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Devinci team training for Cape Epic

Friday, March 7th, 2014

Little Write up From our team riders in South Africa:

New Zealand?
Have you been there? Well if you haven’t then it’s got to be on the list for biking, Plus lot’s of other things. Over the next few months Amanda & I are going to write about some of the big country ride we’ve done over the years traveling around the world. New Zealand has more to offer than any other country I’ve been too. Amanda, the cheeky little Kiwi chic knows NZ So well & what better guide to have to get you Lost! Only joking, she’s great in the big out Doors. Better than Me. Aj know’s her way around.
Aj is from the South Island, Nelson, which is almost at the top. Her mum lives In a Wee town of 10 or so houses, Called Upper Takaka. This is where we’re, going to start the first trail, right from the front door. Now one thing you have to know about NZ, is Hills, errr, BIG Hills & Mountains, No way on earth would I just use a single ring in NZ, Double and maybe Treble. Now I have to laugh when people say Snowden in Wales is huge…. Err No it isn’t. Our first hill starts right from the front door, & it’s Up Up Up, to about 850mt. We’ve just started at about 50mt, Lucky it’s road all the way up to the top of the Takaka Hill. With a good push we both can make it up to the top in just under the hour. When up the top. The views looking west over the Western Ranges ranges “Mountains” are just stunning, a bit like mini Alps. As soon as we catch our breath we have a little down before we make our turn left off road. But first we have a quick look at the Takaka Mummified Cow, yep Moo Moo decided to take shelter & got stuck & is now Mummified! Strange But true.
As we start our short down, you can see Nelson City over 100ks away in the distance with another mountain range behind it, that also has some amazing rides, but more on that later. The sea is just stunning Blue as the sun reflects. To my right, there is another Mountain range with Mount Arthur towering above, which forms part of The Takaka hill.
So we turn Left & the fun starts to begin, oh more hills to climb. Past a few houses with some of the best views ever, we’re now on a two wheel drive track weaving our way up to a Place called howords Hole. It’s a Hole! Yes A very Big Hole, I’m not too sure how deep it goes, But I know it’s a long way down, 600mt abseiling. But before we get to that we have to go through this strange forest. Where Amanda say’s they have one massive New years party, & Yes it’s Summer! Just think huge party, no one to wake, Only Sheep! We are in NZ, baarrrrrrr

Ellsworth Carbon Evolve 29er

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Well another race season is looming and I am really excited as this year I have a new race bike the Ellworth Carbon Evolve and it is stunning. This must be the best looking bike Ellsworth have produced with its sleek lines and etched writing in the frame really does make it stand out.
So what build do you ask? Well I used most of the parts off my previous race bike and upgraded the wheels and forks so here is current spec.
Sram XX cranks with 39-28 rings, SramXX shifters and rear mech, XTR front mech, XT pedals, Hope X2 brakes, Cane Creek headset, Easton Haven carbon low rise bars, ESI grips, Specialised carbon seat post with a phenom seat, Fox Float Kashima forks, Fox Float CDT Kashima rear shock 120mm and Specialized Roval control SL carbon 29er wheelset with Specialized fast trak tyres.

I was a little worried about it being a longer travel bike especially as I race endurance and XC BUT having now ridden this for the last 2 weeks definitely have no worries but do have a huge grin on my face as this bike is really fast. It climbs extremely well would liken it to a goat and descends like a demon (if I let it ha ha) and I was really surprised at how fast the pickup speed is especially for a 29er I would almost say it nearly as good as the 26 for response a very awesome bike to say the least.

I must say a huge thank you to the guys at Freeborn as the frame only arrived 5 days before I was departing for Cape Town and they managed to get it all built up for me you guys ROCK!
I have my first race on 15 to 17 Feb. It’s a 3 day MTB race in the Ceres valley so whilst I may not be in full race fitness I am really looking forward to this one to help brush off the cobwebs.

Happy riding


Steve and Ian 3 – The Saga Continues

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

No matter how awesome the riding in Whistler and Pemberton is, it’s gone once the snow hits. Spending copious amounts of time with Steve this summer I really noticed a few weak spots in his training program, so Mikey and I headed to Vancouver Island to guide him to further World Cup wins. Checking out the forecast before we were headed out, it looked to be the rainiest 4 days in recent memory. So I grabbed a 15 pack of Lucky and headed to the Island to check out the Island life. Growing up in Whistler, I’ve been exposed to sick trails, rowdyism, bonfires, chainsaws, fireworks and numerous other exciting activities, but nothing would prepare me for the Island.

