Sun! Dust! Cramp! July 5th saw the G2 Revolver series hit Brighton’s Stanmer park for the Long Good Friday 8 hour enduro event and myself and Andy riding in the pairs catergory…
The weeks leading up to the event had seen some epic training on my part and I was looking forward to putting to bed the ghosts of Goodwoods Spring Challenge by putting in a decent performance…
The week leading up to the event saw me checking the weather every half hour as continual heavy rain forecasts gave way to glorious sunshine each day and the same for race day. The night before I prepared in time honored tradition by getting drunk at a works party and a wedding reception, so feeling suitably carbo-loaded, I hit the sack raring to go!
Race day dawned bright and warm but very windy and arriving on sight with brother Simon I set about putting up my teams gazebo; no mean feat as four of us struggled in the strong wind. Base camp set up Andy pootled around to check the start having taken the mantle of race starter for us and as it turned out, it was totally different to what we pre-rode the previous Wednesday! D’oh!
Midday came around much sooner than I think Andy liked and he rolled down to take his place at the start. A few words from Gary Fisher himself and the guys and gals shot off! Andy and I had decided to ride a two laps on two laps off race so I had plenty of time to sort myself out and get the Stiffee ready for combat. Andy blatted out two excellent laps and after not the most professional looking hand over, I hit the grassy start climb at a steady pace to warm everything up. I’ll do a quick recap of the course as memory allows; From the start/finish arena we climbed up a rooty/rutty number to one of the fireroad tracks and then plunged into a very steep and tight singletrack decent that would’ve claimed alot of riders in the wet, more fireroad up the middle carpark and then back down more tight singletrack to the bottom fireroad. We then climbed up badgers, which was a sod and I had real problems keeping my front wheel down! From there we hit the fast flowing singletrack over the top of stanmer and down over the first road bridge into Coldean, turning immediate left into some new rather good singletrack. From here we wound our way to the second road bridge and back up to the log run section and and then back down again taking in some more new singletrack before hitting the big bombhole and then a short grassy and annoyingly hard climb before dropping down one last bit of singletrack and into the arena.
As the race progressed the ruts and dust where starting to become an issue; line choice in some places was down to luck rather than judgement and as fatigue started to make its presence felt, care was needed rather than flat out speed. Much to my surprise the time flew by my second set of laps coming around quickly and having got some food/painkillers down me and re-hydrated and stretched I set off and was quite pleased to notice that a little local knowledge was helping; I could make up alot of time in the singletrack and just about stay in contention on the fireroads. ( something to work on there! ) Coming towards the end of the fourth lap my rear Continental Speed King started to get a bit drifty and after nursing it to the bombholeI stopped to stick some more air in it only to find my pump was buggered! I cursed numerous gods and got my arse in gear to meet Andy for his final lap! Greeting me with ” You’re late! ” he took off for what was a blinding lap, no idea where he got the puff for that one but he flew around to find me still trying to work out where the hell the hole in the tube was! A quick discussion followed and we quickly swapped pedals, pumped his shocks up harder and I legged it on his full suspension Cannondale racing to beat the 8pm deadline. Riding the ‘dale was a blast and I made full use of the rear shock to pedal pedal pedal! Climbing was noticeably easier on badgers thanks to its better grip on the roots and I thrashed it to within an inch of its life to beat the clock by 4 minutes ( no thanks to some horrible hamstring cramp on the last little climb! ) and came hurtling over the line to collapse in a heap! Good job done!