We are delighted to announce that Ellis Brigham now has its very own 6-strong Adventure Racing Team! Keep up to date with the team's racing, training and adventures on this blog - and feel free to ask them any questions about which events they're doing or kit they're doing their best to thrash in the wilds of the UK and further afield.
Andy Wilson: Team captain hailing from the North Wales mountains; the team strategist, planner and all round 'wise man' - an expert navigator.
Fi Wilson: Ex-24 hour solo mountain biker, lover of technical descents on foot or bike - always wanting to race furiously hard.
Barbara Lonsdale: Northern 'pocket rocket' who has a 20 hour Bob Graham Round under her belt and too many bikes to count.
Si Enderby: All-rounder with a phenomenal turn of speed on the shorter races - our roped access expert with an impressive race CV.
Ali Morris: The Big Friendly Giant with legs that don't notice tussocks - caving expert, team doctor and mountain rescue rep. A useful guy to have on board!
Andy Mitchell: A history of kayaking makes Mitch our boat expert, but he also makes a mean cheesecake and never seems to mind carrying the heavy gear.
We asked the team to explain a bit about themselves, their racing and the adventures they have planned this year...
EB: What exactly is adventure racing?
"We compete in domestic and international adventure races which vary in length from five hours to five days and beyond. Adventure racing is multi-sport; including mountain biking, running and kayaking. But race organisers often also throw in rope work, canoeing, canyoning and other challenges, and there is always navigation, strategy and self-sufficiency involved in our racing. Adventure racing is a lot of fun and usually feels just like an adventure and less about the racing. (That said, we do like coming home with shiny trophies)."
EB: What's your main focus this year?
Barbara Lonsdale: "The main event for the team this year is the [ITERA] Adventure Race World Series race in Wales in August - a five-day non-stop expedition race involving running/trekking, mountain biking, kayaking and rope work. Our line up will be Andy, Si, Ali and me. These run every two years in the UK and we came second last time in Scotland so we'll be aiming for a good result again this year. In addition to that we'll be making sure we target the British Championship series races (as yet unpublished) where we've come second and third the last two years".
EB: In addition to your normal racing, are you planning any training weekends to prepare for the ITERA?
Si Enderby: "Oh yes! We’ve just come of the back of a successful winter season racing the shorter Haglofs Open5 races around the UK. Barbara and her friend James came second overall in the series (mixed pairs) and Ali and I won the final race of the series up in Coniston. But we will be building up our mileage and working on key skills over the next few months. One plan is to complete a Paddy Buckley round (24hr fell running challenge in Wales similar to the more famous Bob Graham round in the Lakes) and other endurance challenges in the build up to the expedition race. Ali is also gearing up for his own epic charity challenge this year (the Three Peaks by bike, foot and climb, non-stop of course!)".
EB: What are you most looking forward to now that you're Team Ellis Brigham?
Fi Wilson: "Ellis Brigham is one of the top outdoor retailers in the country and it's fantastic to be representing them during the course of our adventures. Adventure racing requires seriously top quality gear - we are often self-sufficient in the wilderness for many days, so everything has to do a job and do it well! Ellis Brigham only stocks the best brands, so we know we're in safe hands! The Welsh ITERA expedition race is clearly our main focus this year but the team races constantly - practically every weekend in some form. There are fell races, mountain bike races and kayaking events going on all the time. We'll be reporting back here on how we're getting on and what kit we're loving at the moment!"
Check out the Team Ellis Brigham page for news and member profiles!