2016 Macavalanche

Macavalanche is a three stage enduro race that takes place on Glencoe mountain in Scotland. It’s well known for its amazing scenery, down to earth chilled atmosphere and a Megavalanche style mass start final stage down the snow. The race pays homage to the French Megavalanche which is the daddie of mass start style enduro event, held in Alp Deux Huez Ski Resort every year.


Being my first mass start style enduro on SNOW !!  I really didn’t know what to expect. Snow, mud, rocks and creaky chairlift uplifts were all present but not sure about correct ? There was lots of friendly banter, with great apprehension about the snow on the stages, do I run with my bike or try to ride it in 2 foot deep snow. Only time would tell.

The racing would be BLIND which means that no practice laps or section sessioning is allowed. The racing run is the first time each rider has ever ridden the stages. There’s no course inspection allowed. The organisers call this “the original Enduro format”.

It’s one of the more remote and wild Enduro races out there on the UK scene. Riders need to be self-sufficient and must carry first aid kit, emergency foil blanket, whistle, food & plenty of water for 5 hours on the mountain. No feed stations either !!

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Stage 1      VIDEO

After 2 very dodgy chairlifts to the top of the mountain, the first stage strated right smack in the middle of the snow. I was timed into to my start & off I went dragging my bike through knee deep wet snow for nearly 2 minutes. About 90 seconds into my run/ski?? I was passed by a rider, not happy!! But with 2 very dodgy knees (anybody that knows me) I had to take it easy till the pedal came. Onto the bike I popped down a muddy slope & onto more snow, abit more on & off the bike & eventually the pedal came, nearly 4 mins into the stage at this point. I had passed the rider that had passed me at 90 secs & also another 5 or 6 riders. Onto the pedals I was, plenty of really rocky stuff with some muddy single track. When I eventually hit the final red decent back into the resort I was in full flow screaming at the riders in front that I was passing on the right or left. A few more riders dispatched & I hit the finish, arms pumped, hands burning & calf’s on fire, but mostly exhilarated by the 10 min decent hitting nearly 30 mph on the final run in !! *#*#*#* Brilliant!!!

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Stage 2     VIDEO

After a very short break, back on the chairlifts to the top.A Quick push in the snow to the next start point. This had an uphill ride/push in this stage! Not Fun! I got a good start which went straight downhill, this was a ‘how fast do you dare go bit’ pretty much let off the brakes & went for it. Massive patch of snow midway, just hit it & hold on! Through some more mud & rocky drops then the dreaded grind up a grassy rocky hill. Rode three quarter of way up then off for a push. Passed a few riders which I was amazed by, given I was rubbish on the push up. Popped back on the bike & the course joined the bottom part of stage 1 after crossing a rickety old bridge. Again made good time on this section with a fast finish & the same beat up feeling with adrenaline pumped jubilation. I Up-loaded my ride to starva & to my amazement I had got the 2nd fastest time of the day down the Red & only 1 second behind the fastest man ‘Dave brown of cycle addicts’ my racing partner. So I was doing something right on the pedal sections.

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Stage 3 – Mass start    VIDEO

After some lunch, back on the chairs to the top for the final time. A long push & hike-a-bike up the snow to a steeper part of the mountain, were the deep virgin snow awaited us. The race director then shouted out the fastest 30 or so riders of the day so far (stage 1 & 2 times combined) to form 3 lines with everybody else behind, in order of fast, average & along for the ride( slow LOL). I had my number (no. 13 – lucky for some) read out for the 3rd row so I was top 30 out of the 300 riders. I decided 1 foot clipped in & 1 dragging as a sort of rudder with my weight on the back tyre (cheers Si for the heads up on this). After 10 mins we got the 30 seconds count then 5 seconds. The horn blew & it was every man/woman for him/herself! I went for the left side of the slope to try keep clear of the carnage that unfolded. I was nearing the bottom of the 300 foot snow slope when a rider came out of no-where, he was totally out of control & nearly wiped me out! I gave a very sharp turn to the right & ended up right in the middle of downhill bike wars!! With only another 20 foot of snow left to ride, I just managed to stay upright & hit the sharp left turn into the deep mud !! I got on the pedals & headed down the hill. From here it was identical to stage 2, but with lots of riders taking all the best lines made for exiting racing. After going off some quite large drop offs I hit the same snow section with plenty of speed & shot through it straight into the end of the first part of the downhill. Picking off riders up the climb I was feeling good. The bridge crossing with a little bit of snow came next & was ok but some of the riders in front where slowing my progress, so I took the decision to ride the very rough side line which was slower but had no traffic. I passed 4 riders as I blasted into the Red downhill section. I caught up 3 more riders on this. All the way down it was hell for leather trading paint & bar banging!! I managed a cheeky under take near the end & nearly shot past the finish post without timing out (small chip on my hand had to be read at finish).