Downhill National Champs, Moelfre.

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

I don’t know what sort of deal Farmer Jack has struck with the devil, but every time in recent history a race at Molfre has meant balmy sun, big turnouts and bikes going flat out. This makes for a great race weekend. With the field still boggy from a near cancelation amount of rain fall in the last few weeks, the sun of Saturday morning was a great relief.

Saturday practice was business as usual with all riders smashing out quick runs interspersed with bike set up. All riders made it through practice with the exception of Gareth Weston who went down going fast and was rag dolled down the hill. Saturday ended with more great weather, a couple of beers and a decent nights sleep.

Sunday turned out to be even sunnier then Saturday. Practice went well with no more major problems. Craig Taylor (Masters) was on a storming qualifier which until the last turn would have had him in second but a lost front end and a meeting with some course tape put an end to that. With no injuries we kept our fingers crossed for race runs. Russell Paver and James Kidd both put in solid runs coming in the top 20 in seniors. Both happy they had some more to give. Callum was on a solid run but somewhere along the line he hit his mech and as he go to the four cross jumps his lower jockey wheel split and sent his chain all over the place. He managed to pump to the bottom still getting a respectable time.

After a a quick clean of the bikes and a few bananas for the riders, race runs were under way. Nerves were high but all the boys put that aside to have Devinci / Haven’s best race result as a team! Craig put in a great run taking 5th in Masters. Callum put in a really solid run to come 22nd in Juniors which is no mean feat. Russell came in 7th and James 5th in Seniors. Amazing work. National Champs not only was the most important race in British Callander but also turned out to be the best too.Take a run down the National Champs track with Devinci/Haven Distribution team rider, James Kidd.

Pearce Cycles Downhill Series Round 4, Bala, Wales

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Having raced at Bala last year, I enjoyed the speed of the super fast top portions of the track, but also the lower, techy root sections and I was really excited to come and support the team this year. The weather, on the other hand, had different plans for the track this year. We arrived to a very wet field after a night of constant rain.

Practice went well for everyone with the course running surprisingly fast, although throughout the day the course became progressively more rutted, despite Dave Pearce’s relentless effort with an axe to resolve the problem.

Following a dry night, the course on race day had gone from fast and loose to sticky and slow with the final grass straight turning bikes into what looked like strange victorian wattle and dawb machines.

After frantic jet washing and prep, first runs began with Monet Adams (Elite Women) flipping her bars in one of the huge holes that had developed in the root sections on course. Craig Taylor ( Masters) came down with a solid run placing him well in the top ten. Jack Chapman (Seniors) got down the hill but was caught out by another wheel sized hole. Gareth Weston (Seniors) put in a solid run placing him in the top 20.

After another marathon jet washing session, second runs started with Monet having a couple of moments but still grabbing 2nd in Elite. Nice. Craig had another solid run going 3 seconds faster, putting him 7th in Masters. Jack had another run in with a hole and was again ejected forwards from his bike. Still loving every second on the bike, I’m sure Jack will be back smashing out runs soon. Gareth had a couple of moments in his second run, so with his first time standing, this gave him enough for 22nd. New to the bike and the team, this is a great start and and I’m sure things will only be on the up from here.

After a bottle of brake fluid, countless pads and almost 1000 litres of water, Bala is over. An amazing course in the dry and a dangerous course in the wet. Roll on National Champs at Molfre next week!


Black Mountains 3 Day – Day 3

Monday, July 16th, 2012

So, after another night of broken sleep (although better than the first night) I woke to brightness shining through the tent – it seemed the weather had been kind to us, which was confirmed as I dragged my sorry state out of the tent and into bright sunshine. I was really really enjoying this trip, and particularly looking forward to Day 3, as the day was billed as slightly shorter, a lot less mud, big scenery, and some trails that I’d ridden before.

With breakfast done and faffing completed, we got cracking at 8:45. No organised or escorted start today – it was a case of crossing the electronic start sensor and away you go. Today we were to start with a few road miles to get us into the hills proper – a section that would be our return journey too, and my mate and I rode with Darren and AJ for a couple of miles as we warmed up and got stiff legs moving again. Unsurprisingly, they soon pulled ahead and left us with the usual AJ cheery smile.

