I should be posting about my previous rides…

…over the Monkey.  Four so far this year, three of which went well, one which went… less well.  Took the Boneshaker a bit quick (not a euphemism) and came off in quite spectacular fashion, although fortunately I was remarkably unscathed apart from a few scuffs.

But no, let’s not talk about that.  Let’s consider this instead.

Best week of the year!!111

Last week was ace.  What did I get up to?  Well, let’s see… first there was…

DALBY!

It was my first ride of the year on the Professor, and a few tweaks were made – more air in the forks and rear shock, namely.  We started the red route, and it went rather well.  As previously mentioned, I’ve kept up a bit of fitness thanks to commuting by bike every day, but unfortunately I was still fighting a bit of a chest infection.

FUN FACT ABOUT MISSUS TOAST CHEST INFECTIONS!  Due to being overly ladylike, chest infections tend to linger for me.  Why?  Because instead of blowing my nose, or coughing up phlegm, I tend to… well, choke it down.  Snuffle it right back up, where it can be recycled.

As I rode around Dalby, I allowed myself to freely cough up phlegm and blow my nose like a trumpeter, as one of the joys of marriage is being disgusting without fear of reprisal.  Or at least, that’s what Mr Toast and his musical bottom tells me.

And cough I did, to the point of nearly being sick.  A definite benefit was that, since Dalby, my chest and sinuses have felt clearer than they had in months.  However, at the time, the lack of breathing ability made it somewhat difficult to ride, and we decided to do half the trail instead of the full 20-odd miles.

Unfortunately, Mr Toast’s memory (or sense of direction) wasn’t quite as good he thought, and we ended up doing only 6 miles of red route, and 10 miles of road.  It was a very pretty road, though.  We saw a stag.  That was nice…

After Yorkshire we travelled up to Scotland.  As July is a bit hectic this year, we decided to get some early Glentress in this year in case we couldn’t make it for our anniversary.  We stayed at our usual haunt, Glede Knowe, which was fantastic as always.

Somewhat stereotypically, it was beautiful weather on the drive up, and in the evening Mr Toast and I went for a lovely walk with t’boy down by the river, followed by a meal at the Traquair Arms.

The next day – the day we were riding –  started off beautiful, but quickly became gloomy and overcast.  The predictions of ‘light rain’ and ‘light showers’ were somewhat innaccurate, and we were instead faced with ‘fairly annoyingly persistent and not actually that light’ rain. For four hours.

The weather report was correct in surmising that the weather would improve in the afternoon – as we sat muddy and sodden in the cafe, the sun came out.  Then the next day, when we were driving home… sunniest and warmest day of the year. Ho hum.

We weren’t actually too disgruntled – the trails are still awesome fun in the rain. The only issue is, after that incident on Pennel’s Vennel that one rainy year, I now have no appetite to hit the red in the rain.  We did make one concession – we did the climb up to Spooky Wood, and then Spooky Wood itself.

The climb wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I remembered, and I also took to it with a bit more speed and aplomb than in previous years.  I confess, I didn’t do the very first drop, but I did everything else after that.  I didn’t get a burning sensation in my left thigh until right near the end, but my calves were screaming – I think I’m just a bit out of shape when it comes to off-road stuff!  Jolly good fun though.

And… oh look! A picture of me with the meteorite Stane.  How terribly original!

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The blue at Glentress is definitely one of my favourite trails, if not the favourite. The climb up to the Buzzard’s Nest carpark is good fun, and the descent is also amazing – so swoopy, bermy and fast!

After Scotland it was back home, but on Friday we got to ride over Cannock Chase.  As we knew we were coming over again on Sunday, Mr Toast decided to nobly escort me around the Monkey… given that I’ve not really ridden in much over the past two years, and that I’ve come a cropper a couple of times on it, it seemed a wise decision.

We took it very easy (translation: I took it easy, Mr Toast waited), and there were a few bits I gave a wide berth – I merrily bypassed the rock gardens on the original Monkey, and also avoided the Klondike rocks and the Woodbank timber feature.  In hindsight I think I’d be fine with the latter, and probably be OK with Klondike as long as I take the left line instead of the right (as my wheel goes into the dip on the one rock and I get flung over the handlebars 50% of the time).  Can’t be arsed with the original Monkey though – discretion is the finer point of not dying, as they say.

I’ll really have to get into the habit of riding the Monkey more – I’m sure it’ll up my speed and confidence (assuming I don’t fall off and die).

