Riding prior to the weekend we had an off road hill climb challenge up a steep technical climb. Granny ring, lots of effort……bang/clatter, damn a familiar result. Another dose of chainsuck but luckily this time only a tube dent, rather than a gouge, twisted the chain up so it was unrideable though. That’s it, this bike is not getting that small ring back on ever.
So Stanmer Park Brighton with just the 31 tooth ring, I wasn’t really looking forward to grinding up climbs for 6 hours, but it had to be at short notice. After a relaxed start and not having even ridden the course it was very stop start on some of the singletrack. It was the usual story at these kind of events, some of the faster starting riders hanging onto their brakes too much meant just grinning and bearing it. Looking at the lap times I was 8th place after first lap, not that I had a clue, and starting the climb on lap 2 I have to admit I felt poor. Plenty of riders kept creeping by on the climbs, I just let them go, even pulling over for them in the singletrack at times. oh well it would be a good conditioning ride for Kielder if nothing else. At this point the course seemed oh so bumpy, I started to convince myself that the full bounce Mojo would be faster and more fun. Coming through the start line again, a few shouts of “where have you been” from friends from the SIP organisers, convinced me I was a slow as it felt. The head started to spiral into quit mode right then, boy it was hot, in could just lie in the sun instead.
About 3 hours in I started to have a battle with rider James Stone. I say battle, it consisted of me watching him gain about 30 seconds on every climb, then I’d end up on his tail for every descent, this happened for 2 laps. At that stage I had no interest in even passing him, 30 mins after that back in the pits I contemplated sitting down, go on said the weak brain, just for a few minutes.
Luckily I didn’t, at this point I was feeding well, had drunk plenty and convinced myself to man up. Taking a caffine shot that was given away by two charming ladies, I convinced myself I was going to finish and set off….back to the same old slow pace. The overall winner, the Big Dog himself Ian Leitch lapped me at this stage. This actually gave me a lift, he was struggling up the climb too, not much faster than me, perhaps I’m surviving ok. One of the climbs is a really slow off camber tricky long slog. It was a bit of a grind on my 1×9 setup, but I was happy that I’d cleaned it every time and the marshalls there seem to have noticed. they seemed to await my arrival and gave me huge encouragment every lap.
At this stage I didn’t speed up as I normally try in events, I couldn’t climb any faster, and I was flat out on the way down for fun on all laps. But I’d certainly laid the quitting part of my brain to rest. The event finishes spot on 6 hrs, and the realisation as I crossed the line at the 5 hour point that I only had one lap to go made it all worthwhile. A White shirt loomed ahead I’d seen him way back on lap 1 was a good target to focus on. I slowly reeled him in, and then just made a point of doing the next good downhill without traffic. Little did I know that I had just taken 3rd place by passing Chris Clarke/Banjo cycles, I was a long way behind winner Ant White and 2nd Nik Pullin but finished on the same 8 laps at least. So 3rd place for a heap of Donkey climbing, 41 secs ahead of 4th and 4mins up on James Stone in 5th.
What a brilliant race course, you have to love a venue that rewards good fast technical riding over extreme climbing speed, it’s not often you finish 6 hours wishing you could just go for another lap.
My Lap times: 8 laps in 5hr45:31
1)42:25 2)42:44 3)42:57 4)42:20 5)43:03 6)44:10 7)44:18 8)43:30
Chuffed – once again I had the fastest lap of any vet riders for the last lap.
Big Dog Pictures site
Results from Timelaps