Wet, wetter, wettest

Having been bike mechanic to a friend at the White Diamond Challenge for a few years, I decided to enter it myself this time, what with having time on my hands to do a bit of training and all. And of course it turned out that this year was one year when for reasons it is otiose to rehearse, my friend couldn’t make it – she blamed a scheduling cock-up, but I think that she had seen a weather forecast.

The WDC is like orienteering on mountain bikes. You choose your own route between control points using roads, bridleways and other byways (not footpaths!) each control point has a points value and you try and clock up as many points in the time allowed, points are deducted for being late (7 hours on Saturday, 5 on Sunday) I entered the Diamond Lite challenge for the less serious cyclists (it used to be called the Ale Trail as it began life as a pub crawl). Day 1 was a bit warm for me and I clocked up 350 points out of a possible 800 in 5 hours 20 minutes covering 55.9 km. Would have been better but for some poor route choices and some dodgy navigation. It started raining on Saturday evening. Hard. Sunday morning and it was the monsoon season. Not everyone went out on Sunday. I lasted for 3 hours 22 minutes until I couldn’t feel my toes, scored 160 points and covered 32.6 km. Would have been better but for some poor route choices and some dodgy navigation. I was 7th on day 1 and 4th on day 2. If they had a category for overall WDC Lite (they don’t as most people only ride that 1 out of the 2 days) I would have been second.

The event photographers were stationed near the finish for day 1 (first picture) and near the start for day 2. You can see how wet I was within 500m of the start.

Pic 1 Pic 2 Pic 3

The weekend redefined what I thought it was possible to cycle up and down and through! On Saturday everywhere was dust dry but by 10am on Sunday it looked like the Somme. Descending steep muddy slopes was nerve-wracking. I don’t mind dying, I just don’t want to get torn to shreds on barbed wire. The evenings were spent in the event marquee eating dead pig, drinking beer and listening to a couple of bands – though the rain on Sunday evening could be heard above the music at some points!

Anywhow, now that I have dried my pants out and washed the last of the mud out of my crevices, I decided I really rather liked it, so it’s off to the web to find another race.

~ by @mmonyte on May 30, 2007.

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