The first race organised by the Canicross Cornwall group was held at the venue of Siblyback Lake, which is on the edge of Bodmin Moor near Liskeard. This was not a local race for us but turned out to be well worth the trip down to Cornwall, as Siblyback Lake was almost made to be a canicross race venue.
We arrived early afternoon at the site to set up on the small but perfectly formed campsite on the edge of the lake. The facilities at Siblyback are second to none, with plentiful hot, clean showers, a superb little cafe and dry room for getting your wet kit dry again (the main activities here are watersports). We used an hour or so to explore the course, which was basically a lap of the lake on the hard packed trail but was surprisingly varied with couple of bridges to cross, some wooded twisty sections and some long flat straights to pick up some speed on.
Saturday morning started off bright and breezy with good temperatures for the dogs to run in and then just as the first canicross racers were collecting on the start line, the heavens opened and the rain that we encountered was like nothing I’ve ever raced in before! I ran the first two miles laughing so much that it was a wonder I could run, the rain was coming down so hard across the lake, powered by the wind, that I couldn’t even open my eyes properly on some of the exposed sections. The wooded parts of the course offered some protection and by the end of my race the rain had stopped and the sun was coming back out again. I managed to get around the course in a reasonable time for me, considering my ankle injury, and I was pleased to be in third place for the female two dog class and tenth female.
After a particularly unsettled and stormy night, (although we did have the exclusive use of one of the cosy function rooms at the venue for cake and wine!) we did it all again on the Sunday and the conditions couldn’t have been more different. With the sun shining, the competitors made their way around the lake, many mini-competitions taking place within the categories, as we had all been seeded for the Sunday starts.
We managed to knock nearly a minute off our Saturday time and keep our third place, winning a trophy bowl, Non-stop collar and some dog food for our efforts. As this was the first event organised by Canicross Cornwall (http://canicrosscornwall.com/) I have to say I was hugely impressed by the competition and am looking forward to the next one, especially as the venue manager gave his permission after seeing us canicross race, for a bikejor and scooter class too.
When the next Canicross Cornwall event takes places I will be there, the course was great, the organisation was fantastic and the only thing I would have improved was the weather, so here’s hoping next time it will be kinder to us on both days!