Monday, 12 March 2012

Wentwood 50k Race Report

Honestly that was one of the best events I have done for ages, the combination of warm sunny weather and one of the best endure courses this side of the channel and it was bound to be a bit special.  Being just over the water between Chepstow and Newport meant a nice (relativity) lazy start for me, the 10.30 start meant we had time to waste in Ian’s Dropoff bus, although the bacon and egg butty would come back to haunt me it was certainly exactly what was needed at the time…

Lining up near the front of the line with Rickie Cotter and last years joint fastest rider (The sprint finish was agreed to be a dead heat by all involved) Bikeshed Wales’ Simon Smith I was a little concerned as to whether I had the legs to be this far up – glancing back down the country road it was clear that being any further back would have involved some rather enthusiastic overtaking before having a clear run at the descents. As the gun went off the sun broke through the clouds and a long and rather fast spin up through the village ensued, within a mile or so all the riders had strung out with Si and the Torq boys charging off into the distance and me playing cat and mouse with the following group, catching them on anything that wasn’t a hill (mental note. Must do some hill reps)

Petty soon the tarmac broke away and we were on to some of the nicest single-track this part of the world had to offer, being fairly near the front I had a pretty much unimpeded run at most of it, the new Planet X Dirty Harry frame being thrown from line to line with very little complaint. The size of the event meant that some very nice and quite cheeky trails could be used, something that I think can be lacking from some of the larger event – this did mean you had to stay on your toes making sure to catch all the signage arrows (More than once we would take different lines only to re-emerge at the same spot) but as far as I’m concerned this is how mountain biking should be!

Just over three hours later I rolled back into the carpark, most race courses you can look back on saying you enjoyed it; this is one of the few where you couldn’t help but whoop and holler on the way round – I don’t want to go into detail about every thing that will stick in my mind simply because id be here all day! Suffice to say it’s already in my diary for next year and I think it should be in yours to.

The official photos should be out soon but just to give you a taste of what it was like - heres an image from last years event...

Two things that became very apparent during the race is how fast the Harry is when climbing, and how good the brakes are – the new hope evo’s are absolutely stunning even with the 160 rotors and bigger wheels. The other and slightly more worrying thing is that I seem to have lost some of my hillclimbing nouse, I’m blaming not living in Wales anymore although some might say it’s the lack of time in the saddle…

Next big race will be the Gorrick 100 in may although before that I have a charity 24hr ride taking in the whole of the Wessex way, that’s now a little under three weeks away, to say were a bit unprepared would be putting it politely but knowing the lads like I do I’m confident we’ll pull through, ill be putting some words down about that soon so watch this space!

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