As I rode into the finish arena there were about 20 people already finished, I was pumped to say the least, what a buzz & a top 20 mass start finish was a good result.

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Overall I finished 31st out of everybody (all classes, counting all 3 stage times) & 4th in the VET class, just missing the podium.

This is definitely one of them races that is a tick off & do at least once. A very well organised Enduro with a great atmosphere & some of the most beautiful & stunning scenery of any race that you can do in the UK.

CHECK THE YOUTUBE FOOTAGE FROM THE RACERS POV. (The footage is not mine, but I do appear in it from time to time. Orange & white top with green & white helmet. CLICK ON  VIDEO ENJOY

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PMBA Grizedale Enduro  17h April 2016

 

The Grizedale PMBA Enduro is a 1 day event with practice in the morning & the main race over 4 stages in the afternoon, of which 3 of the stages were 5 minutes and were the most technical to date.

Grizedale trail centre quite literally is in the middle of nowhere. However the centre itself is modern with an awesome cafe with excellent and friendly staff, and a fully kitted bike shop.

After a quick registration I set off with my usual race partner (Dave Brown of Cycle Addicts Rochdale) to check out the 4 stages. This was a 14 mile lap with nearly 3000ft of climbing. The satges had everything !! Lots of mud, roots, drops & some sweet fast single track. The transitions were quite tough with plenty of slow climbing with some very steep push ups. After the practice, a free lunch awaited us with a chillout in the sun before the main event.

The race

The first two stages finished by Coniston water in the lakeside car park and after each stage there was a fairly arduous climb back up onto the ridgeline, which had a basic feed station at the top (water & a flapjack).

Stage 1

After a fairly long climb up to the top of the trail, stage 1 sat in amongst the trees. Rooty death hell the marshals called it and the longest stage of the day. I knew this was going to be a test of fitness & technique. About two metres from the start, I could see that the previous description were accurate. A lot of  nicely polished, shining roots crossed over for the first 20 foot of the start. A bit of foot dabbing got me through the worst and I was off, lots of tight muddy rooty turns then spat me out with the first log jump. Down some more turns to the fire road sprint to the next part of the same stage. This was a off camber rooty muddy single track. A few short sharp drop offs and you were in to the next fire road sprint that sapped the juice from the legs .It wasn’t all mud though; there was the KS drop (another log jump). Lots more fast and wet rocky descents to bring you to the bottom of Coniston finish line.

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Near the top of rooty death hell ( not me )

Stage 2

The second stage was a loamy trail that had a multitude of line choices, a river crossing with a short up hill blast and some sneaky corners with looming roots. keeping on the pedals to make quick progress in the less technical sections , the trail opened up onto a grassy field that was developing some rutted corners, but was great to rail the bike down. Another short fire road sprint with a bus stop style diversion to slow you into the next wood section. Loads of fun and for me my favourite part of the day, plenty of loamy style turns & switchbacks all the way back down to Coniston's second finish of the day before the same climb back up to the feed station.

Stage 3

Caron Cragg, is usually a walkers trail but once a year it turn into ‘puncture alley’. It had some sneaky rocks and a couple of sections reminded me of the rock slab features on the Fort William downhill. It was a short and action-packed stage that crammed so many features, slippy slabs, wooden bridges, muddy puddles, drops, lots of very sharp rocks and flat out descents. The stories of punctures weren’t exaggerated either: a shower of upside down frames with rear wheels, tubes and pumps was scattered along the transition road to stage 4.

 

Stage 4

The top section of this stage was fairly technical, going through some muddy ruts and awkward roots before leading onto a felled forest and a trail centre jump line. There was a huge fire road section that that was going to kill everybodies legs, as the start of this had a slight uphill at the start. Dropping back into the forest, riders were greeted with a technical rock slab and some mud-coated rocks. Homeward bound toward the finish line was alongside a lovely piece of single track. Hard on the pedals to the finish right back into Grizedale event village

I was pretty much empty after a tough days riding. Not the biggest loop I had done but feeling a little under the weather right upto race day it had took it out of me. Finishing 11th in the Vets was ok considering the Talent that had raced & my man flu LOL.