Before long we were in the village of Talybont and at the foot of the Brinore Tramway climb. This is a trail I’m familiar with, having ridden it a couple of years ago, on the ride that killed my Ellsworth Joker. It’s a very long, stoney but steady climb that I was comfortable with and even enjoying, but my mate was suffering with his back and a hardtail bike, so the pace slowed a bit.

All of a sudden we veered off the Tramway trail and headed steeply down a trail that I didn’t know. It was a wide track with big rocks, running water and ruts and a lot of rain debris and some quite tricky bends considering the high speed and amount of water around! It was a great descent, right to the valley floor, where the trail crossed a wooden bridge over the river, and climbed steeply up the other side of the valley on a tiny singletrack climb that was a real technical challenge. This trail then popped out onto a wide and picturesque fireroad that continued to climb out of the tree line.

At this point, Darren and AJ went past us, with another cheery wave. This confused my small ineffective brain as I thought they were ahead of us, but it turned out that they’d missed a turn very early on in the day and had lost a great deal of time, which was a shame, but they were still grinning (and moving fast!)

After a while there was a super fast winding fireroad descent, where I felt like a roady in the Alps – awesome fun, including the bend where I suddenly saw many skid marks and realised that I too was going way to fast as the bend tightened. I added to the collection of skid marks and just managed to stop the bike going over the edge of the hillside – great fun!

I then recognised where we were as the trail came out on the road, a road I knew to be a super steep and tough climb, as I’d done it before on the way to riding the Gap Road 6 years ago. Hey ho, I told myself I like the challenge of climbing, and got it done. The route then turned off back in a downward direction and into a whole different world of mud and both running and pooled water. This trail was an absolute scream to ride, much different to yesterdays muddy hell, mainly because of the downward gradient, and also the fact that there was a firm rocky base to the trail meaning speed! I got soaked to the bone, as a lot of the trail was a flowing stream, and my feet were frozen, but I didn’t care!

It nearly went wrong a couple of times as the speed increased, one time when I hit a huge puddle and went in over the front axle – sheer will power kept me out of that water! All too soon it was over, and the feed station appeared, where we took the opportunity to laugh lots, re-stock with food and drink, and then set off up the trail for more climbing.

From this point we were going high into the Brecon Beacons, a long long climb on varying paths. My friend’s back was really suffering by now, so this climb was taken gently. The scenery became ever more impressive as we got onto the ridge high above Talybont Reservoir and further onto a high level plateau. I know this bit of trail – the Joker died up here, it’s bleak. The weather had closed in on us a bit as we progressed across the plateau, through deep ruts and boggy trails, and for a while it was a case of head down and just keep turning the pedals.

Before too long, we arrived at another spot I knew, and that caused a big lift in my spirits – we were about to head up onto the Gap Road section, and, the weather gave us a break and cleared. As we began the climb up to the col, the views up to Pen-y-Fan just got better and better. I love it in this part of the world!

We got the climb done and stopped for a brief moment at the col to take in the breathtaking views, which were now all around us, and looked down at the trail we were about to tackle – the infamous Gap descent.

It starts really rocky, with huge boulders strewn around, and gradually gets a bit smoother, and a lot faster. I love it – and got some serious speed up, managing to bunnyhop the large waterbars/ trenches and keep the speed up – definitely the highlight of the weekend!

At the gate at the bottom of the main descent, we took a turn that I didn’t expect, down a really narrow trail with overgrown bushes either side – so much so that you could barely see the trail in front of you, which contained many large rocks, it was an amusing a tricky trail, especially with the tired body objecting, and I passed a guy having a serious sense of humour failure – literally shouting out what a ridiculous trail it was – a very funny moment, as I squeezed by him. The trail gods then added running water to increase the bonkers amusement, before exiting the trail onto a road, and a perfect spot to look back at where we’d come from.

From here, it was a more or less flat run to the finish, across various fields, o country roads and along the towpath of the canal, before rejoining the outward trail for the last 5 miles or so back to the finish. These last few miles were a fun sparring race between us and a group of South African guys, until a puncture for one of them saw us safely beat them off.

I collapsed in a joyous heap over the finish line, with a huge sense of satisfaction and achievement that I’d got through this epic adventure unscathed, that the weather had been reasonably kind to us and that I’d loved every second of it. I will be back to do it next year!