On Sunday I pootled around the greens… on a Duet Wheelchair Bike! Yes, Swinnerton’s have one now, so my mother can experience the joys of the Chase.  She was somewhat disconcerted by the sight of an ambulance at the Rollers (broken collar bone, apparently), and she made me promise that I wouldn’t take her on the Rollers…

The Chase greens are generally lovely for wheelchairs – they’re not quite as potholey as the Tissington Trail – but there’s the odd bit that’s awkward.  Some of the off-camber bits can be quite tricky, and returning on the green made me realise I had the choice of following the green through the stream (which my mother wasn’t keen on), or going over the bridge around the pool (which she was even less keen on due to the path crumbling away).  Still, we got around in one piece, although we ended up doing a few more laps just around the ‘Walk for Health’ green route, which was very easy.  TOP TIP! Carrying an extra 10 1/2 stone of mother on the front of the bike is great for fitness.

So overall, a great week for riding – I just wish we could do it more!

Get shorty

Ah, shorts.  Next to shoes, getting trousers and shorts that even remotely fit is the bane of my clothing existence.

A word on my physique – I am short of leg, and wide of arse and thigh, but relatively narrow of waist.  This, dear readers, is a problem.  What normally happens with trousers or shorts is that I go for one size, and I can’t get them over my hips.  Nope, nope, nope.  But if I go for the next size up… huzzah!  They pass the thighs and hips and… oh.  Oh, right.  I have an extra two inches or so of waist band.  Awesome.  I end up with loads of excess fabric, and end up having to wear belts, which I dislike for two reasons:

1) It bunches up the waistband and looks awful

2) I’m allergic to nickel, which is what’s generally used in costume jewellery and belt buckles.  So I quite often end up with an unslightly (AND ITCHY) rash on my belly.

Given that I’m not blessed with the most attractive pins in the world (especially given the events of the previous post), I like 3/4 length shorts, which seem to be quite hard to get hold of if you’re a lady – quite a few will claim to be 3/4 length but only be knee-length… and believe me, it’s not because I have long legs.

So, here, for your delight and delectation – the world of Missus Toast’s biking shorts.

Altura Synchro Women’s 3/4

Well, let’s start with some of my favourites.  I have two pairs of Synchros – a grey pair with black piping, I think from 2009 or 2010, and a black pair with white piping on, from 2010/11.  OBSERVE THE MAJESTY OF MY SYNCHROS!grey_synchrosSo these shorts have been bloody fantastic:

  • The cut is nice, reasonably loose on the legs but not massively baggy around the waist.
  •  They actually make a pretty decent effort to get past the knee.
  • There aren’t any fastenings to get caught or rub.
  • They’re very light, so they’re ideal in the summer.
  • The pockets aren’t great, although the later pair have slightly deeper ones that are more useful, but really… who puts anything in their pockets? It’s uncomfortable, and makes you look bobbly. Pockets are overrated!*

Despite being used for commuting to work, weekend mountain biking and 24 hour races in horrendous weather, they’re still in perfect condition.  And yes, I wash them after every ride as well, thanks for asking. In the case of my older grey pair, they also survived the 2010 crash that took out my helmet and a good chunk of the skin on my right arm.  The blood washed out nicely!

Loeka Tech Short Capri Length 2010

Loeka-Freeride-Shorts-Pinstripe-Side

I bought these last year.  The dimensions are a bit unusual – I’d personally say they’re a bit short to be classed as ‘capri length’, but they are just about knee length on my hobbity legs.  They’re very baggy in the leg, which makes a nice change, but they are also quite baggy around the waist and gut – not too bad though.  More room for cake, eh?

So, an overview:

  • Relatively short for ‘capri’ length
  • Nice and baggy
  • There aren’t any fastenings to get caught or rub.
  • Quality feels really nice and sturdy
  • Very cool looking

Endura Hummvee 3/4 Women’s

The Hummvees are very popular, both the male and female versions.  Unfortunately, despite being the most expensive shorts I’ve bought**, they’re the only ones I didn’t really get on with.  Again, this is probably due to my rather… ahem, ‘stout’ legs.  The Hummvees are definitely designed for those more slender of pins.  They’re a nice length, but very slim fitting, and I found the velcro fastenings around the back of the knee quite annoying.  The belt that comes with it is also a bit rubbish.  It’s frustrating, because the quality and look (when worn by others…) is great.