 

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 Me on the jumps at the bottom of stage 4

 

 

Ronde Van Calderdale 2016

Sunday April 10th

Dubbed by many as one of the toughest sportives in the country I thought a cheeky last minute entry as the weather was looking ok for April.

The ride started at Spen Valley High school, with a very organised sign on. At 9.30am we where released in waves of 40 or so riders, with temperatures still in low signal figures. A steady but brisk pace was set for the first hour or so till we hit the first cobbled climb of the day. As there where 12 cobbled climbs to do with the majority averaging grades of 20%, I tried to ride up the first climb at a steady seated pace. This climb was called Steele Lane and was a good starter for 12 !! I reached the top with everything creaking (me & the bike) due to the steepness & cobbles.

I was now ready for the task ahead, I knew this was going to be one of the more difficult & challenging days in the saddle. My goal was obviously to finish but also not stop (dab -put a foot down- rest) on any of the climbs.

Many climbs came and went and I was feeling OK. Then just as i was thinking about abit of food I heard in the pack of riders I was with "this is a pretty tasty climb". I thought right, steady, seated & no dabs !! Little did I know this was Shibden wall, one of the toughest climbs of the day !! Yes it was as I hit the cobbles & it went up & I couldn't see the finish. A few more twist & turns as it ramped up a little steeper near the top for 2-300 meters of torture on the legs!! A little breather at the top & a gel & I was off in search of some more pain. 

Old lane was next up and as a sweetener the second feed station was at the top. This was an average of 22% of big cobbles with wheel size gaps to bring you to a halt. I set off up this wall of cobbles looking up, again not seeing the top, just signs saying unsuitable for motors, quite a few cyclist off the bike and walking. As I clicked through my gears, no more were left and I had to stand on the pedals just to keep them turning but also trying to keeping the back wheel from spinning out. As I saw the top I made an extra big effort as there was plenty of encouragement from fellow cyclist & members of the public clapping & shouting to keep the legs turning for the final ramp, and man was that steep !! As I crested the top I leaped off the bike straight into the feed station still un-able to talk as my lungs were still scooping in oxygen. Hunger & feeling sick hit me all at once but thirst for water & jelly babies won. After 10 minutes of eating, drinking & shouting encouragement for the other cyclist I was ready for the last 25 very tough miles.

 

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OLD LANE ABOVE ( Not me just another rider in the pain cave)

Right from the off it was more climbing, but non of this was on cobbles, just normal tarmac, so in essence this did not count. Try telling that to my beaten legs thats had started to let me know that CRAMP was round the corner :(( After quite a bit more up & down in a lovley headwind just to make sure that i was suitably tired I knew I was approaching TROOPER LANE. This was the last cobbled climb of the day & it was the toughest, steepest, longest climb of the day. Again it set out with a sign saying Unsuitable for Motor Vehicles. A tarmac ramp to get the feel what was ahead, a few steep switch backs before the real work. There it was a very straight steep cobbled climb, the cobbles had been re-laid recently so where quite uniform - but still cobbles !! I got in a rhythm for the first minute( seemed a lot longer), then i was out of the saddle as i passed spectators & photographers taking pictures of our screwed up faces. As i passed the spectators I thought i was near the top - stupid boy !! not even halfway, its just turned a corner & went off into the distance, up, and then turned another corner. As i reached that corner, same again, up with another corner, surely that was it !? Everything was hurting and groaning under the strain. I didn't even want to look at my heart rate/power monitor, because i knew everything was in Red zones by now. One last corner and I could see the top about 100 meters away. I put my head down & just grinded up the last section to the top. As I crested I saw a table & chair put out by one of the locals with food and water on it. All i wanted to do was ride the last 8 mile back before the cramp hit me.

Well the cramp hit 3 mile from home & locked my left leg (my rather dodgy leg) just as i entered a roundabout. So i pedalled the next mile or so with 1 leg while the other was left dangling in the wind. I managed to stretch it out & make the last non climb & crawled into the finish. Signed off & got a few goodies. A bottle of RVC beer, a RVC neck warmer & plenty of food & water to top up the very depleted energy tanks.
Ride time was 5hr 50mins but total was about 6hr 30mins with stops. Strava ride & route here

76 Miles & 10,000ft of climbing

This was the toughest day I have had on a road bike bar none !! Would I do it again - Yes !! great sense of achievement, very well orgnised and all profits go to a good cause ( Kirklees cycling Academy for Kids). But one thing I wouldn't do is then go and do a night shift at work !! haha

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 2nd Meeting of cycle section 2016

Our second meeting of the year was at Horwich fire station. The ride was going to take in Rivington, Healey Nab & White Coppice.

