Thursday, 20 June 2013

Mayhem, well sort of.

I’ve not done a 24hr in a team for a good few years a combination of focusing on the longer distances, a healthy hatred of sprint work and just a little bit of laziness meant that everything I did , I did on my own. But a last minute, well week, call up by Johnny from Loco meant that it was going to be another long weekend in a damp field for me.

If im honest the idea of  a new venue did not fill me with excitement, one that had not been used for MTB racing before only added to my trepidation – I will admit to being bias towards Eastor Park, rose tinted memories of growing up riding the Malvern’s, watching Warner, Peat and Lazenby having sneaked over the hills into the Classic, that and I actually enjoyed the obelisk climb. Yes I need help I know.

The campsite was noticeably smaller than Eastnor, hopes of a better atmosphere were damped down as it began to rain, a few beers later and an early night ready to ride the ‘new never been ridden’ course at first light. With the ever present danger of 1000's of riders trapsing over freshly cut tracks I hope Pat and his team had done a good job.

If you’d asked me on that first lap if I could pack up and go home I would have bitten your arm off, maybe I’m spoilt, maybe my expectations have crept up or maybe im just getting grumpy in my old age but the course really didn’t fill me with that ‘ive got to ride this’ feeling that I would hope for in event of this size. Both myself and Ian were feeling petty down about it all – driving most of the way across the country to ride round a damp field is not really the best way to spend the weekend. Having come this far it would be rude just to head home, and Johnny had some home made gel that needed trying so it was with a modicum of enthusiasm and a bucket load of caffine that I lined up for my first lap, third in a team of five. Well its amazing what some race bred adrenaline, a bit of mud and some riders to chase can do for a course, although there was no single track of any note (Trails you can get two bikes down side by side is NOT single track) and some of the hills were so steep that all but the very best were off and pushing it was good fun seeing just how fast you could throw the bike into the now bare bedrock corners.

As Ian has detailed the race progressed through the night with the course going from sticky to very sticky and back again, the final few miles actually reminding me of the time trial I did a few weeks ago, long hard pack climbs holding onto the middle of the bars with legs complaining.  I did realise that it was the first time I had ridden a bike at night since October last year, unfortunate this came back to me as I was heading into a muddy corner on the rapid side, somehow I made it through the other side…

We came 8th in the end which I’m quite pleased with, admittedly a lot to do With Gareth and Johnny from Loco turning themselves inside out but I like to think we all did our parts. Maybe if I started riding the MTB more than once every 6 months we might move up a bit more!

As usual great to catch up with Jon from Scimitar, thanks to the LOCO boys for the invite and Simon for bringing a back up gazebo at the 11th hour!

France next, one mountain bike, two cyclocross tyres, 985 miles, and eight days. Errrrrmmmm….

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