Having taken part in this unique event last year and reported on it for Planet Fear,
I’d definitely rate HellRider
as one of the best races I’ve ever taken part in. I raced solo and used the event as training for the Long Course Duathlon Championships in Zofingen Switzerland. I would highly recommend it to any Ironmen in training, as it’s a great test of pacing, fueling and provides multiple opportunities for transition practice. The bike course provided enough of a technical challenge to keep laps interesting but there wasn’t anything that’d put off even relative novices. The run had some tough hills and I really appreciated the cooling river crossings on each lap. It was a real buzz hitting the race hub at the end of every lap. The atmosphere was amazing with the teams using it as their changeover point too and the music gave you a real boost. I’ll definitely be back in this year, trying to crack 20 laps and moving up one place on the podium to take the solo win.
Organisers of HellRider - the Devil’s Duathlon - are for the first time offering bike and run only alternatives for those who prefer two wheels to two feet and vice versa. The off-road mountain bike/trail race also has a new home at the beautiful Hambleden Estate near Henley-on-Thames. This year’s event will take place on Saturday 11th May and early bird discounted entries are now open ('tll 31st March).
Hellrider’s a unique race that offers a challenge for every ability from Ironman level athletes competing solo to teams of weekend warriors and gym buddies looking for something a little bit different. The fiendish format of alternating circular 5k trail run and 7.5k mountain-bike loops means how far you go in the 8 hour time limit is up to you!
Free on-site camping on Friday and Saturday nights, a licensed bar, catering and live music offer a perfect family-friendly weekend. The circular course with central feed and aid station makes it spectator friendly and also allows endurance athletes to practice getting hydration and nutrition right for longer endurance events.
Now in its third year, the duathlon is organised by Peak District event specialists TrailPlus, who also run the UK's biggest off-road running series HellRunner with 8,500 runners across the year as well as the UK’s most popular team adventure challenge series.
With approximately 1,000 acres of unspoilt woodland and rolling parkland, Hambleden Estate (part of the Culden Faw Estate) is conveniently situated just 40 miles from London. The village of Hambleden has been used for many feature films such as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 101 Dalmatians, Sleepy Hollow and the New Avengers, for major TV productions such as Band of Brothers, A Village Affair and Poirot.
Event Director and TrailPlus owner Paul Magner said: “The event’s going from strength to strength. We had 600 participants last year. Originally we set it up as a team-only duathlon but due to popular demand we created a solo class and had 80 endurance athletes compete last year. This year we’re responding to demand with our new run or bike only alternatives. We’re confident our third year will be our best yet.”
“We’re delighted to be moving to the Hambleden Estate. The West Wycombe course was great but Hambleden allows us to offer free on-site camping the night before and after the race so we can make it a brilliant weekend away for families and groups of friends.” “The circuit format means your family and mates can watch as you come through the transition area again, and again (and again!). For competitors it’ll be a suffer-fest but your support angels will have a heavenly time with food, music & entertainment.”WHY COMPETITORS LOVED IT:
Rachel Taylor, who entered the team event, said: "A brilliantly run event over eight hours with a tough course and a couple of killer hills that you don't want to see towards the end of the day! But don't let that put you off as you feel all the more satisfied for having conquered them for the umpteenth time. Great goodie bag (always important) and a fantastic atmosphere with music to keep you motivated all day. Best organised event I've done and most exhausted and proud I've ever felt at the end of a course!"
Ayo Williams from London, who entered as part of a 3 man team last year, said: "I thoroughly enjoyed the Hellrider Duathlon last year. It was one of the better organised events that I have done in recent times, with the right balance of length, difficulty as well as attendees. The running course was varied and interesting, with only minor waist-high dunkings towards the end of the section. Hilly, muddy and soggy underfoot; trail shoes and a love of off-road action were a must. The bike section was challenging (for most of us) with two main climbs and some fast flat and downhill sections which were not technically out of reach for all but complete novices. The mixed abilites on show (guaranteed by allowing teams of 5,3 or 1 - for the crazy folk - to enter), plus the music, tricky but not brutal course all combine to make it a cracking event which I will come back for this year."
Brian Taylor (Ayo Williams' team-mate) said: "A brilliantly organised event and a great course. The format of the event is unique - it allows entrants of varying abilities to compete side-by-side and makes for a competitive, but fun, atmosphere. I'm looking forward to returning this year with my mate, Ayo Williams, as an unofficial twosome again and will be making sure that he's got his shoes on this time when there's only five minutes left on the clock and one of has to man-up, get out on the course and take it for the team - he still owes me for that one!!"??
Solo competitor (anonymous): “I did the solo option and loved it. It was a great event. Extremely well organized, beautiful surroundings, excellent support and pure hell!”
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