UK OCR World Championship – 2015
Brocket Gear Race Team’s Ross Brackley and Jason Brunnock took on the UK OCR champs recently and here we have Ross describing the day….
Potentially the biggest race in the UK this year was about to unfold and right on schedule, the rain came as we stood tentatively on the start line. This race would be defined by two things, the planning behind the course and the number of competitive racers who showed up on the day. Thankfully, the best guys on UK shores at the time were littering the event village and I knew some of OCR’s most passionate organisers were behind this one. Game on. Focusing mostly on the OCRWC a month earlier, I hadn’t thought too much about preparation for this but some time off hard training left my legs feeling pretty good, so I had everything to run for.
The starting pace was typically fast and with numerous quick guys on course we snaked fairly tightly for the first kilometre or so…we were racing. Heading into Wild Forest Gym a small group broke away, at this point Conor effortlessly leapt from a cruising pace alongside me, straight to the front group. Awesome! Tristan had set the starting pace and together with James Appleton and Conor, pulled out quite a gap as we headed into another running section.
Arriving at the slippery monkey bars a little behind, I made sure I just safely got across, knowing we had a lot still to come and risky gibbon like behaviour was unnecessary at this point. Next came the leg sapping ditches, complimented by the endless cargo crawl, such a pleasure. It’s often these simple obstacles, which almost everyone can complete, where an efficient technique will put you in good stead for the rest of the race. However, stuck at this point in a battle for fourth, and with Tristan, Conor and James all pulling away, chances of a podium finish weren’t looking good.
We were on our feet again now, with a chance to open up a run and it was evident I had plenty left in my legs compared to my opponent battling for fourth, so I quickly put a gap between us. Now I was in danger of being subject to a lonely OCR slog, which many races often become. Luckily, as I reached the apex of the hill I could see the gap they had opened wasn’t unachievable to respond to. This was almost disappointing…it meant I was going to have to try, rather than settle for fourth…but that’s what you want from the UK Champs, right?
We entered the stream with a log in hand, as you do, it was at this point Tristan was close enough to make contact. We exited the stream together, entering some good running sections, where I managed to stumble my way into a small lead, we were back in business. Some technical obstacles followed, the rig being one of them and after what I’m calling ‘knotted rope bounce ball thing’, which is trickier than it looks, most the grip intensive obstacles were over, until the final few kilometres. I safely got through these again, still employing the ‘safety sloth’ technique, not wanting to lose any time from a big mistake.
James and Conor were gone now, I watched James disappear after the first water heavy section, and the battle for me now was going to be with the elements. Water obstacles were deep, swimming not wading, once your chest is in you’re going to lose heat fast and I was feeling this. I know I can suffer through the cold but it can have an effect on your ability to manage the more technical obstacles and needless to say, my hands were numb.
Scott was flying around with the GoPro and lifted me through many of the running sections, forcing a quick pace to get me warm and competitive again, thanks dude! Arriving at ‘Cliff Hanger’ I was lucky to find my grip was solid, which gave me confidence heading into the Ninja Rings, where many peoples’ races slipped away from them. A quick look over my shoulder following this and I knew 3rd was probably mine.
However, dropping off the penultimate obstacle and looking to the Weaver, I caught a glimpse of a runner coming through. I knew I had get across fairly swiftly and that a mistake now would cost me a podium finish. I went for the ‘safety gibbon’, the perfect hybrid, crossing the line in 3rd. Nice.
It’s been mentioned all week but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be said again. This race was challenging but in my opinion achievable, with enough variation to allow most the different strengths of an obstacle racer to show through. Mark and James smashed it and although weather kicked our butts, which we couldn’t control, measures were taken to help keep the obstacle safe when slippery. Great work guys and well done to Jason on his 6th place as well!