As per usual the weather was testing us with a wet & windy start to the ride. Our guide for the day was Mark Anderson.

The route was not a particular hilly, more of a rolling route with just one long but steady climb at the halfway point.

Mark took us on some very nice single track trails just after Rivington Lower reservoir. With plenty of wet slippery mud on the trails the ride was a lot of fun with plenty of sideways action, non more so than for Mark. With a dodgy set of brakes on his cyclo cross bike he was making some very interesting line choices down some of the descents, using his feet & anything he could to slow himself down.

A little further into the ride we hit White Coppice, this had one of the best downhill tracks in the area. Very rooty, rutted, with plenty of technical areas to make for an interesting downhill. We pushed up to give it a whirl, only issue I had was I was on my cross country bike & the rest where on cyclo cross bikes - this was going to be interesting !!! I set off like I was on my Enduro bike only to nearly go over the bars off a drop off then into some bushes as I tried to make a rooty corner (wet & muddy roots 1 - xc tyres 0 ) so I had a word with myself & slowed down a little. The others followed me down smiling but with a little fear in there eyes, or was that just mud ?? We rode on from there discussing our inner Steve Peat and said we would be back on proper bikes to give a better account of ourselves.

We headed towards the only significant climb of the day - Brinscall wood Great Hill. A very nice climb up through the moorlands, but on this day, a wet windy & chilly ride to the top. All said it wasn't that bad with Mark giving us a little History lesson on the way up. After a short break at the top to refuel we pretty much re-traced our steps back to Rivington, minus the downhill.

We made good progress back to Horwich where Hot showers, a cuppa & some snacks where waiting for us. All in all a good route with abit of everything & a lot of British weather !! Thanks Mark for the guide & the history lesson.

 

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 CLIF CROSS 2016 27th March

South Pennine Valley & Hebden Bridge

 

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This event was in its 5th year. The usual leg battering route was around 29 miles off road with some 4000 ft of climbing. This year you could opt for the extra loop & do 43 miles & 7000ft of climbing. So I thought why not, in for a penny & all that.

On the morning of the ride, the weather was sort of looking ok but with some proper Pennine weather due later in the day.

I set off at 9.30am with the mass style start of around 180 cyclo cross & mtb riders for what looked like a nice ride round this beautiful valley.

After climbing up quite a few very steep cobbled & off road climbs we arrived at the 1st challenge of the day. This was in the style of a timed hill climb (a little timing chip had already been strapped to my ankle in the morning). The climb was around a mile that progressively got steeper & rougher near the top. I made a steady start as I didn't know what the hill was like & slowly picked off a few riders early doors. Tying to keep a steady but threshold style pace I reached the summit & pretty much fell off the bike with exhaustion. After a brief break of catching my breath & giving encouragement to fellow riders I got back on the bike as the 1st feed station was only a few miles away. Quick coffee, cereal bar & a banana & I was ready for the next 30 miles !!!

The pace slowed down a little (my legs still feeling the hill climb & the wind was head on & in full flow 25mph+). It felt  alot more ups than downs for the next 2 hours or so before we arrived at the base of Stoodley Pike Hill.  After a short climb we hit the 27 mile left turn back to finish or right for another punishing 16 mile & another timed hill climb. So I went right as I didn't think I was cold, wet or tired enough yet !!!??
After a few more ups & downs in this relentless head wind I arrived at the foot of a very steep climb. Nobody there beside a few sheep & a marhsall sat in his car eating pizza, keeping out of the driving rain. As I approached him, he just laughed at the look on my face & said 'go on give it everything' , I said 'NO - just steady away for me now' ! As soon as my wheel rolled over the line, little red horns popped out of my helmet & I dropped a gear & pushed off up the ridiculous steep & rough climb. The climb is called Penny Steps with parts that are nearly 40% in gradient, this had me blowing both ends, legs & lungs screaming & all the time trying to keep the bike going upwards with the very rough & undulating terrain. Once reaching the summit, a few muddy bogs & a small decent had to be done before crossing the line. Awaiting me was the 2nd feed stop, well stocked van of snacks & drinks. After downing my own body weight in jelly babies & figs I was off for the final 10 leg battering miles.

