Bontrager Twentyfour12, Team Muddy@rses’ Inaugural Event.

16 07 2007

Car packed with everything imaginable – check. Bikes on rack – check. Annoying sat nav programmed – check (grrr)

We’re off then to Team Muddy@rse’s first enduro event. We’d entered the 12 hour Open Mixed 4 Person Team with the idea of giving it a go, seeing if we liked it and having a bit of fun along the way.

Our Team consisted of me, Rick, Olly and HelsBels. Olly’s girlfriend Sally came along as Pit Manager and what a grand job she did (thanks Sally), although she was also cramming exam revision in at the same time hope you did well !

Cotswold Farm Park was the venue, excellently appointed and professionally supported by Bontrager/Trek/SRAM with 24 hr food (inc. healthy options like porridge!) and 24hr bike shop, light charging station, showers, plenty of loos and massive camping fields.

After a horrendous journey there, we eventually arrived and excitedly pitched camp. Our ‘flexi-gebo’ (check out the photos) creating a communal pit area for us. Winds were whipping and raindrops started falling, resulting in many a tether for the ‘flexi’, eventually topped off with a tow rope tied onto a car wheel, it weren’t going nowhere … It rained til about 6pm when we decided to pre-ride the track. It was muddy, it was slippery and it freaked me out !

IMHO the course was very technical, with lots of slippery mud and tight, very, very, off camber rooty singletrack which twisted and turned up and down with a couple of bombholes to add extra spice along the way. There were some tough challenging climbs in there too and the mud just made everything seem 10 times worse. I was now suffering fright or flight syndrome, what had I done? One of my ambitions this year was to achieve this race but now I just felt like being Pit Bitch…I had to get myself together. Easier said than done, it rain consistently all night long and I was now really worried…

Doing my best the following morning to keep it together, we race prepped our bikes one final time, fitted number plates, changed tyres for Trailrakers, ate porridge and decided a race strategy. Between us we had 5 mobile phones so we kept one in the pit and each took one out on our lap, 10 mins before the end, just before you enter the best bit of the track – the Mogul Field – we rang the Pit. Next rider would rush to the transition and wait changeover. Rick was used to racing motorbikes so he agreed to do the start (phew!). Strategy sorted, now all we had to was do it. Tick, tick, tick, 11am – Riders Briefing. Keith Bontrager gave (quite a few) wise words to us and set the scene for a fantastic race. Rush back to tent, help Rick get ready, cameras out and THEY’RE OFF !

The start was not a marathon run but a proper bike start, all very friendly and sociable, my nerves now skyrocketed as Rick went trundling by. 950 riders had entered in total which was amazing.

Back to the pit, Olly got ready for the next lap we were all really, really excited wondering how long it would be before we got the call. Deciding to get Olly back for splashing me with water (ok by mistake), a practical joke seemed appropriate to us girls. So after 25 mins, just as he was starting to get undressed, we rang the pit phone pretending to be Rick (I know it was mean but bloody funny) he believed us and although staying decidedly calm the pressure was on as he scambled about in the tent, so we added another call however this time with lots of giggles, our cover was blown and we owned up, sorry mate but it was funny J Rick called in proper after only 55 minutes, fecking hell! Even with all the scrums on the first corners, Rick had got round in great time. Olly to transition, clean changeover, wicked …

Rick’s feedback on the course was mud, mud, mud, very, very slippery, worse than last night – great ! However, Olly got round even quicker than Rick, and next it was me. I’ll admit I was very nervous but decided that my aim was to finish a lap, no matter how long it took and not to crash. I was on my new bike that I’ve ridden a handful of times (not the best idea I know), have been celebrating my birthday very efficiently since May and not training and just come back from holiday to Italy, so a finely honed athlete I wasn’t. Finishing was good, crashing was bad.

Olly to transition, couldn’t see him in the crowd, lost a bit of time, but I eventually got going (well, after a bit of a chat about his broken chain early into his lap). Olly said ‘it’s OK, bit muddy’. Understatement of the day ! It was bad, I struggled and found myself off my bike pushing quite a bit, once you’re off getting back on is difficult due to the snail trail of riders behind you, I had no choice I couldn’t afford to crash and this was for fun right ? Lots of other people were pushing so I really didn’t feel so bad and how friendly was everyone? Chatting as we went, checking all OK, etc.

