A change is as good as a rest they say. Four days after the birth of our wee baby girl, my amazing wife gave me the green light to race the Tweedlove Vallelujah Enduro. Riding against the clock rather than riding for mileage, I got that adrenaline buzz everyone needs every now and then. Any riding is good training, and a race pushes the body’s reserves just as completing the #RatRaceCrossing to raise money for Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue and Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance will.
It was tough. The raw course figures (31km, 1100m ascent) should have meant a good day out on the bike but not too much to make it really painful, just like a normal weekend ride really. Then mother nature decided that two weeks of dry and warm was not becoming of Vallelujah and threw four season in one day, mixed with a fresh wind. The hailstorm at the top of stage one was particularly entertaining. But, what fun and what trails. Riding with glasses on was the best idea I thought given the amount mud about, sadly they were streaked with rain and steamed up so, unable to see clearly, a drop on stage one saw me squirming in the mud costing vital seconds. Stage two was always going to be physically hard but I believe the inclusion of stages such as this, a good mix of technical and peddling, is important to keep it as an endur-ance event and not just a masked downhill race. I was mega chuffed with this stage as I took on a rock drop with full commitment rather than rolling it as I have done in previous races. Caught in traffic for the last descent was frustrating but hey, that’s racing.
Heading to Cademuir for stages three and four, morale did take a dip as the driving (cold) rain was in the face the whole transition. It was good to be back racing in Cademuir again, Stage three was my best with a 12/165 (in category). Not a stage for 800mm bars…! Stage four was simply brilliant. So muddy it was in fact easy for the tyres to cut through down to the base, not touching the brakes was the trick to not slipping and sliding on every root you couldn’t see! Stage five was going so well, I hit every line I wanted to, until the field. A simple field with a cyclocross-esk mud line which took my front wheel from under me and sent me sliding meters on my butt! Tried to stand up, straight back down! Just had to laugh; and that sums up the day.
Great trails, simply amazing marshals and lots of smiles everywhere I looked. I finished 27/165 in masters and 55/406 overall – disappointed in some ways but plenty to analyse and work on. Roll on the Tweedlove Festival in May, i’m in 😊
Here’s my donation page: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/CharityCrossing
Here’s why I’m doing it: https://charitycrossing.wordpress.com/about/