  • Good length
  • VERY slim fitting on the legs
  • Velcro fastenings tend to rub when pedalling
  • Good quality
  • Looks good… on non-hobbits

So overall, the Synchros are winning in the battle of the shorts, with the Loeka shorts being a close second – if they were just a bit longer, they’d probably be my favourites.  The Hummvees make me sad, because they make me realise how ridiculously out of proportion my thighs are compared to the rest of my body. 🙁

*Seriously, I really don’t like putting things in my pockets.  Ever.

**It’s probably worth mentioning that I have a tendency to only buy cycling clothes if they’re heavily discounted, usually because they’re last year’s stock, etc.  I am married to a Yorkshireman, after all.

Well, that escalated quickly…

Excellent. The sun is shining, it’s pleasantly warm and the trails are dry.  It’s almost like spring!

After the recent weather and a bout of the standard office lurgy, was eager to get out.  Benny was dropped off at Old Farm Dog Boarding, where he enjoys long walks and running about in a huge garden with lots of other friendly dogs ranging from pugs and shih tzus to rottweilers and labradors (it’s quite a sight to behold…).  So, with Benny safely taken care of, we were able to go forth and bike and the same time!  Huzzah!

Not together though! Mr Toast wanted to hit Follow the Dog* straight away, whereas I decided to take it easy on the blue.  As it turned out, we did almost the opposite – I decided to do a bit of Follow the Dog, and Mr Toast decided to try and catch me up on the blue… which he couldn’t, because I wasn’t there.

Instead, I headed out from Birches Valley onto the blue.  As I passed the Stegosaur, I thought, “Well… I’ll go to up the fireroad hill and do 9, 10, 11 and 12”.  So I veered off in that direction instead.  It started out quite well – I pootled up the the fireroad hill steadily, and always in middle ring, with less trouble than in the past.  It looks like the commuting over winter has definitely boosted my fitness, even if it hasn’t kept the weight off!

I did the first part of section 8, then followed the diversion to section 9. So far so good.  I was riding well, even managed to overtake a few blokes…

THEN HORROR!

The first boardwalk on section 9 is an innocent little thing.  It has a clear run onto it – no awkward roots or large pebbles – you just ride in a straight line onto it.  I’ve done it loads of times.  I’ve done it a few times on the rare occasions I’ve been biking this year, on my 29er.  So what went wrong?

Well, it seems that I slowed too much on the approach, and was in too high a gear.  The front wheel veered off to the left, but I managed to catch it and get my foot down on the ground.  Unfortunately… I’m very small.  The height difference between my left foot on the ground and the rest of my body being on a bike on a board walk a few inches higher was too great, and after stopping, with grim inevitability… I fell over.  I’m not entirely convinced that falling off the bike once you’ve stopped is classed as an ‘off’, but… well, it’s a bit of a moot point really.  I ended up on my arse, legs in the air, entangled in my bike.  And those guys I passed?

Yeah, right behind me.

At the time, it felt that my pride had taken the main blow.  My leg had a couple of nasty scratches and a few specs of blood, but I just got back up and dusted myself off, and continued.  I pondered just getting back on the blue, but decided that was stupid, because I’ve been riding FtD without incident for years, and there’s no point getting a complex now.  So I carried on with 10, 11 and 12.  Without incident.  So there!

Crossed over the road (without incident) and took to the blue, but veered off for some cheekiness down the German cemetery which was a lot more rideable than last time I attempted it.  I guess not being covered in snow and ice does wonders for a trail.

I looped back and rejoined the blue. By this point my leg was starting to smart a bit, and the nasty scratches were starting to look a bit nastier.

20130420_180052Now, I’ll never be a Pretty Polly model, but the swollen red welts weren’t a good look.

Still, I’d had an awesome day and it was fantastic being back out on the trails.  Can’t make an omlette without breaking a few eggs, etc-

OH SWEET MOTHER OF ZEUS!

20130422_220612Sunday was interesting.  I got out of bed, and almost immediately fell over due to not being able to put any weight on my leg.  Eventually I managed to stretch it into a usable state, but it wasn’t a pleasant experience.  I got the bus in on Monday…

But today I’ve biked backwards and forwards from work, including extra sessions at lunch to check on Benny.  Other than a slight bit of stiffness, it seems fine, and the bruises are yellowing nicely!  I AM WOLVERINE! \o/ Except he’s the best at what he does.  I’m not the best at mountain biking. 🙁

Despite my comedy injury, I’m really looking forward to more biking this year.  We’ve got Dalby and Glentress planned for next week, so hopefully I’ll be able to enjoy those trails without anymore comedy offs…

* I nearly worded this statement “Mr Toast wanted to hit The Dog”, but given the previous paragraph I worried that people might take it out of context!

