Andy Seltzer writes…
Sunday saw the final round of the SAMS mountain bike race series and the second appearance this season at the Pippingford Estate on Ashdown Forest close to Chelwood Gate. This was also going to be my second appearance this season in a SAMS race. Previously I had ridden round 5 at Chawton Park near Alton which after heavy rain had the course had turned into a bit of a mud bath.
No such problems this weekend despite heavy rain during the week the course was a peach and what mountain bike cross country racing should be about. For those of you wanting to ride on Ashdown Forest here’s your chance, lots of high speed singletrack descending through the woods including a very long descent that the land owner had very thoughtfully built berms into for a truly grin inducing ride. The majority of the climbing was on gravel roads and although tough the course did seem to have that unique blend were there seemed to be more descending than climbing.
Just after midday I lined up for the start of the veterans race which had 39 starters with the leaders in the series girded ahead of us I lined up near the back of the field or that is my excuses. There was a long section at the start across a field which helped to string the race out before the first section of single track and by the time I had reached the long descent those in front were out of sight. A few days mountain biking in Spain with Gary and Sarah still hadn’t turned me into a down hill god!
I completed the 3 lap race which was close to 15miles in 1hr 25minutes to take 24th place some 16 minutes down on the race winner Mark Chadbourne of Ride Bike .co.uk. Tough but fun racing.
The real winner on the day though was the venue which is going to be used for the 2010 National Championships and on Sunday had attracted nearly 300 competitors in the various categories from the under 8s to the Grand Veterans.