2011 season: Volume 2, Part 1

Wednesday 13th July 2011

by MikeC

At the beginning of the year I had decided that June was going to be a chill out month, i.e, no racing and plenty of other activities. The idea was that I could recover from the early season races and have a good end to the season. It worked out quite well as I visited friends in London, made some family visits and attended the best rock festival the UK has to offer, Download. That’s not to say that I didn’t ride my bike, because I did plenty of that, just no racing. One ride in particular stands out. One sunny Saturday morning in early July as I was leaving the house I distinctly remember thinking ‘I may regret this’. I was meeting my Velo29 team-mates for a ride. These rides can differ from week to week, from 2-3 hours very steady to a 6 hour full on suffer fest. With some hard mtb training planned the following day I wanted to ride no more than 60 miles on flat/rolling terrain. When I got there I realised that was never going to happen. So it was that 10 intrepid explorers (ok, 10 skinny cyclists) set out for an adventure (ok, ride) around the North Yorkshire Moors. We cruised the rolling Helmsley TT road, enjoying the view, powered along the flat to Pickering and took it steady over the dales towards Whitby, stopping at a riverside café in Ruswarp for refueling. The next road was right up my street turning from tarmac to a full on rutted, rocky fire-road. How we all got through on 23c tyres without a puncture is nothing short of a miracle! We took the scenic route back through Egton, Lastingham, Danby and Castleton. A cracking day out covering about 80 hilly miles and my only regret would have been if I hadn’t had been there.


So following my easy June month it was time for the next 10 hour mtb race at Galloway Forest Park in south west Scotland. The last two of these events Jason and myself have done as a pair have been awful weather, so I was remaining optimistic with a good forecast. Win’s don’t come by very often but we had won the event last year and hoped to repeat our success. The competition was certainly high with lots of shaved legs on the start line! When the lead out car had pulled over I had to fight a strong urge to chase the guys at the front of the race, they were really pushing. Pacing for these events is key, you can’t win on the first lap but you could certainly loose it by going too hard early on. After 5 hours racing there was 20 seconds between the leaders and us in 2nd. But that’s when it all changed, we kept putting in consistent lap times (my last lap being my fastest) and the other teams started to fade so that by the end we had a winning margin of 16 minutes. A very sweet victory on the best mtb race course I have ridden all year. Some friends had come over from Selkirk to ride in the trios category and they came over to our camp after the race and 6 smelly, sweaty mountain bikers squeezed into Jason’s camper van to avoid the midgies and enjoy a beer. Buzzing from the race, alcohol and caffeine we chatted till past midnight recounting incidents from the race. Collisions with trees, falls into mud, mechanicals and broken saddles all featured in what was the best race weekend of the year so far.

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