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Crossing over the infamous Cragg Vale road, I was back onto another steep 30% off road climb with what seemed to be this same headwind that has followed me for nearly 30 miles now. Once I had summited this I could smell the Hog roast waiting for me at the finish. But the moors hadn't finished with me yet !! I looked at my Garmin & it said I had another 7 miles to do with a huge cluster of very dark clouds approaching me. Then it hit me, sideways hail & my back tyre decided to deflate very slowly. I took shelter under a tree for 5 mins hoping for the storm to pass, not a chance just thunder & lightening to top it off while I was perched under a tree on top of a mountain. So I thought last big pushed down the hill & hope I don't loose the back tyre or Ill be riding on the rim (not a chance of trying to fix it with 1 mile to go & froze to the bone).

I arrived at the finish with a flat back tyre, soaked to the skin but in one piece & a nice feeling of achievement. Just under 5 hours in the saddle was a pretty respectable time for the conditions & terrain.

To top off the day I got a very large Hog Roast sandwich, freshly carved & some entering banter.

A few days later the results where published for the 2 hill climbs. To my shock on the 1st hill climb I bagged a 4th place overall & on the 2nd Hill climb up Pennysteps I was 2nd !!! Looking at 1st place, he was just under 1/2 a second faster than me !! So all in all I was happy with my results after the pain I had put myself through the 2 climbs.

On reflection I did enjoy the day, well organised, good feed stations, plenty of banter & beautiful scenery !

ILL BE BACK NEXT YEAR FOR THAT 1ST PLACE ;)

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 First Group Ride of 2016

With a break in the constant down pour of what seems forever !! The weather was looking pretty damn good for the MTB ride round the local trails of Bury, Edenfield & Holcombe. We had a 10am meet at Bury FS. A quick brief was given to the small group of riders & off we went. Being the start of the year with the faint ringing of xmas in our ears & more importantly in our BELLIES, this was just going to be a very steady ride.

We headed up the kirklees cycle trail to Holcombe before peeling off to Summerseat. We had quick stop at the Waterside pub, the one that was in the news that got washed away in the boxing day storms. Quite funny really as I got married there back in 1993 & that was a washout as well LOL. From there we headed up over to Nuttall park witnessing more of the flood devastation on the way. We picked up the next trail in Stubbins which took us eventually to the foot of Robin Hoods Well. This was the only serious climb of the day. Its has an average gradient of 12% but has a 15% start to it over slippy rocks. Challenging in the summer so a wet winter ride was interesting for us all. We all made it up without to many dabs & our lungs were working very well at this point !!

 

From here the ride was muddy & wet but this is mountain biking & abit of mud plugging is good fun. We climbed our way to Peel tower on the top of Holcombe hill, touch the tower (must do !) and have a picture.

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With 90 minutes done in our xmas legs there was a little muddy climb before we had some fun on the downhills. The trail from here took us towards Bull hill & around a very narrow goat trail towards the Horse shoe trail. This got very technical but we all made it without 1 off. We joined the Horse shoe lower down and made our way to one of the steepest downhill trails around these parts. Its only short walk down for any not up for the challenge. Again we all got down in various shapes with lots of sideways action. Big smiles at the bottom is always a good indication of the fun factor of these local downhill sections. I was riding a cross country bike as was a few others, so nothing to insane that you be needing a full downhill rig for any of our MTB rides.

That was pretty much the end of the ride with a few more muddy lanes & trails cutting through Summerseat & back onto the Kirklees trail for a nice pleasant roll back to Bury FS. Once back we had some well deserved cake & coffee (provided by the cycle section for every group ride) while we washed down our bikes. While we discussed a few of our near misses we also knocked around ideas for future rides. These will be a monthly & will be road as well as mountain bike. A few trips are planned to other brigades for rides with there sections, and some trail centre trips thrown in for good measure.
Hope to see you on the next one ;)

 

 

Sunday 8th of November saw the 2nd Remembrance Sunday MTB ride to Whittles Pike cross, on scout moor between Edenfield & Rochdale.

YouTube video of ride (in Pictures)

The 1st year I ran this ride it was really a last minute thing that I put out to a few riders on Strava. I thought lets combine my love of mountain biking with a very important day in the year.

So this year I threw the net a little wider & put the word out using Facebook. I also asked my local bike shop cycle addicts rochdale & the drop off cafe edenfield  to help out with the organising of the event.

