The weekend of 15th May saw the Bravehearts of MacRetro take on the Ten Under The Ben 10 hour mtb marathon. Read on to find out about their experiences (or click here for the aftermath thread).
Part 1 – The Ken sets the scene
Most of us set up camp early on Friday evening and headed of up the Aonach Mor gondola for our free meal and free very small malt whisky.
On return the other happy campers had arrived, We had a beer or 2 whilst chatting out in the drizzle taking turns not to out wheelie Eck on his monster San Andreas. Someone had to lift me up to get on it.
We eventually decided at around 11.30 to head off for a decent kip before our dawn rise. Unfortunately it was Dawn that kept us awake, her and her mates in a close by tent had loud discussions about what they saw after they had used the portaloo, and then to make sure we stayed awake started to dare each other to run around the campsite n*ked. Unfortunately it started raining so they were put off. We finally got to sleep about 1.30, although Kaiser and Dyna lasted longer because of the symphony of snoring that ensued.
7.00 Wakey Wakey hands off Snakey! – time to get up…… slowly – we were very tired, the noise of the rain and the freezing temperatures had meant a few of us didn’t get much sleep. New snow on the hill and the apparent reduction in the number of hands snakey needs confirmed how cold it had been.
By time we had got down to the race start and set up a base camp the sun was out and Gaz and Jimi had arrived from their duck down heavens looking fresh as daises, I duly shook their hands.
Kaiser, Zigzag and Velo as team captains and less bandy legs decided they were the ones to do the le-mans type sprint start, the rest of us thought that was fine as we all hate running…. Then we found out the first lap was a ¼ shorter than the rest. Lucky gits.
The sun didn’t last long….
Part 2 – Clockworkgaz describes the course…
The le-mans start was great fun, singularly failed to stretch out the field but did make a very dramatic counterpoint to the loan piper and his shortbread clichéd wail. The sun was shining and everyone was in fine spirits albeit we all had a wee butterfly in the tum tum at the thought of hills, roots, mud, northshore and other unknown terrors that awaited us all.
You’ll be glad to hear that we were all doing our bit to balance out the average body fat index within the amassed pelaton (most of our competitors would be lucky to survive a day in a raymond briggs inspired nuclear winter given the lack of blubber) no such issues with the macretro massive!
We all then headed back to the retro inspired race paddock (some chairs) and thought about the loved ones we had left behind. The rain then came and I and a few other sensible souls piled into kaisers pimp mobile. TK DT and Big Eck then spent 1/2 an hour making some sort of sail/trampoline/roof-like construct to keep us all dry- a valiant if futile and highly comic effort it has to be said.
In no time at all Zigzag arrived claiming victory on the first lap, followed by Kaiser sporting a massive bruise and dribbles of blood from the first tumble of the day (was an outrageous technical descent that was never to be seen again) and then velo bringing up the rear- so to speak.
Note to reader, this is how I remember the course it will probably bare no resemblance to how it “actually was” but hey ho and away we go.
It was now time for Rado, Me and a bit latter Robmac (i think) to take on the course. It was a 10mile (2000ft of climbing) figure of eight type thang, watersplash pretty much straight away to get your feet wet and pretty much pishing it down till the half way point. The ground was good to soft and some nice twisty rooty singletrack then flowed onto some killer fire road climbs- up up and away!
This then allowed some pretty fast and flowing descents before immediately sending us skywards again. Some nice wee sections again with a loamy soil and some cracking 45 degree roots to test your skills or lack of.
Climbing again up the back of the base camp on the slopes of Ben Nevis this time for what felt like an age until you reached the sweetest flowing singletrack and mushy technical drops, twists and turns any man could wish for- loved this bit even given that my bottle cracked on more than a few occasions.
We then went away from the finish in an excursion into frustration before slingshot-ting back towards base and macho banter- nice.
Had over to Jimi, kaiser and then Mr Panda (I think-went to sleep in the car) but not before wondering at the magnificent structure that was being erected at macretro base camp #2!
The gazebo of love was a sight to behold and before long it was time to hit the trails again, everyone put in a sterling effort and much, men-on-bike-action, ensued.
The back up team were everything and more washing bikes, full body massages you name it. Big Eck frightened the local neds on his massive bike on the downhill red, much preferring the gondola ride up the hill freewheel down approach, so much so he did it twice!
The banter was awesome and the effort was gargantuan even given the human frailties on display. A pat on the back to everyone!
That said……………………………if ZZ every disrobes like that again, I will be petitioning the powers that be for a restraining order.
Part 3 – Turnout and results
A decent turnout for Mactretro – We put up 3 teams: a duo and 2 Quads but the demise of JamieDyers Van meant one Quad became a trio.
Team Duo: Dos ecurie macretro – 99th out of 167, total time 8:50:51
Team Trio: Macretroleurs – 57th out of 94, total time 8:46:25
Team Quad: Macretro GrannyGrinders… 26th out of 29, total time 9:49:55
Dyna Ti – camp management and mechanic.
Big Eck – mechanic and downhill track assessment.
Cows in Cars was also at the event riding solo on a modern but he is missing in action as we didn’t see him over the weekend.
Part 4 – Dyna-ti on the base camp experience…
Well. Can’t really add to what’s been said, but I’ll give it a go.
This was my first experience of MTB racing and it was an incredible sight to see. So many fit (and fit looking) people together in one place and an overwhelming sense of team spirit and goodwill towards all. Loads of disc brakes, infact outside of the MacRetro team cantis were thin on the ground. Hats off to Rado, Velo, The Ken and Jimihendrix for riding on them.
Special awards must go to Velo for his rigid bike skills and the fact he sported the brightest top of anyone within a 10 mile radius.
Accompanied the mob up the gondola (another first for me) for the pre-race meal – pasta bolognese and garlic bread. As we went up you can get a good view of the downhill runs – Bloody Hell, I’m not sure I ever ever want to try that without someone to hold my hand on the way down! Those pro downhillers really must have a screw loose.
Campsite was cleg city but fortunately for everyone The Ken brought a tent big enough for them to all fit in so me and Rado were pretty clear in our tent. Thanks TK. I’d say good time had by all. Cheers to all the organisers. A job well done.