I should have guessed what it would be like when we had the thunderstorms the day before, or on the drive there when the early morning mist was wetter than wet. Even the relatively small turn out combined with the light drizzle didn’t drop the penny for me. When the lead motorbike set off, and the organiser waved the “grand depart” adieu something was lacking, enthusiasm. C’mon you lot! Lets go!
Keen to be away I set off after the motorbike and was never seen again! The heavy rain had taken it’s toll, mud that was worse than Bringewood in March, tractor ruts that were axle deep, and stream/river crossings that were worryingly deep. You know how when it’s muddy it’s a good idea to run through the puddles to keep your bike wet? Well that’s what I did, and it was more like steering a boat than riding a bike. I got the bike cross-rutted endless times, must have run/staggered kilometres, but once you’re wet and dirty it becomes great fun.
I nursed my bike as much as I could by running the chain as straight as possible, as using the brakes a little as I could get away with. The mud was very gritty. I rode my Stumpy hardtail, and I reckon I made the right choice, full suspension was not needed.
I took a last drink just before I crossed the edge of the field where the muck spreading was in progress!!! Wasn’t gonna drink from it after that. The nice ladies at the revitalment stations confirmed that I was first rider through, as did some of the locals in one of the villages. I pushed on.
I’d been out around an hour and a half the “arrive” came into sight, just 500m away, but then the course arrows turned us away again. Up through the village, out the other side, down down down into a steep valley with a switchback trail that was technically challenging 🙂 Back up the road from whence we came to finish. Tired and dirty, I was the first rider home.