Lightfoot had a good few minutes lead on the chasing duo of Kim Collison and  Cristofer Clemente,  Once they reached Sty head visibility was very down to a few meters and Ricky made a navigational error coming off Scafell Pike.  Kim Collison used his compass skills and navigated with only a minor error off the summit.  Cristofer Clemente was playing a very wise game and letting Kim lead the way whilst he hung on to his shirt tails.   Once off the mountain Kim was finding the pace hard to maintain and Cristofer pulled away from Kim on the climb to Watendlath, Ricky was making big gains into the leading pair and overtook Kim to finish second.

Ricky Lightfoot

Ricky Lightfoot having to make do with second place after a navigation mistake

 

The 42km Scafell Trail Race took the runners from just outside Keswick to summit Scafell Pike and then return to finish at the Lakeside in Keswick.  The race was organised by High Terrain events and attracted some high profile sponsors with Salomon, Suunto and 9bar all backed the race.  This year the Scafell Trail Race marathon was part of the EMM (the European Mountain Marathon series)

The race starts off following the shores of Derwentwater from Nichol End Marina, before then making its way up the Borrowdale Vally to Seathwaite.  There is a feed station here that provides the racers with food, water and a chance to take on some 9bar energy food.  The race then ascends the highest mountain in England (Scafell Pike) via Styhead and the corridor route.  This year (2014) sees a prize awarded to the fastest Male and Female runner up the mountain. This is where racingsnakes took the photos  of the Scafell Trail Race.  Once the Scafell Pike has been summited the race descends back to Seathwaite via Esk Hause.  The race still has a kick in its tail though as there is a further climb up to Watendlath before the final undulating descent to the finish in Keswick. There is also a chance just after Watendlath to refuel at a feedstation.

Altura Gravity Stage Race

Pictures from the  Altura Gravity Stage Race which took place in Whinlatter Forest on Saturday 31 May 2014. The photos can be viewed and purchased from Racingsnakes.com The race was also sponsored by Cyclewise (based at Whinlatter visitor centre) and The Forestry Commision who do a great job of looking after the Forest in the Lake District National Park.  The other main sponsor was Altura (a brand of cycling wear)   There were six stages to test the mountain bike riders as they rode around the Whinlatter Forest Mountain Bike trails, many of the trails had been built for the event . Each of the stages were timed with electronic timing (sportident timing system). The riders dibbed their electronic punch at the top of the runs as they started, the riders also did the same at the end of the stage with the Marshall stood on the finishing line. The time was not counted between the stages, so riders could take time to get their breath back.

 

Altura Gravity Whinlatter Stage Race

There were over 200 riders that raced, the results from the days racing are now available on the Sportsident website

Photos were taken at various points around the Whinlatter course.  Many were on stage 6 which was a narrow trail built through the thicket of the Forest.  This stage although not a long section was challenging. the line held well and the later riders benefited from a clearer route with burns starting to build allowing for faster cornering.

Etape du Dales

The Etape du Dales is a gruelling 112mile cycling sportive that set off from Threshfield (Grassington) in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.  The route climbs over a number of significant hills inluding Fleet Moss, Buttertubs, Tan House Hill, Coal Road and Dale Head.  The total amount of climbing (and descent) is 9170 feet (2795 meters).

The first 10 miles of the route follows the Tour De France (Le Grand Depart) stage 1 from Threshfield to Buckden.  The route then peels off to do the brutal but beautiful climb over Fleet Moss at about 18 miles into the route, there is then a long before descent into the small Dales town of Hawes.  When in Hawes the Etape du Dales rejoins the Tour de France stage 1 route to ascend the Buttertubs pass at about 25 miles into the route.  The Buttertubs Pass has an official category 3 rating for the Tour De France and is a popular climb with cyclists trying to gain the King of the Mountains on the Strava app.  The route continues into Swaledale before leaving the TdF route before it reaches Reeth at Low Row.  The Etape du Dales then heads off to climb the Tan House Hill but first there is the climb over to Arkengarthdale. Tan house hill is at about 46 miles into the route.  Before starting its homeward leg.  At 70 miles the Old Coal Road is a hard climb with all those miles in the legs, it passes Dent Station the highest mainline railway station in the UK before descending into the pretty vally bottom. The Etape du Dales continues along the vally gently climbing at first before another big climb from Stonehouse towards Newby Head.  A descent is then enjoyed to iconic Ribblehead viaduct and continues to Stainforth before the final big hill of the day climbing to Dalehead at aproximately 90 miles.

Etape Du Dales cycling sportive

The route of Etape du Dales is a cycling sportive challenge and is not officially a race (however the fastest time for completing the route is just a little over 5 hours and 43 mins).

The ride is organised by the Dave Raynor Fund. The Dave Rayner Fund was set up in his memory on 12 January 1995, to help riders make a career from racing on the continent. (Wikipedia)

Fred Whitton 2014 Photos

Fred Whitton Challenge Photos 2014 will be posted on Racing Snakes photo albums soon after the race, the pictures link will be live once the photos are published.  The photos of the Fred Whitton Challenge Cycling Sportive can also be seen on my Facebook page

The Fred Whitton Challenge is a 112 mile challenge cycling sportive around the Lake District National Park.  The Fred Whitton Challenge route starts and finishes from the Showground in Grasmere.  The route goes in an anti-clockwise direction and takes in the Cols (mountain passes) at Kirkstone, Honister, Newlands Hause, Whinlatter, Hardknott, and Wrynose.  This sportive is recognised as one of the hardest cycling sportives in the country, it has 10,779 ft (3285 meters) of ascent.  The ascent over the Harknott pass is one of the steepest roads in the UK with 30% gradient, and this is in the latter end of the route so the legs are tired. The full route of the Fred Whitton Challenge can be seen here

Biker Honister Pass

The fastest time will be around the 5 hours and 50 mins mark with the slowest time around double that at 12 hours 30 mins. The Fred Whitton Challenge is expected to attract around 2000 riders.  There are various feed stations and check points on the route.  The ride is very well organised and has become the ‘must do’ sportive of many riders and thus has become one of the most popular rides in the sportive calendar and usually sells out well in advance of the ride.