Saturday, August 01, 2009

Bontrager 24/12

Well, as I sit here, glass of wine in one hand, slightly crunchy from the sun and totally bloody relaxed for once, it’s easy to forget the screaming lungs, exhaustion and sheer fun of a week ago.

What is it in modern life that just makes you knackered all the time? For me, its been six weeks of twelve hour days and full on weekends where you just try and ram in the good stuff and wake up on Monday morning worse than on Friday night. Vicious circle. On top of that, my sister was married during the week, which was excellent and amazing fun, but additionally knackering. Anyway, enough of that.

12 hours after dancing like a fool and shouting ARCH! whilst totally murdering kaigleigh classics, having somehow managed to wangle out off a weekend of babysitting (sorry girls!), Anthony and I were speeding off down to Plymouth for the Bontrager 24/12, my first ever mtb race, with only one person that I knew, totally excited and bricking it… - By the way, you’ll have to put up with a long waffling post, as my mother in law is watching eastenders and I have nothing better to do.

The smile of an idiot who has no idea of what is to come...

Arriving to find that the two old experienced dogs of this motley crew had organised the best bloomin pitch ever, we set up Anthony’s oversized MAN tent next to our non race branded gayzzeeeebo and Nicks super sweet split screen camper and set about talking shop. Timings, strategy, tyre choice (big discussion, that one – I’d brought one pair and they were black), weather and the whos who of whats hot and whats not. Mostly I was bowled over by the size of the event and was reliably informed that it was a lot bigger and better than the previous year. Sound system going, food, clothing and parts tents and a real buzz and with a course improvement on the last event, all that could ruin it would be rain.


James fettles in camp.

Steve power napping.

We were entered as two teams into the ‘Just for Fun’ event where six riders pass a baton and do as many laps as pos in 24 hours. Other categories were the open (I think) which were 5 strong (more laps per person, obviously), so harder, and then those nutters that fall into the serious categories of dual 12/24 hours and then solo 12 and the psychos in solo 24. Ahem.

The rest of the lads arrived the next morning, and I’d already been given the heads up on some of them. The whole of the two teams were strong and enthusiastic trail riders, with some extra special times expected from a few, one of which was billed as Dan the Machine, he’s an ex-marine. He did not disappoint and apparently he and Ash know Oli Beckinsale, so nuff said. I was feeling like a porky freeride light-er, with no climbing prowess to my name, but hopeful that the Remedy would get me out of the poo.

After the non-event of the briefing, we all fettled a bit and the first riders made ready for the elbows out start. It was great seeing Keith Bontrager start the gig with a shotgun. Classic. So we were off and I was already getting the nerves and I had over two hours to wait! The course was 13km, not overly technical with single track and quite climby. Really good times would come in in the thirties, whilst competitive rides would be mid forty mins to 55 mins or there abouts.


Elbows out!


Ash on the hone run.

Steve in the zone.

All too soon, I found myself in the pen waiting for Ian to arrive and hand me the baton – which we’d forgotten to take on the first two rounds so I had it in my pocket already! Then I was off, and adrenaline pumping, got my first run of the course (I should really have ridden it to sus it, but what the heck, I like to think I can ride anything on-spec). The first climb was open and long and as always, a rude awakening, followed by sucky mud single track (the kind that makes you think you’ve punctured) whilst still being pretty dry. There was then a good mix of climbing and one section of lovely fast single track with a slight downhill gradient, but a lot of the down was on fire-road type open trail. Boo. Then another big climb sponsored by Cliff Bar (I now hate them, having never tried their product), a river splash (or bridge) and trail before a slight climb and then down on grass and through the encamped riders, for cheers and abuse.

Everyone’s first runs were good, with promises of getting quicker next time. Everyone except Dan who had a blow out (putting him onto his single speed for the next runs!) and Paul on my team who went in with gusto and was cut up after clearly indicating that he was passing on one of the down hills. One 25mph crash later and the St Johns guys were so excited to have a real victim that he was neck braced and stretchered before you could say Kili Flyer. This had a knock on effect for our team and we were lucky that he was spotted by one of the other chaps from our two teams. He had the dubious pleasure of getting taken to Hospital and looked nicely cut up in the back of the ambulance. Luckily nothing too major except a broken collar bone.

Dan's single speed Trek.

Engineers are soooo organised...


Nick looses valuable tenths, showboating...

The rounds continued with people putting in quicker times and soon night was upon us. We’d all been comparing lights and I had borrowed Daryl’s Hope and Joystick combo which was awesome. I think that would have been my quickest lap, but both my contacts came out and my shoelace wrapped itself round my pedal, forcing three annoying stops. Dan put in some awesome times on his single speed (38 mins anyone?) and people were stating to look tired! Its great, thinking you’ll have four hours off but in reality that means pasta, loo, try and sleep and then before you know it putting wet gear back on and tinkering before taking your place in the pen. The fact that an Ausiie girl was shouting ‘PUSH IT WITH THE LEGS!’ continuously for 6 hours meant that sleep was fitfull…


Knackered Dan.

Mat on it!

I didn’t get any night photos cos I was knackered. Rubbish. The dawn shift came and we were all doing ok with some great consistent times from both teams. I went out and had a full on full speed impact with a rock on the fast swoopy section with the log jump option. This completely took out my left pedal and trying to continue I took the thread clean off both and had to cut short as my pedal kept falling out! I was ten mins early back to Ash’s surprise, but the rest of the guys did a sterling job with Steve and Dan being absolute heroes and doing extra laps.

It started to rain as things wound up and we were stoked that Anthony’s team had com in 5th and ours 9th. Awesome! Everyone looked shattered and people slowly wound on home. An excellent weekend and I can’t wait to get back with the IBFC crew!

James enjoying the single speed, seemingly oblivious that he's in a race!

Anthony coming in.

1 comment:

Style Slave said...