Big Daddy

Black Mountains 3 Day Event 2012 Day 2

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

Morning dawned, after a rough night for me, including needing to get up for a wee in the rain, and soaking myself as I fell against the wet tent, but the sun was shining, and I got up with optimism and excitement in my bones for the day ahead.
After a big full English brekkie (and cereal – think it’s called carb loading!) and the usual faffing around, the riders assembled on the start line, ready for our police escort down the A40 to Crickowell, which turned out to be just in time for a big heavy shower to dump all over us and ensure that the lovely Gortex demo Jacket I’d got my hands on was worn from the off. We lined up next to Darren and AJ on their Ellsworth Witness tandem, and then we were off, following the police car, before peeling off the man road and up a steep country road, and into the 68kms of route proper. I was definitely not racing today – the aim was to survive and enjoy, and leave something in the tank for tomorrow, so I would be sticking together and working with my mate for the duration of the day in the Black Mountains.

The rain had settled to a drizzle by now, and the legs were warmed up as we did got offroad for the first time, down a wide rocky and muddy descent to a river, then climbing up, and into a long narrow path that had become a constant stream – the first wet feet of the day (I don’t recall them ever drying out!).

A while later there was an ever steepening road climb, that reduced a few riders around us to walking (no way I was going to walk on a road climb on a mountain bike, pride you know…) the climb continuing into a stepped and tricky path that eventually had us all pushing for a while, until we emerged out of the tree cover and onto a grassy hillside and into the mountains proper.

The weather had dried up by now, and the first hints of sunshine had appeared as we headed down again, into a valley floor, before turning a corner and seeing where the route went next… Up. Severely up – we could see a line of riders carrying their bikes up onto a beautiful ridge top with stunning views all around. After a brief fuel stop, we set off on the challenge, trying to ride as high up as possible. I got perhaps half way, and then it was a case of bike on the back (as learnt in the Alps last year) and hike up to the top.

The view from the top was awesome and inspiring, and I took a few moments to drink it all in, and appreciate where I was.

All too soon, it was time to crack on. The next section of the route eventually took us across a high plateau, which was rutted, muddy and boggy. All of a sudden a squally storm blew in, and visibility disappeared, the wind howled and the rain was horizontal. The riding became really tricky, and I realized I wasn’t enjoying this bit. I slipped and slid forward as best I could, and as the trail started to head down I got some speed up, then crashed heavily, getting crossed up across 2 ruts and landing in the bushes. I crashed twice more, but no damage done, except a few bruises, I reined myself in, told myself to concentrate and managed to get through this section, which finished off by heading down steeply and off camber, where it picked up a road section and towards the feed station.

At the feed station we took a 10 minute break, stocking up on energy drink, food and bars, and giving the legs a breather. My new Ellsworth Epiphany was working like a dream – easily the best bike I’ve ever owned – climbing superbly and a real loon on the descents, plus being really comfortable for long days like this.

On we went with the day, now a big, long drawn out climb, first on a fireroad in the trees, then along a mountain valley trail, which wound its way for a long time up the side of the valley and on towards the col, It was a punishing climb that gradually got steeper, with a final switchback sting in the tail, up to the cheeriest marshal standing right on the top in the windiest spot in Wales.

Over the top and down a fantastic rocky descent, open and fast to start with, then a really steep stepped section that I was really chuffed to clear – the joy of a seat dropper! The sun was shining again by now as we went down to the valley floor, then climbed again, continuing for several miles and making good progress, despite a fair bit of mud.

Then, we got to the traverse around Llangorse lake, and the true low point of the whole trip to this point. We followed this path that quickly became a soul destroying wade through thick muddy ruts that were regularly interspersed by deep puddles. I lost my sense of humour at this point, as I got fed up with getting on the bike to ride, only to have to dismount 100 yards later, then on again and off again. We spent about an hour trudging through the mess, until eventually we got to another steep climb, which took us above the worst of the mud and to great views of the lake and surrounding hills. Time for a short breather…

We could feel the home stretch by now, although we weren’t sure exactly how long we had to go, we knew we’d completed the last big climb of the day. We were up high again, and although the sun was shining on us, we could see there were squally storms on the hills all around, so we didn’t hang about as we crossed the plateau and into a fast open descent of the hill.

All that was left now was a few miles on the roads, before a final short climb into the forest we time trialled in yesterday, and a fast fire road descent into the campsite and across the finish. A totally epic day of riding, completed in just over 6 hours, and apart from Llangorse, I loved it all. The scenery, the trails, the organisation was all top notch. As I recovered, I saw Darren and AJ, all showered, tandem cleaned and feet up – they’d handsomely beat us, a great effort from them. All that was left was to eat and eat and drink beer, as we all regaled our stories of the day’s adventures, before retiring back to the tent to catch up on some sleep, before another day in the saddle, this time Brecon Beacons and the piece de resistance, the Gap Route.

