What a fantastic day.
A slightly overcast morning with a few spots of rain at lunch turned into a beautiful sunny afternoon and early evening. The course had been well planned with cracking technical singletrack, fast dusty trails and some calf cramping climbs right from the start.
Team Retrobike arrived early and pitched camp
An addition this year (you can sort of see it) of a loop at the start. This was for the junior races, already under way at 9.30am and for the seniors to space out a little before the climb into the woods.
The junior event took me straight back to being a kid and watching other people's parents..the sight of one junior in particular (obviously spurred on by a pushy father) dressed in all the kit, on a shiny looking modern machine in full floods of tears, managing two full loops despite the blubbing and the snot. Well done that dad.
Once the camp was set, bikes were offloaded and the third member of the Retro Metro's (Danno) joined us
The elite racing machines, primed and ready..
As the morning drew on, and the start time came ever closer, the tension in the camp was almost palpable, and the nerves began to show..
Fixies completing a brake block change in record time
Warpedboy2 and his friend wandered over with their bikes for a chat
Then it was time to Race!
I volunteered to do the first lap, something I'm not sure I'll be doing again. Far too many serious people at the start wanting to get out in front, so I hung back...right back. I now understand why there was a lot of vying for position. The first loop to spread the field out at the start made absolutely no difference whatsoever.
Once round the loop, being encouraged by my team mates and fellow Retrobikers with shouts of "you're only 4th from the back" and "I can't believe you're not last", spurred me on up the hill only to grind to a halt in the ensuing bottle neck at the treeline. This wasn't so bad as there wgood company to chat with for the mile walk up the part of the hill.
Once the traffic spread out a bit, and I could get back on the bike, the riding was incredible. Bunched up, spread out, overtaking, undertaking, shouts of "Left or right mate?" and more than one or two crossed words. I was surprised at the number of snapped chains that first lap out, only one or two punctures that I noticed and a couple of off's, though nothing too serious.
The highlight of my first lap was coming back into the woods after the climb from the second road bridge, a few of us bunched up together and as we cornered past a marshall, a man ran out of the bushes and began to race after the large chap next to me, whipping him with a huge branch for a good 10 metres. I asked if this was a common occurance, and was told that he normally had to race further afield to avoid him. class.
My first lap all too quickly, though gratefully came to a close as I swept out of the woods onto the field and up past my "helpful" teammates, to meet Rabbit at the changeover point.
When I got there, unbeknowsnt to me, Rabbit had gone one fettle to far..
So he went out on my Kona, and still managed a respectable lap despite the "freakishly long legged" set up.
Without his bike though, he didn't want to push his luck, and settled for just the one lap.
Danno went out and put in a very respectable hour long lap, suprising me at basecamp, meaning I had to cycle hard up to the changeover point to carry on for my second.
The field had spread out a lot more by this point, and the second lap was truly a joy, despite the burning lungs and cramping legs at the top of the 2 mile climb from the start, the rest was just pure fun from then on.
After my lap, Danno went on to do another hour long lap, making it 5 lap intotal for 5 hours 10 minutes
On to some gratuitous action shots..
our very own Bryann555 on his fastest sub 40 minute lap
bat40a6 on a very commendable 7 lap marathon solo effort
and the ever delicate GreenRabbit
The retro boys cleaned up, with the team, Retro Metro's and pairs, Cracking Pace Adrian (fixies and Bryan555) taking first and first respectively
Danno, GreenRabbit and BobCatMax in the victors spoils
The prize of Heckle of the day goes to IbeleiveinFixies
"go on Barry, give it morecock"