Yes! I finally got a full lap in under 60 minutes. OK, so last year I was doing 45 minute laps, but that was with a good few of the sections closed, so probably counts as cheating
The main key to the much abbreviated lap time was the reduced stop time. Previously Ive been taking quite a long break (usually 10-20 minutes!) at the end of 2/start of six trying to get the courage to ride the rockery. If theres anybody about, I wait until theyre gone. Given how busy the Chase is, this normally takes some time
This ride, however, I just rode the exit to 2, shuffled straight into position for 6, and set off straight away. I say shuffled into position, as I have the turning circle and skills of a rusty piano, particularly when rocks are involved. Still, a massive improvement on last week, and the more I ride it the more confident I get. Got a bit cross on 6 as there was a large family walking on the second bridge I give up, I really do. I wonder if more signs are needed, if there are notable areas where walkers accidentally wander onto the trail (Im sure theres one mid-section on one of the sections), or whether people just wilfully ignore the signs and decide to go ahead anyway. Im not particularly maternal, but Im fairly certain if I was in possession of a small child, putting them in the path of a fast moving mountain bike would be fairly low down on my lists of things to do with the kids.
Took a short break before and after the fireroad hill up to 8 actually felt more knackered than usual due to racing through 1, 2, 6 and 7. Rode 8, fluffed the last set of drops as I lost too much speed on the preceding turn. Well, when I say fluffed, I rolled them but it was a bit clunky. Didnt ride the end of 8 again as there was a large family sitting at the end who all turned around and started at me as I approached it. Meh. The plus side of not riding the end of 8 (which is normally whenever theres an audience) is that Im normally too embarrassed to stop for a break.
Rode straight through 9, 10, 11 and 12 (apart from Evil Root Number 2). Hit section 13 with much gusto, but had to walk up the slope to the start of 14 as I completely lost traction and momentum trying to avoid some animal poop. Had a short break at the start of 14, which is currently very sandy I think its one of the few sections I prefer if theres been a little rain. Had another very brief break at the start of 15 to allow people who were already there to go on ahead, then went straight into 16. Unlike last week, I rode it pretty well. Not particularly fast or gracefully, but a lot more confidently, and no stupid clipping the handlebars on trees this week.
So, this is what Ive got to keep aiming for, along with actually tackling the stuff I keep bottling!
On a different note, I only got to ride the Sunday as the Professor was in for his (long overdue!) free service on Saturday. The annoying creaking that Ive been noticing over the past couple of weeks has been eliminated, although it seems to have been replaced by an equally annoying squeaking (brakes, I think). Hopefully thatll settle soon. I still love the Professor though, hes great.
Well be down the Chase again this weekend, biking on the Saturday, and building on the Sunday. Yes! Building! Its time for BIG BUILD DAY!
Might have to do a movie style poster too soon…