Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Chicksands XC

Although Chicksands is not that far from home I had never visited. It is known for its jump areas, 4X tracks and various other ways of doing serious damage to yourself :-)
A trip to Bedford left me with some time to kill and a look at the map found a bridelway route down to the woods, fairly easy going, but on a bright spring day it was good to be rolling on dry trails.
The Chicksands website says that the XC trail is in a poor state, but actually it was not that bad compared with the churned up bridleways we often ride.
Red and yellow arrows painted on trees guide you round and in such a compact area it is easy to find a few variations. Although surrounding countryside is flat, the terrain here has some steep, if short, climbs - in fact when I came to the first 'up' I thought the arrows must be pointing me the wrong way! This was my first proper 'off-road' outing on the Duster and the phrase 'climbs like a goat' came to mind - I would not previously have though I could clear such slopes on a bike.
Not worth a long journey, but well worth a visit if you are in the area. Also fun to try the 4X track and other stuff if you are feeling brave. There is a charge of £5, this is supposed to apply in the week now too.
Posse: Uphilla. - Charge Duster
Weather: Bright and sunny
Mechanicals: None

Monday, April 19, 2010

HONC - 100KM 11th April 2010

Hell Of The North Cotswolds 100km

It's been over a week now but I reckon a ride of this magnitute deserves a blog. 

I completed a 50 mile charity ride last year with relative ease, and during a discussion about the various endurance events throughout the year, I foolishly questioned how hard can it be? It's only another 12 miles?

How it is is something I found out, the hard and painful way, as the day crept  up on me before I had chance to get fit...  

The route starts of in Winchcombe, were a school playing field became a giant carpark and the scene of the mass start. A complete contrast to XC races I've taken part in before, everyone patiently filed out onto the road. I guess with another 50 or 100 km ahead, nobody's is in any hurry... The 'ride on the left' rule kinda went out the window, though. 

The route takes you through picturesc villages down country lanes, rutted bridleways and rocky tracks. I'd describe the route as 'relentless'. The combination of hard climbs and rutted off road sections sapped the life out of you and at 60km, I began to feel faint and completely bottomed out. 

From then on in, I was running on empty, carrying on through sheer stubbornness and the stuffing of lucozade gels down my throat.

The final climb took you up an open, grassy hill which was just the final straw - especially when it promised a downhill only to climb again! 

The weather was perfect and conditions were mostly dry with only the odd puddle. The bike performed well, but further fettling of the rebas as they lacked sensitivity to anything less than a large rut or boulder. 

Respect should also be given to Alex, who completed the ride with me, but on a singlespeed!!!

It was a great day and I'm proud to be able to say I've done it but, I won't be attempting it again without any significant volume of training.