On the first, and worst, section of woods I slipped out on a massive bone coloured off-camber muddy root just before a nasty little climb. Rushing to get out the way of the guy behind me I joked ‘that’s a killer root’….he said ‘I know, I put it there’… ‘are you Rob Lee (course designer) I asked … ‘yes’ he said as he slipped out completely on same said root and dabbed big time. Joking I let him by with a ‘if I catch you, I’m going to give you a slap’. Never did catch him. He was doing the 24hr Mens Solo, won it and I think managed 30 (yes that’s 30) laps of his course. I suppose he designed it so he had the advantage which was a little unfair J

I was having fun though, not quite racing, just taking part but for my first event that was enough for me I just wanted to finish and do my bit for the Team. So just before the best bit of the track – The Humpy Dumps – I rang into the Pit. Really on a high and over the moon I had nearly finished. They definitely saved the best til last though. The Humpy Dumps were great, about 5-10 mins of riding over open, swoopy lumps in the ground. It went on forever and put a huge smile on my face that’s for sure and made a great end to what had been a tough lap. Into transition, handover to Helen (otherwise known as ‘The Ringer’ ‘I haven’t been training honest!’) who did a fantastic lap that matched the boys’ time, this girl was flying and loved every minute of it.

The sun was not shining and the track was starting to dry out, more flying laps from Rick and Olly, great transitions and lots of excitement in the camp, chatting, laughter, eating rubbish and fettling with bikes. My next lap was much better, it had dried quite a bit but was now like plastacine, very sticky and rode like you had the brakes on. This was the twilight lap, about 7pm and it was fab. It was warm, hot air balloons were taking off in the valley, the sun starting to set and I enjoyed the ride and soaking up the atmosphere & experience for my old age memory banks. This was special. One more lap from Helen with lights going on for the tail end where she realized her £40 Cateye was crap in the dark!

Proper night lap for Rick at a great time and he was knackered out. Said he wasn’t going to overdo it, the racer in him said different.. he was shot. While Rick was out Helen was making noises about wanting to do a night lap, she’d never ridden in the dark and wanted a go. We worked out times and if, and I mean if, Olly did the fastest lap of the day in the pitch black he MIGHT just about get back with minutes to spare before midnight when our race finished which meant Helen could get a final lap in. Well, the gauntlet was dropped. Olly went out guns blazing, we gave Helen a set of our Lumicycles and her Cateye as backup and she was buzzing..’will the lap count?’… ‘I don’t want to do a night lap if it doesn’t count’…’yes it will count’.

11.30 Helen’s ready to go, 11.50 Olly calls, he’s just at the Humpy Dumps. Sally tells him ‘get moving you’ve got 5 mins to get back so Helen can have a ride’ (spot the little white lie)… we almost ran to transition, all very excited. Unbelievably Olly got back at 11.58pm, with 2 mins to spare Helen got her lap that counted. She was buzzing…off she went all lights blazing.

She did a blinding lap, especially when we found out that our lights ran out of juice after 15 mins and the only light she had was her Cateye (sorry mate)..never mind she did it and didn’t crash respect girl !

I’d hidden away a bottle a fizz to celebrate our achievements so at 1.30am we cracked it open and toasted our achievements. Then ate the fridge out and while the others went to bed, Helen and I stayed up and celebrated the day a bit longer. Well until the rain appeared again when we went to bed thinking of those poor souls who were riding 24hrs in those conditions. It must have made a tough ride almost impossible.

In the morning our overall result was 9th in our category which was just amazing because the top 3 teams were professionals. How proud and I of Team Muddy@rse, can’t put it into words but well done guys top effort all round ..Congratulations also go to Muddy@rser DirtDiva who was in the SheCycles Flumpettes 12hr Ladies Team who got 2nd on the podium and a great prize of sunnies for their efforts. Well done girls..

So, would we do it again ? Well, while saying goodbye there was lots of talk about Dusk til Dawn so watch this space J



and here!

Race results:




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