Monday, 11 May 2009

Colne Valley Mountain Bike Challenge

With Wildboar 24 now cancelled my racing season started to look a little light… finances are preventing me from travelling big distances and my summer trip hangs in the balance with the destination slowly creeping closer to home to reduce the outlay..
With this bleak outlook I was desperate to get out and get a number on my bike again… quick flick through the usual forums turned up the Colne Valley Mountain Bike Challenge… strictly not a race in the true sense of the word as we would be partially on public roads but strap a number on a bike and put people on a start line together and you bet there will be some racing:)
Research into the event showed that it was a hilly devil... decided that I would have a crack on the singlespeed as all my upcoming events are singlespeed based so good place to give myself a hard time and work out any problems… the times from last year indicated that the 30 mile course would be conquered by the fastest in 2 hours 20ish .. I gave myself a 40 minute buffer as I imagined that singlespeed would see me spinning out on any flat or downhill so aimed for 3 hours..

..side note: people always believe that singlespeeder’s lose out on the climbs.. I don’t find that.. any climb you can’t muscle is nearly always just as quick to walk.. you go faster up the climbs as you have no option but to push the gear you have no matter what you feel like.. where I frustratingly lose time over the geared racers is on the flat and descending where you can’t make any time as you spin the gear out.. annoying but a small price to pay for consistent speed and effort:)

Start of 9am… always nice to get a race done with in enough time to allow you to get home unpack, clean and still enjoy some well earned feet up time being fed by loved ones..

The race started with 30m of slight downhill into a left hand bend then onto the climb from hell… not too long but cobbled and steep… every fully rigid singlespeeders nightmare.. from this a bit more climbing to the start of another cobbled climb but this time wooded and greasy which saw a lot of geared riders walking up it.

The rest of the course followed suit.. we saw a quarry, some boggy wet riding, rocky singletrack descents, road and off road long climbs… on the whole I stood my ground only losing out on the long road descents but being able to make ground up on the long steady climbs which were made for singlespeed riders.
I didn’t wear a watch and I don’t use a computer so just had to instinctively use the 2 gels I carried to see me through to the end.. I opted for a single water bottle and also drunk at 4 of the 5 water stations.. opting for a carrying as little gear as possible approach.

The weather held good with only a hint of rain and was good to chat to some riders as we did some of the climbs.. the course was as described sadistic… steep sharp climbing then quickly losing the gained height to start again.. great stuff and a good challenge as the race title suggested..

Eventually made it back to the finish in 2 hours 34minutes … unknown position.. suspect 20 something.. very happy at only giving away 24 minutes to the winner who was geared over 30 miles.. might come back next year with gears and see how close to 2 hours I can get:)

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