Saturday, 10 September 2011

Kielder 100 - Another Day in Paradise

Last weekend saw my first attempt @ the K100 which if you don't know is a single lap 100mile race heading into and out of Scotland starting from Kielder on the borders.

Our trip with Dr Read, Mr J V had been planned nearly a year in advance with B&B already booked and the with the others already having competed in 2011 I knew what to expect a little. Their were originally 5 of us going me, two Iceni Velo and two VC Norwich riders, but the VC pulled and out and we roped a another newbie in from the XC racing team CCN (City College Norwich).

Early drive on the Friday due to the big distance and a later sign on after a trip to the pub, a bit close for comfort for Mr J V I think. The midges started to bite so we headed off to the B&B @ Snabdough Farm - highly recommended this place amazing value and beautiful rooms and very accommodating even when you come in late and leave @ 4:30am. After a very early start the realisation that it was prob going to rain all-day we were at the race village @ 5:30am still tinkering with our bikes. I thought by getting to the start at 6am, 30mins before the start would allow me a space at the front with the XC boys. No I was about 100 riders back. There were 800 riders entered but I believe only 700 only made it to the sign on (only 700!).
We were off and not be were I wanted to started I has spend the first 5miles taking some risky overtaking moves to get to the top twenty behind the lead-out quad bike.

With this done I could settle in my planned 12mph average, within 30 mins we were soaked through and biked stripped of any lube and the first and only set of brake pads started to fade.
The first two checkpoints were looking could for me and had with my pacing and endurance fitness I was looking at a top twenty. However before I had reached the 50 mile mark my only set of brake pads had completely gone but decided to push on just finished.

A Chance meeting with another East Anglian Gordon Hollingworth and his unfortunate crash and his subsequent retirement gave me 1 set of pads! Thanks Mr H. As only 1 set i put these in the front for maximum stopping power. pushed on but with 1 brake couldn't keep the speed on the descents and within another 20 miles was completely brakeless, pushed and with some dodgy feet anchoring as braking I made the last checkpoints. The last 10 miles meant getting off and walking anything that wasnt uphill which was a lot. Loads of my places passed me in the last hour or so and I had had to walk my bike over the line finishing 51st but bearing in mind that out of the 700 only 177 finished is a testament to how tough the event is.

I finshed a little over 11hrs and returned to the start to find Mr V And Jason had retired after around 30miles. So we went to the pub and waited for Dr Quirky to roll in.....a couple of hours past and still no sign of him but as we heard on the PA that someone had made the last checkpoint and was being escorted by Motorbikes around the course we wondered if it was him. And yes offically last and in 177th position he had made it though in true quirky style still with functioning brakes after only 1 set of pads. A time just under 2.5hrs after I came in but a sterling effort to finsh as 623 riders who didnt even get that far! A truly epic event and has to up there in the hardest 100mile MTB races in the world.

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