Mike Anton writes…
Mr Seltzer has done this event before and other similar rides in the area such as the Gorrick enduro. Not having done a proper solo day MTB event since 1997, I was to say the least, out of practice with such things.
However we both agreed to do the 4 hour solo version and come race day set off to Lightwater under generally sunny conditions.
Trail reports beforehand said the course was draining well and generally good with just a few splashy puddles. Of course if we’d had a proper summer it would have all been bone dry and dusty but hey this is Britain in the wettest summer in recent memory.
We didn’t have a chance to ride the course beforehand so come the off we’re straight in to the mix. The first stage was flat and twisty and I managed to keep up with Andy for a while. We then hit a big hill which had everyone pushing up before diving into twisting descents and a couple of more climbs. At this point I lost Andy and tried to settle in to riding at my own pace, all the while being passed by other riders.
By my standards I was having an OK time with the single track sections though it’s very obvious I can’t do this for toffee from the amount of guys who shot past me. There was a big bomb hole I missed on the first lap but subsequently rode without issue.
The course continued with a mix of ups and downs, twisting single track and even a couple of stretches of tarmac to recover on. Towards the end was a not particularly steep descent but the loamy off camber soil was my undoing on two laps, resulting in a trip over the bars on the first attempt.
A flat run back to the start/finish saw my first lap complete in 52 mins, way off the 40 mins or better the fast boys were doing.
Lap two was largely uneventful and I was getting a bit more comfortable with negotiating the singletrack at faster speed. A stop on lap three for more gels and a quick handful of peanuts and raisins didn’t offset my lack of form and I was getting quite tired. By now the two hour competitors were on the course and coming by on a regular basis.
On my final lap I decided to wimp out and stop for a bit to chat with fellow photographer Guy Swarbrick who was covering the event. The little respite was enough to see me get up one of the short sharp hills for the first time and to also keep away from a couple of folk who had been chasing me.
The event finished at 4:30 but you had the option of doing another lap if you went through before the stop time. I’d decided I had enough by 4:25 so bailed and waited for Andy.
He eventually came through just after 5pm to claim an excellent 5th fastest vet with 5 laps in 4:31:35. I managed 10th vet with 4 laps in 3:53:14.
Definitely up for more of this sort of riding but you really do need to put the effort in with practice, especially with negotiating singletrack at speed.
Garmin track – http://connect.garmin.com/activity/199600209