Well I did it I completed my first ever Mountain Bike Event. 48km and 4000ft of climbing Done!
Myself and two other North Cheshire Clarion riders, Jason and Dom, camped over in in Herefordshire and although we took the scenic route to get there the weather was kind while we put up the tents and cracked open a couple of ales. Jason had prepared a very tasty chili and we consumed this (carb loading) and headed the pub as it was cold. A quick pint and brandy to keep the cold away and we headed back to over night accommodation. I might add that Dom was very kind to lend me a tent but forgot to tell me that the last person to sleep in it was Freddie Kruger, it was full of holes which we fixed with trusty duck tape.
4am it started. I woke up cold and heard the noise of rain lashing against the top of the tent. I hoped it was a shower so I pulled the duvet over my head and went back to sleep. 7am I awoke to still hear the sound of rain hammering against the tent. I popped my head out the tent and started the hour debate about if we were actually going to take part or not. A quick phone call to another one of riders, Ian, confirmed we were doing it. At this point I must point out that it was absolutely hammering down, it was cold but as Jason pointed out it was not windy.
We finally geared up and headed to the ridge to start the ride. We missed the start by 15 minutes due to not taking into account the climb up to the start but once there we just set off. Jason's comment of no wind was then blown apart literally as on top of the moor it was very windy.
The conditions were very wet and slippy with the ground having been churned up by mountain bike tyres. The rain was torrential and Jason and Ian took off not to be seen until the end. Myself and Dom plodded on, although I was holding Dom up badly so many thanks to him for sticking with me. The climbs were horrendous very long and very steep and I am not going to lie i struggled. I am convinced I just gave up and I need to work on the mental strength when climbing.
Half way round the route, the food stop appeared and I have never been so glad to see flapjacks and bananas. At this point there was an option to bail and avoid the climbs to come. With Dom's gentle persuasion I decided to continue with the climbs and it wasn't long till I began to regret this. The climbs were hard and fair play to Dom he climbed them all, where i walked the majority. The descents were very very scary. The wet muddy ground made it very hard to get traction and seeing someone getting first aid didn't help matters.
As I crossed the line after 5hours 42 minutes of riding / walking i was dead. I must say i hated it at the time but looking back now i loved it and will do it again next year. The NCC riders were placed as follows:
Jason and Ian - 3hrs 58 minutes (well done guys)
Dom - 5hrs 33 minutes (this is because he sat with me most of the way round, thanks fella)
Geoff - 5hrs 42 minutes
What have I learned - I give up to easy on climbs the minute my legs hurt and I stop climbing. If I see a rider in front of me I slow down thinking I cant catch them when I probably can. I have to change my mental attitude to succeed and will be doing this during the rest of this year with the help of my fellow MTB riders.