 

Five Ten Impact Karver for wimmins

Yes, my first review is going to be about shoes.  I am a walking stereotype.

Five Ten Impact Karver (Women’s)

Long term readers of this blog may recall that I obtained my Five Tens in January 2010. At the time I described them as being “incredibly comfortable, and incredibly grippy!”.  But how have they fared over the past three years?

The answer is – very well.  Although they’re starting to show their age a bit with the interior of the back of the heel starting to come apart (which is probably partially my fault for trying to ram my feet in without full undoing the laces…), the soles are still solid and the bulk of the shoe is still as solid as ever.  This is pretty impressive given that these are the only shoes I ever go mountain biking in, and for a year or so they were also my commuting shoes too.

It’s even more impressive when you take into account that they survived two Sleepless in the Saddles and two Mountain Mayhems, including 2012’s which were… a trifle inclement, to say the least.  They’ve been through the washing machine several times and emerged clean and unscathed.

Durability aside, they’re also some of the most comfortable shoes that I own. I have awkward feet – one’s a size 6, the other a size 6.5, and they’re also very narrow, which is INCREDIBLY ANNOYING.  I mean, seriously – there are many parts of my body I wish were narrower: my face, my thighs, my waist, my arms… but my feet?  They’re an absolute nightmare – the standard with is a D, and although many high street chains do wider fittings, absolutely bugger all companies do narrower ones.  Usually the inside of my shoes end up a mess of innersoles, stick-on cushions and extra socks, but the Karvers are actually pretty good for me straight out of the box – which is probably worth bearing in mind, as this may be a problem for women who do need wider shoe fittings.

Functionally, they’re great – very grippy and comfortable for riding, feeling secure on the pedals, but also comfortable for walking.  Aesthetically, they’re a bit marmite – I quite like them, but I have to admit I stopped wearing them to work after a colleague kept on making fun of them looking like ‘special shoes’ due to the supportive padding around the ankle.  I like the grey, black and magenta colour scheme (*cough*) particularly now it matches my Scott Scale 29, *cough*) – they clean up from being muddy pretty well too.  I quite fancy the new Karvers, but really? White? White?  Who, in the name of Odin’s beard, makes mountain biking shoes in white? I’m guessing that decision wasn’t made by anybody who lives in the UK…

So, all in all, personally I’d really recommend the Karvers. Which is a good thing really, as there’s practically bugger all else in terms of flats for women mountain bikers…

All the gear….

Right!  Quite a while back I added a tag entitled ‘All the gear, no idea’.  The aim of this tag was to discuss when I bought something new, but I also planned to do reviews.  Mainly because the bulk of my purchases are biking clothes, and reviews of biking clothes are somewhat in short supply if you favour women-specific stuff.  So, without further ado…

Two Updates, One Night.

Like buses, and all that…

So, about my Scott Scale Contessa 29er.  Bet you didn’t see that one coming, did you, eh? Truth be told, neither did I – I’ve been interested in the idea of 29ers for a while.  Obviously there’s the word-of-mouth aspect, with several friends (and a husband) jumping on the big-wheeled bandwagaon and thoroughly endorsing it.  There’s the magazines who bleat on incessantly about them.  And there’s the slight issue that some manufacturers seem to be switching exclusively to 29ers.

But there’s always been one, tiny, tiny problem.  And that problem is me, being tiny (vertically, at least..) Given that I’ve struggled in the past to find 26ers that fit (women specific being too short in the top tube, standard models being too lacking in standover), I imagined that there wouldn’t be much choice in the 29er department.  I’d demoed the Giant Anthem 29er, and that had been rather nice, but sadly I didn’t have enough time with it to make a real judgement.  I’d demoed the Specialized Camber, which was almost nice but had impractical standover  – it was fine once I’d got going, but was hard to mount, dismount, stop and start.  Ah.

I’ll also wasn’t that bothered about getting a full-susser, as I’m quite happy with the Professor.  I wanted to get something that I could put some miles in with, preferably a hardtail.  Mainly because winter makes the Professor sad…

I was pondering a Niner EMD, as they do tiny.  But as fate would have it, I was browsing the classifieds on Singletrack World (which I rarely do, because I’m normally posting nonsense on the chat forum), when Mr Toast piped up over my shoulder, “Oh look, a Scott Scale Contessa 29er in small…”

After a bit of research, I bit the bullet and bought the bike.  I may possibly have missed out on paying my share of the mortgage that month, and been a bit stingy with the Christmas presents, but… NEW BIKE.