More to follow…

Big Daddy

Black Mountains 3 Day Event 2012

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Another new event for me, this one – I came across it and the idea really appealed to me as something different, longer and in the magical terrain of the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons.

So, I got signed up and looked to forward to baking in the sun, riding dusty trails across South Wales. Hmmm. I convinced a good pal of mine to join up too, I discovered that Darren and AJ were bringing the tandem and my trusty Dad also signed up to come as a supporter for the weekend – all good! The premise of this event was an approx 15k time trial in the Glanusk Estate woods, next to the campsite on the Friday evening, followed by 2 big days of riding in the mountains. Officially not a race due to using public paths and roads, it would still be timed.

For various reasons I hadn’t managed to ride as many long rides as I had hoped as training, and as the weekend approached I got more and more anxious about the appalling weather and ground conditions, what tyres to use and if I could even get round roughly 70ks each day in the Welsh mud!

The morning of Friday 29th dawned (my birthday) and after receiving the coolest present of a motorised technic lego truck (still a big kid me!), Dad arrived and we set off up the M4 to the hills.

We were among the first competitors to arrive at the event village, and had plenty of time to settle in, find ourselves a tent or two and set up chairs in the sunshine.

Once my pal had arrived, it was time to head over for the time trial, at just about the time it started to rain again!. The course consisted of 2 laps in the local woods – pretty much a fireroad climb, followed by a singletrack descent. I had decided to approach this event not as a race, but survival, although this approach lasted all of 20 metres, as I cranked it up the hill, which got progressively more sloppy and muddy. There was a steep soggy section which everyone was pushing up, then a tricky section of ruts filled with water, followed by a fast more open descent and into the singletrack which flowed very nicely, eventually dropping out onto a superfast and tricky (due to the forest machinery tracks) fireroad finish.

I was happy enough with my progress on the first lap, but knew there was room for improvement – knowledge of what to expect is important! I completed in a time of 40 mins, placing 28th out of 180, which I was happy enough with considering the deteriorating conditions.
Then it was time to make use of the lovely hot showers, the bike wash and then head to the main marquee to devour vast quantities of the inclusive food and free beer (bonus!) and listen to the rider briefing for day 2, before heading to bed to listen to the rain beating down on the canvas, and fret about what tomorrow would hold. I did not sleep well!
Stayed tuned for day 2 and 3 reports…
Big Daddy

British Downhill Series, Round 3, Glencoe, Scotland

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Last year’s BDS at Glencoe comprised of rain, wind, 6 broken chain devices, a very sad easy up and a lacerated eye. All this for a race weekend without a race. With most riders deciding against entering the round a few brave men and women were up for the challenge.

Saturday practice was almost a joy with a few light showers and a little wind to keep the midges at bay. Devinci/Haven were represented by Dave Duggan, Gareth Jones and Callum Thornbury. With no injuries or mechanicals throughout practice Saturday, was almost a dream day.

The beginning of race day brought a little more rain which, for some, got the track moving a little quicker. Gareth had a puncture which sent him over the bars and his thumb into a hole. After some attention Gareth broke the beam in quali and came back down the chairlift in the hope his hand would be better come race runs. Callum qualified 17th with a clean run and Dave qualified 16th with a couple of moments.

With a break in the rain Callum took his race run coming 20th. Not ideal but still a solid run. Gareth tried for a quick time but hampered by his hand had to go easy by half way down. Dave had his run in the heaviest rain of the weekend and was held up by a red flag. Getting to bottom of the hill he went straight back up for a re-run in slightly better conditions and came in 14th.

After fearing the worst, Glencoe ended up being a good weekend on a great track. I don’t think I spoke to a rider who was not loving the track.


Bristol Bikefest 2012, 12 hr Enduro

Monday, June 18th, 2012

You know that when you get an email from our friend Steve saying ‘come and do this event with me, it’ll be excellent!’ to read carefully and take note, as it’s guaranteed to be a) painful b) an adventure c) right good fun. So when the email came in saying he’d entered a 4 man team into the Bristol Bikefest and would I be part of it, in a re-creation of our epic 2011 Mont Blanc team, how could I turn it down! Steve’s brother Dom was to join James, Steve and myself in the ‘Old Gits’ team – James and I keeping the average age vaguely respectable, in the 12 hour race at Ashton Court.

