Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Dangerous Does Dusk Till Dawn and eats cake

Whilst packing and modding* uphillas mighty XC race machine, I began to think to myself; "Why the bloody hell am I entering a XC race? I race Downhill and I even hate that!".

But I'd already payed my money and Alex was coming to mine to pick me up so no chance to back out...

Saturday Morning:

Two portions of Porridge, cup of tea, pancakes and a ubersized "jug" of coffee later, and I sat around in my garage doing a final check on kit and bike to make sure everything was ready....

Alex turns up late, having me thinking, "maybe he's forgotten me and I can go back to bed?"

No such luck, he turns up at 10:45 and after meeting with the rest of the posse, we head off towards the flattest place on earth**

The journey took 1hr, 30mins, and was largely due to the Americans causing havoc on our back roads (Two big RAF air bases near by and all the yanks import their own tanks cars.)

We arrived, found a suitable lumpy patch of ground, and set up camp. I passed over the XC717 on Pro II to Alex I'd built, went for a test pedal, and my tubeless tyre blew clean off the rim! Much to the amusement of the infidels that don't believe in tubeless!!

After a fairly lengthy, faffy getting ready period, we all set off for a practice lap so we could check out the course, and gauge how long we'd have before each team member would have back at base before we'd have to meet their team member at the swap point.

It took us roughly an hour with several stops and talk of cake eating.

The Course:

Very nice, smooth flowy single track, but the up and down whoops can be a killer on your back, you can be going at these things for 10mins solid! No real downhill sections but the tight twisty singletrack made up for it. A few 90 degree corners which were great for drifting around Sam hill Style past the bemused XC boys....

Saturday Night:

The Race: We casually made our way down to the start line only to find it wasn't the start line... you had to go down the fireroad for 2mins before you got to the start line.... approaching it was like something out of some si-fi movie, all you could see was a hundred odd lights in the blackness.... really eerie!

Arriving at the start line it was good to see we weren't the only ones not taking it seriously at all, people next to us were wearing masks, somebody was wearing full body armour and some were on light DH bikes!

I can only describe the start as a slow version of a MX start, everybody all trying to get into the bottleneck of the fireroad to get the lead on everyone else before you got into the singletrack!!! Even got someone caught on my bars who tried to shove me off the course.... you picked the wrong kid to mess with brother, I was racing 4x a few weekends ago and you're small time!!!

The first section of singletrack was absolute chaos! Think the M25 is bad? Not compared to this it wasn't!

Eventually the mob started to spread out and chances opened for me to take people out and gradually I started making my way through.... didn't do to badly from starting at the back!

After the first lap I was knackered and my back had gone on protest, so I got back to the pit area and passed the baton onto my team mate and left him to go off and do his lap!

The organised take over point descended into chaos for us, no one could be arsed to wait on their own, so we waited back at the site burning stuff and consuming as much cake as we could get our hands on.

I put in 3 laps in total, my third being the quickest, knowing if I didn't get around quick, my lights would die on the last pieces of singletrack, which would have been.... painful... sure enough they cut out dead just before the finish line!!!! Thank god for my back up commuter lights and the Hope LED lamp on the helmet! Angry beats from Trivium also helped!

MY light setup:

HOPE Vision H.I.D Lamp mounted on the bars for floodlighting everything in my path

Hope Vision LED double mounted on the helmet so I can see where I'm looking

2x Cateye commuter LED's for backup.

Worked very well, and I found myself pushing just as hard as I did in the day... night riding rocks!!!!!

The Aftermath:

Boy, I have never been so tired, ever! I'm still tired today (Tuesday) it was a mission!!

Very good fun and most people are quite friendly apart from the elites, and they don't seem to mind people not entering it seriously.....

I'm going to do it again next year with a little more training though.....

I'm not sure how they measure lap times, but the average time for us all was about an hour, I think they assume that you have one person on course all the time, meh I don't know but we did take a fairly lazy approach to the whole thing!

Some Pics: Me

Groupshot in the morning

*MODS included: Formula Oro Brakes, some Easton EA50 lowrise bars, my 819 wheeset, XT HTII cranks, and X.O group



Asshat Team (Serious): Alex (SX trail with jey wheels) Stu (Giant XTC weighing 23lbs) Chris (old Specialized Enduro)

B-tarted Team (semi serious): Phil (old ground control FSR weighing in at a colossal 23.5lbs!) Simon B (Singlespeed Jumpbike) Son of Stu on random XC hardtail.

C-atstrophe Team: Me (dad's uber xc race beast) Avi (Kona Steel hardtail).

Mechanicals: Alex forgot his skewer, Phil had a skewer that self destructed, I had a blow out riding around the camp on the front tyre but didn't happen again, Chris had an indexed headset, replaced in the field, and both me and chris had creaking links on our FSR's.

Dads forks also needed a service which I have done;). The genny blew up a light charger, 2 floodlight bulbs before it was tamed.


uphilla said...

A there's me thinking the FSR was "ready to race" - are you going to leave all that 'Bling' stuff on then?? Think the Formula brakes might have been a bit OTT for Thetford :-)

WELL DONE, Though! A good position for your first try.

daahnhilla said...

Ah, it was ready to race, I only changed the bars because I didn't get on with the shape of the truvativ ones, and I wanted to be as comfortable as pos if I was going to ride this enduro race, the cranks were just so I didn't wear out your stuff, same with the gears. Brakes because I wanted to test them out;)

Well, it's like I said, I didn't go into it at all intending to race seriously, just do a few laps and dos the rest of the time, next year though, I'll be up for taking it very seriously!
So to not come last despite not putting any effort into it isn't bad I think!!!!!

Apologies for all the smileys in the original post, I've fixed um now but Mozilla was being a pain in the arse!

Farqui said...

"Eatin Cake" sounds fine but racing thru the night...yeah, bring it on !

Props to ya fella's.

I'm glad to see that you've taken a like'in to a fab ridin' breaky. But x2 bowls, surely not !

Hehe, I still can't get over the idea of you riding a jey XC rig :p

Ah yes, I recall my back complaining over those very same plantation ridges on me ol'Marin - with the rebound set waaaay too fast...ooouch.

Next year we'll have to enter a Knobblies posse to give ya some competition :lol In the meantime all I've gotta figure out is how to clone Rob...brrrr it doesn't bare thinkin'bout ;)

So how'd you compare these new Hope lights to other manuf's ?

Where can I find a route map, preferrably a Tracklogs version ?

daahnhilla said...

Dunno where you'll find a track log, surely someone on STW will have one.

Yeah I set the rebound real slow and it helped but locking it out sorted it best. Though this meant my arse got a battering....

I think next year I'll take it a bit more seriously but we'll still have to have much campfire/cake/redbull aided fun!!!

The Hope lights are awesome, but I've not really tested anything else to compare it against, though there wasn't one moment when I couldn't see where I was going so they rate highly to me.... oddly, fitting is a faff, just like most hopes.....

Farqui said...

With all those lights I don't suppose you had much room for a GPS !

Checkout DDave's D2D laptimes.