Not Racing #2

8:15 pm on a friday evening and I am one of a group of 14 bicyclists stood in the fog and drizzle . My bike is somewhere ahead in the dark. We have just walked up a course containing pretty much every mountain bicycle based test known to man. A rocky opening which would be far from charitable if things go wrong. A road bit with a van. A kissing gate, some rock, some root, an awesomely silly 50 meter stepped climb and a whole load of muddy singletrack goodness to the pub to finish it all off. Now we are going to race back down.

A countdown from three and we are off, running in the dark to the space where I think I left my bike. No helmet light, can’t see a thing. OK, bicycle found, brief jog through the gap between mounting riders, cyclocross mount and we are off. Third place I think, perhaps Le Mans starts are my time to shine. Right, get pedalling, wait until it is steep enough for gravity to keep the speed up. Fog and the fact that the trail has a stream in it means no visibility at all. Keep the speed up, keep on the locals tail, he’ll know the lines right? He knew all the lines, except the one that went round the on-course van. Of the rocky bit in 4th, onto tarmac, get tucked. Slipstream Phil and the aforementioned local. That is second now? Sod it, concentrate. Through the gate, never raced through a kissing gate before, it goes well. Pedal onto the smoother trails. Shiiiiit, the stepped chicane comes up a bit fast, I guess I’ll be taking the outside line then. Keep it togetor through the fast bit until the right angled right handers looms up out of the dark.

Right, onto the flatter bit, time to relax a little. A quick glance back reveals scary lights on my tail, but a definate gap exists between us. Rick is gone, way out in front. Time to focus on 2nd. Lets get across the scary duckboard/north shore (delete as appropriate), take it easy until I have passed the three steps without the chicken wire on. Still upright, I’d best get back to racing. The only problem being the race now heads up the climb, the cyclocross section, the completely unridable bit. A slow push and an effort to get my breath back ensues. Check the lights behind me. I still have the gap.

Finally I crest the top of the climb, on the bike. It seems pedalling the 2nd half has given me a bit more time to play with. Never mind that, it is time for the fun bit of the course. Inside line into the trees and onto the off camber, muddy, rooty, oh so perfect singletrack. I have a new plan now though. The earlier ‘go as fast as possible’ has changed to ‘try to conserve your best ever result’ (mates racing is still a serious business you know).

Out of the singletrack a few minutes later, still upright, still 2nd. All that is left is a sprint down the very definition of a rocky track. Final corner. Rick’s ‘2nd place, who is this then’ is greeted with a frankly ridiculous ‘yyeeaaahhhh boooiii’. 2nd place, first of the loosers, all mine.

The Maccavalanche was an awesome little race. Huge thanks to Jay for sorting it out.

1) Rick M 2) Dave M 3) Josh 4) Chris B 5) Joe B 6) Rick B 7) Jay G 8) Paul AJ

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