TTT

When it arrived, it was a surprise and a relief to find that it did actually fit – it actually feels quite similar in terms of length and standover to the Professor.  Whilst Mr Toast did frivolous things, like assembling the bike, checking the brakes and immediately assessing what upgrades were needed, I did sensible, practical and important things, like ordering getting matching purple grips and pedals, and later a much needed pink chainstay protector from Swinnertons.

I decided to get familiar with the bike before taking it on anything remotely techy.  After pootling around fireroads though, I wanted to see how I’d get on FtD.  For some reason, I’ve had it in my head that there’s no way I’d be able to ride FtD again on a hardtail – my knees are rubbish, and I’d probably gotten too used to my skills compensator, etc, etc.  So I picked sections 9 – 12, as they’re relatively tame, and don’t have too many narrow bits through trees that I could clip the comedy handlebars on.

And I didn’t die.

It was actually good fun.  So much so that I finished the trail and did Tackaroo too – strangely I felt like I had a lot more control.  I don’t put that down to wheel size though, I put that down to my forks and shock on the Professor being set far too soft.  Mr Toast has been banging on for ages that I need more pressure, and now I think I can see why.

Since the first ride I’ve been around a few times, and getting better each time.  I’m also really glad that I commute to work by bike now, because although I went months without going off-road, at least I’ve kept some level of fitness.  As opposed to the traditional three months of hibernation, followed by biking and vomiting by the start of where section 13 used to be.

Looking forward to getting more riding in this year – hopefully Mr Toast won’t have quite the same amount of overtime (and hopefully I won’t either), plus we’ve found a great daycare place for Benny so we can go biking together again.

 

 

An update!

Right, WordPress updated, spam comments about handbags and the Middle East dealt with, and back to the blog!

So, what have I been up to?  Well, some of my racing schedule has been determined this year – I’m giving Mountain Mayhem a miss, sending Mr Toast out to be some sort of giant mountain biking guinea pig at the new venue.  He’s racing with the Chase Trails team of four (Ian, henceforth known as Crazy Ian, is soloing again). Three fifths of the intrepid Chase Trails chaps can be seen here, stalking Pat Adams’ house late at night, which isn’t weird at all.

img_2225Photo taken by famed event photographer Rob Crayton, who hangs outside Pat Adams’ house late at night with a camera.

I’ll be providing moral support… or pointing and laughing.  Time will tell!  At least there will be less chance of rain if I’m not riding…

I will be riding Sleepless in the Saddle though, and I have to confess to contemplating the Wiggle 6 Hour Enduro, which is also at Catton.  After all, six hours is only slightly longer than it took me to do one lap at Mayhem last year! \o/  I’d be soloing it, as Mr Toast is rather bogged down with work at the moment.

I’ve done a bit of riding this year, mostly getting used to..

TTT_first_ride

TEN TON TESS! Also known as Tess of the Hurr Durrbervilles – a Scott Scale Contessa 910 29er. I’ve not taken her on a full ride of Follow the Dog yet, preferring to put the miles in on the tamer fireroads just to get used to her ridiculously large wheels and her quite frankly preposterous wide bars.  I’ve done a bit of FtD on her, and some off-piste-probably-shouldn’t-talk-about-them trails on a group ride.

I’ve also become an aunt twice in the space of two months, so I’m plotting to buy two balance bikes in about 18 months for my nephews.  I’m totally going to live my gnar radcore biking dreams vicariously through them – it’ll be awesome.

Aaaand I’ve also been keeping up with my resolution to get back into drawing more, with my project “A Benny a Week”.  The aim is to produce one piece of art a week featuring my dog, which will hopefully improve my artistic skills.

I should be fairly good at drawing Tibetan Terriers by the end of 2013 at the very least.

So, here’s to more biking, more drawing and more nephews.  Huzzah!

Sad fact of the day

It’s been so long since I’ve updated my blog, I actually forgot my username and password combination!

Well, what’s been going on?  Other than commuting to work on a daily basis come rain or shine (mostly rain…), not a lot of biking, sadly – we did spend a week in a fantastic cottage in Llandegla in mid-October though.  I’ll post an update about that over the next couple of days, because it was brilliant.  But sadly we’ve not been able to get over the Chase much – I’ve had a bit of a cold and the weather’s been rubbish.  I’m sure I’d enjoy once I got there, but at the moment I’ve been focusing in indoor pursuits such as playing bass and learning Unity3d.