As it turned out, Steve broke James, a few days before the race, who injured his knee when they rode the South Downs Way in a day, which was a shame, but we managed to recruit Darren into the team at the last minute, who was happy to do some work, rather than sit in the sun supporting AJ, who was putting us all to shame by riding the 12 hours solo.

The adventure got well under way long before the riding started, the reliable British summer weather turning the camping field into a version of Le Somme, although we (I) enjoyed smugly using Steve’s Landrover to extricate several unfortunate souls and their cars from the slop, before hitting the beer and a wet and wild night under canvas.

So, after not much sleep (well for me anyway!) we woke up to a howling wind, but bright sunshine, and some tasty bacon and sausages for breakfast, broke camp and as I’d been selected to go first, I headed down to the bottom of the hill for the run start. We were supposed to run from the bottom of the hill about 500 metres up to our bikes, then ride to the start and away onto lap 1, but it ended up being chaos, and despite Steve and Dom holding my bike and waving, I couldn’t find them, there were so many bikes and people everywhere! Once I was united with my Epiphany (first race for the new bike), Steve gave me a huge shove forwards and I was away. I guessed that AJ was in the melee too, but I never saw her!
Big Daddy
The first lap was a bit crowded, but I settled in quickly on the somewhat mundane, but drying manmade surface of Ashton Court. Passing was a problem early on, but I managed to make up significant ground on the 3 fire road short sharp hills, and got round to hand over to Darren in about 34 mins.
AJ can ride forever...
The sun was doing its work now, and despite the ferocious wind we had found a sheltered spot that turned into a perfect suntrap, and the team settled quickly into half hour balls out banzo riding, then an hour sitting in the sunshine, then start to move about and warm up for the next go.

Meanwhile, AJ was clocking up the laps and had slipped into ‘machine’ mode as she took to the lead of the female solo category. Every time she rode past us she looked fresh, confident and comfortable – very impressive.
Steve battles on
As the day wore on, the trails dried out significantly, and we learnt the course better. I started to improve lap times, partly due to the field spreading out, meaning passing was easier, getting laps down into the 28 min mark. I learnt to ‘flow’ better, with less braking on the berm turns and less pedalling on the long descents, managing to increase my speed on these sections significantly, although it did occur to me that the manmade trails were more suited to my road bike than my Epiphany!
We each clocked up 4 laps in no time, and found ourselves running in 3rd place in our category, which inspired all of us to keep pushing. Both Dom and Steve were capably holding their own, and we were all proving very consistent, with no incidents or mechanicals between us. All the time, AJ was quietly and quickly circulating and stretching her lead, gaining a lap on her nearest rival.

Dom’s daughter turned up from college nearby for the afternoon, on the premise of supporting the team (Actually it was to get a lift home!) and sat with us as we slowly cooked in the sunshine (well I did anyway!).

As the afternoon turned to evening, Dom was busy plotting how many laps we should get done, and had worked out that if we kept up the current pace we would manage 23, meaning that he would have time for his 6th lap and could run away early!

Having been studying the live timing screen we discovered that we’d dropped to 10th from 3rd, and some quick analysis uncovered the fact that Timelaps had missed a changeover between Steve and Dom, so we were showing a lap less than we’d done. Steve got sent to report it, but no action could be taken at the time (or subsequently, despite appeals).

As we each completed our 5th laps, Steve arrived back looking like he’d left most of himself on the course, and as the realisation that he hadn’t finished yet hit him, he lamely claimed that he wasn’t sure he could do his 6th lap. Needless to say, sympathy was in short supply, so as I set out on my 6th and last lap, he was trying to get those creaky old legs to live again, one last time. We all took inspiration from AJ who had pulled out a lap and a half lead, and continued to just keep going round. Awesome riding!

I completed a good last lap and handed over to Darren, who blasted away, ready to put in a big final lap. He did exactly that and handed over to Steve, who went out on the last lap for the team, having manned up and put in a storming effort meaning we completed 23 laps in 11 hrs 41: 35 and were officially classified 8th. We know we actually came 5th, but we’re not bitter – it was a cracking day racing, results here:

AJ duly cleaned up, winning her category by a huge margin, well done to her, very impressive ride.

All in all, despite the quagmire of mud, wind and rain that greeted us on the Friday eve, we got a top day’s racing in the sun on Saturday. Thanks to each person in the team, we did good!

Big Daddy