Mountrain Mayhem – 23rd June

Well, Mountain Mayhem, what can I say….Mudfest, Nightmare, Disaster…. Well for me anyway….

It had rained most of the week on the lead up to the event so calling it boggy doesn’t even come close

I put my hand up when the question was asked who was going to do the run at the start of the race, which was a big mistake. Now I got into running a few years ago, but had problems with my knees so jacked it in. Now I thought it’d be just a short one like Sleepless in the Saddle, but no, it’s long, very long, I guess to string out the huge number of competitors. I hadn’t even got on the bike and my knees were giving me grief! The long run on uneven gound on my MW80 winter cycling boots had taken it’s toll.

Out on the course things got no better. The whole thing was a mess, in a huge amount of places the mud was so bad you couldn’t ride. Pushing was no good either as the muck stuck to the bike. The options were pick the bike up and walk, or run along pushing it, the faster rotation of the wheels seemed to fling off the muck. I tried the pick it up thing, but the extra weight of the mud on the bike made it a nightmare to stay upright, and through the narrow trees it was impossible anyway.

I ran and pushed, it was hurting my knees, but I tried to ignore it. I was riding (well running alot) with Simo from one of our other teams so that kind of helped a bit. A stick jammed through the rear wheel meant I lost Simo eventually, but every so often could see him in the distance so had something to chase. I’d had a couple of minor offs as I headed into the campsite section of the course.

This part was particularly horrible, grass and sticky slippy mud. I took a left turn and to the inside a bloke was on the floor, I went round him but the bike just slipped away. I put my hand out just as he was getting onto his bike, and suddenly found I was holding his rear cassette (the sprockets on the rear wheel to you non cyclists) and my fingers had gone between the spokes! I had a split second where I imagined what was going to happen next, but managed to shout “STOP don’t move”, fortunately he either heard me or felt something push his bike so looked down at me…. Phew, that was bloody close!

The second half of the course was pretty much like the first, push, ride a bit, push some more

I finished the lap, handed the baton over to Mandown and headed to GT HQ to get cleaned up. After some food I headed up to see the other GT team who were camped on the other side of the site on the Mukluk. It got the usual looks of suprise and “Look at the size of those tyres” comments. But as I was riding I was really suffering with pain down the side of my knees. Stop and it would go, but while moving… bloody hell! This was exactly the same as the pain that stopped me running.

I headed back and decided to sit and rest. Earlier Steve Day our Solo singlespeed rider hadn’t shown up at his pits when they were expecting him so at about 21:30 me and Mandown walked over to see if there was any news. He’d been feeling good so had done an extra lap before pitting. As we walked back up the hill I was in agony, and struggled to make it. Not only were my knees giving me major trouble but my back was killing me. At 21:40 when I got back to GT HQ I decided to bin it for the evening, rest, and maybe ride in the morning.

A night of knee pain meant not a great deal of sleep, and when I got up I struggled to walk….. that was it, I was out.

The torrential rain over night meant the course had gone from bad to horrendous and our team pulled out at that point, 5 laps done

I’m not sure when our other geared team pulled out, but they managed 9 laps

Our Singlespeed team kept going to the end with only a small break during the night and did a fantastic 11 laps

Steve Day our Solo Singlespeeder also managed 11 laps but in a quicker time, to take 3rd place on the podium. The 1st and 2nd place in the singlespeed catagory were teams of 4! It’s been said that he’s machine, but as someone pointed out, even machines would have broken down in those conditions! Steve, is…. well, he’s Steve, I tried to think of words but I can’t

This year the organisers started an award for the fastest singlespeed lap, the Nick Wallis Memorial Trophy. Patrick the organiser gave a very emotional speech explaining about the trophy. Steve won it seemed pretty gob smacked that he had. Nick’s widow even came over to congratulate him.

So all in all I had a pretty crappy racing weekend, but being involved with the other GTer helped me have a positive feeling about the weekend in general. Back next year, I would think so….

Oh, and somehow in the occasional sunny spells on the Sunday I managed to get a sunburnt head!

Ride – #105A    Bike – Carver 96er

Miles – 11.4     Total 2012 miles – 2148.2

Ride – #105B    Bike – ’12 Salsa Mukluk

Miles – 1.7      Total 2012 miles – 2149.9

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