I’m also preparing for the arrival of nephew Noah in December, and nephew Dillon in February. By ‘prepare’ I mean ‘Buying lots of dinosaur related baby toys and clothes’.

Sleepless in the Saddle

Sorry about the delay, but finally you will know the answer to the question you’ve all not been asking: Did we  win Sleepless in the Saddle.

The unsurprising answer is ‘No’.  We came in the bottom ten, I think.  But not last! \o/

Thankfully Sleepless was infinitely more enjoyable than Mountain Mayhem (which wouldn’t have been that hard, admittedly).   I was out third for the Chase Trails Pixies – after Mountain Mayhem’s epic five hour plus lap, the team decided to give me a fighting chance of coming back in daylight.  The weather was decent, our first riders out seemed to be enjoying themselves, and everything looked so promising…

2012-08-04-121027.jpg

I’d been somewhat hesitant over Sleepless – after Mayhem, I was worried it was going to be another horrible, muddy slogfest.  I consoled myself in the knowledge that, as Sleepless laps were shorter and flatter, they couldn’t possibly be as horrendous.  Fortunately, I set out in glorious sunshine, and my first lap was genuinely enjoyable.   I’m fitter than I was last year, and I found the woodland sections really good fun.  I even overtook a couple of people.  HA!  And, for the first time, I was captured in my full racing glory, which revealed that a) I’m as pink as a flamingo, and b) the older I get, the more I look like my nan.  I think the Dame Edna glasses help that…

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Camelbak, MP3 player, and a full susser – I think I scored highly on the Weekend Warrior scale!

However, as was expected, the rain came during my lap.  Just before the off-camber section, the drizzle started, then turned into a full scale torrential downpour.  The off-camber section had been described to me by my teammates that had already gone out as being ‘very loose and dusty’.  By the time I got to it, it was a mudslide.  I was in the process of trying not to slide off the track when who should come a-riding, but THE HUSBAND!  He checked that I was OK, and cheekily declared that he knew he was getting close to me when the rain started.  Feeling somewhat superstitious about my ability to destroy the weather, he sped off into the distance, sans wife.   The course fortunately stood up to the sudden downpour a bit better after that point, and I finished my first lap with a big grin on my face.  Huzzah!  I clocked in at 1 hour 24, which I’m fairly certain I could have done faster if it hadn’t have been for the meddling weather.

My second lap was due at around 10pm.  Despite the fact the one hour downpour had turned the track to sludge, I didn’t feel too apprehensive.  After all, I’d spent hours sliding around Mountain Mayhem in the dark, so I was used to this kind of nonsense, but this time I would have lights!

However, Mr Toast was a bit more concerned, and was trying to persuade me not to go out, pointing out that I’d already proved my stubbornness and stupidity at MM. I was fully reared up and ready to go though… but as I waited, I saw bike after bike being pushed or carried over the finish line.  Petra, a better rider than me, wasn’t back, obviously ‘enjoying’ the course. So yeah, maybe another muddy night lap wasn’t such a great idea.  Back to snuggling in the tent then.

The next morning I got up early (miracles do happen) and set out on my second lap just after Bruce came in.  Again, it started of relatively well – I flew down the first descent at speed, not through any sense of skill or fearlessness, but because I knew that with the mud I’d probably lose control of the Professor if I braked.  I managed to stop at the bottom, just ahead of the fence that hosted a bunch of slightly startled-looking spectators.  The short climb that followed was a mud pit, but the first couple of sections were fine.  Then it all went to hell, and became a muddy, unrideable mess for a fair few sections.  I stopped frequently to scoop out the mud that was collecting in my frame. It was a bit of a slog, but still more bearable than Mountain Mayhem, and the last section was fine – I was even able to get up some speed on it, flinging the mud off my tyres.  It added an hour to my previous lap time, but I wasn’t too fussed.

So, this year’s 24 hour racing has been somewhat of a disaster.  Sleepless was good fun, but it was gutting how one hour of (admittedly very heavy) rain trashed a good chunk of the course, even leading to one section being closed.  I would have like to have done a night lap like last year, but not in this year’s conditions.  Not sure what we’ll be doing next year – I might give Mayhem a miss and sign up for Sleepless nearer the time, and give that a miss if it’s been raining for two months beforehand!  People can be a bit smug and dismissive, but I ride to have fun, and walking through mud pushing a 50lb bike isn’t fun for me.  🙁

Still, got a medal and a couple of race numbers out of it! \o/

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