Great day for me as it was filled with familiar faces watching, riding, racing and some even standing upon the podium. Damp trails ready to dry out promised a slip or two and
The start saw a few regular Brightonmtb riders ready at the back for a long solo ride and even a few right at the front with the pro boys – maybe the course reversal had confused them.
As many of the top names had appeared this year it looked competitive in solo and all the main teams as well so I expected quick times. Dropping Coldean and Sting had left a shortened course with a long start that seemed well received but maybe suited roadie legs over technical abilities to maximise the best lap times.
Although many of us would prefer all singletrack and probably downhill too, it needs to be a push to stretch the field and give the technical riders a chance to make time on a clear run in the twisty bits.
The usual suspects pulled out on front on the first lap but some tape problems caused some lead riders to lose a few minutes and allowed some others to shorten the first lap however it sorted itself out by lap two.
Most riders were on racing on 29er hardtails but rear shocks still peppered the lower rankings with some brave retro souls taking on the challenge as well.
This year had a fat bike category and a Brightonmtb team reached the podium! Luke’s bike weighs approximately the same as a baby hippo so races up hills. It also races downhill as baby hippos gather momentum too. Luke was very red at the end of the race due to the sun and trying very, very hard. Well done to him and Nathan. Helen and Lou applied their recent Monday free-ride skills to achieve 4th (brilliant) and Bryan on his Singular was 5th in pairs SS (painful?). Chris Noble an ex-rider when he lived nearby was 3rd in mixed pairs(super) and Jimbo (south downs mtb skills instructor) and wife Tania 18th (great).
Solo male had JohnN 38th (fab) and I think Nick 44th (astounding). Tim would have been mentioned but rode under a foreign flag so 37th does not count. Best was SteveA in 17th also under a foreign flag!
On the single lap stuff DavidB was best in 10th (34:06)(unsurprising to everyone but him), Andy 14th (won best podium heckling prize), Rich was 17th (on one good knee), Alex 21st (Brompton secret training), beating Rob du Pre (previous rider) by one place, MattWi 24th(on hardtail I think so maybe fastest HT), Tom 36th but stopped 3 times to replace chain. Tom should blame the bike shop but as he built the bike up the night before…..
MattWo pushed new baby around but occasional visitor little bro Olli was 12th in solo. I have probably missed several names but only searched for Brightonmtb so….
I think the 26 minute hot lap fantastic and obviously well within all our reach for next year with just a little training. Course seemed faster at the end of the day and I did not notice a helicopter or ambulance so hopefully no serious injuries. A few riders lost places, as usual, but a few gained too and there was the odd timing hiccup but seemed quickly sorted out by timelaps boys.
I bought a mug for Carl (on his hols), ate some indian, voted on a cake and tried to encourage any past riders to return for a ride or two.
Off to hunt the internet now for a 26 minute bike that weighs 18 lbs, cost less than £1k and is painted in extract of the fountain of youth.