I’ll set the scene, it’s Friday evening, you’ve just driven 5 hours to a race site and you’re pitching your tent, it’s all going well.
You then catch up with some old riding buddies and sit by the fire relaying stories of past bike exploits. You then think, well it’s time for bed, gotta get that respite before the race tomorrow. So you’re in your sleeping bag getting all snuggled when suddenly the heavens open and for the next how ever many hours you lay there listening to the torrential rain tearing at your tent walls.
The wind then picks up, you’re thinking ‘well I’m either going to be blown away or float off when the river that I’m camped next to burst it’s banks’. Envisaging BBC news the following morning – lost campers found stranded out to sea!!
But somehow you manage to get some shuteye, and as you open that door zip and look out, you see carnage!! I’m talking gazebos that have been up rooted, tents that have collapsed and probably the most horrific, your kit bag sitting in the middle of a large puddle! Pants. Good start to a 24hr mtb race!
I’ve been riding this event for years now and have always had an awesome time. It’s a super course that has a bit of everything including British mtb history when the Grundig world cup was held there in 1998, which I also raced in! Showing my age now.
I think sometimes when conditions are at their worst it somehow becomes that much more enjoyable, everyone is in the same boat. Having to walk that blasted off-camber singletrack section or put on those cold wet muddy shorts from your previous lap. It’s character building I reckon.
With a team of 5 consisting of myself, Chris, Rune, Jason and James we managed to complete 21 laps putting us into 6th position overall in the mixed cat, which was a nice bonus to the weekend.
It was an absolute pleasure riding with those guys, non-stop banter and James’ enthusiasm that never faltered! We also managed to avoid any mechanicals or injuries, which was pretty lucky seeing as a snapped mech and chain was a common occurrence throughout the race.
Even though my bike now runs like a bag of spanners and my mountain of kit washing doesn’t seem to be reducing I wouldn’t have changed anything about the weekend, it’s was brilliant and I came away as usual with a massive grin on my face that I got to ride my bike and hang out with some lovely people.
That’s what two wheels are for!