The morning came of the event & it was shocking english weather with heavy rain & high winds forecast. The rain had started by 8am with the wind picking up. I had asked riders for a meet & greet at the cafe for a cuppa tea, pick up a poppy & short brief about the ride. The rain was coming down & I was abit apprehensive about the turnout. I shouldn't have been. By 930am the cafe was rammed inside & out, and the rain was still coming down. I gave a quick brief, explained the route & off we went.

 

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The route took in 2 well known off road climbs, the first was Bamford road. This climb is pretty much an old cobbled road washed out in places, it had small river running down it with the current weather conditions. This went upto Edenfield road where there was a little respite from the climbing.

 

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We all met at the bottom of the Coal road which is the main off road climb up onto the moor. Again this is a rough old road that is about a mile long climb. By the time we all reached the top of the coal road, the visibility was down to a few feet with the nearly blowing us off our bikes.

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After I made sure we where all together we rode to the Pike with about 20 minutes to 11 am. With the wind increasing in speed the stop at the Pike (the highest point on the moors)I tried to make the stop as short as possible.

A few minutes before 11am I got everybody to move there bikes to one side so we could form a shallow ark around the cross. 11 am came & we all observed 2 minutes silence. It was a rather eerie with the wind blowing so hard & the cold just going straight though us. It really made you think about all that had fallen & the experience some of them had gone through for us.

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After the ceremony we all jumped on our steeds & headed towards Cragg quarry at a pace to try & warm up. We rode for another 45 minutes back towards our start point taking in some fun trail riding in pretty tough conditions.

 

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On arriving back at the drop off cafe, Colin davies (ex GMFRS fireman) had put on soup & cake for the riders for a small charge. All profits from this where going to the Royal British Legion.

The final count on riders was 60. Which was an amazing turnout considering the conditions. 

Money raised on the day was £226. Hoping next year to double this & get over 100 riders. Watch this & Facebook for information on this around September 2016.

 

This is my 1st post as the new Treasurer of the cycling section. I have big plans for the next year & will be announcing many events & putting on rides regularly.

 

Thanks

Ged Birch

 

 

 

 Trailblazers battle it out in the annual Fire Service race Coed Llandegla Forest

Things got hot this weekend on 27th october 2015 when 81 riders set out for the annual fire service cross country race, at Coed Llandegla Forest. Once again the race saw a great turn out, with all battling for the local bragging rights. A challenging mix of trail, forest road and natural sections kept the riders grinning/grimacing on the autumnal Sunday morning.

Ged Birch & Graham Bryce made the trip down to this very well organised race. For myself (ged birch) this was my 1st XC race in 2 years as I had been racing Enduro for the past couple of seasons. Graham a seasoned racer at both xc & cx gave me the low down on our competition. We set off with a rolling start through the start finish area & we where off !! I just put the pedal down & tried to stick with the main group of the 1st major long climb. Bad idea as I started to suffer near the top with quite a few riders including Graham going past me. I held on to the back of the group & over the 1st lap picked off most of the pack on the downhill sections (my area of strength). I picked up Graham & gave him a cheeky pass,  this was short lived as we entered the 2nd lap with him hot on my wheel as he passed me & pulled away. From this point on I held my position, while Graham made good ground into the lead pack.

The final lap was a good steady pace with me feeling confident for a podium in the Vets but a local rider had me in his sights & dealt me his back wheel !! I just couldn't hold the pace. I looked over my shoulder & not a rider in sight so I just sat back into my rhythm (which was threshold level) & headed for the finish.
I pulled across the line feeling good knowing I had a pretty good finish in a field of some experienced xc racers.

Final result for myself was .. 2nd fire service rider overall... 4 vet rider & 7th overall rider. Very happy !!

Graham grabbed 1st overall fire service rider .... 2nd Vet rider (podium) & 5th overall rider.

GMFRS showed strength in the last XC race of the season, lets hope it continues into next season. Check the Events page for upcoming races.

Well done to all who took part and big thanks to George from Chester Fire Station, for again putting on a great event.

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2 day FSAA bike ride.

On 13th and 14th May 2015, 4 members of GMFRS cycle section attended the FSSAA 2 day ride in the West Midlands. After an early start, we travelled down with a stop off at a café so that Rick could charge his phone. This was for maximum STRAVA usage. We arrived at the Youth Hostel in plenty of time and the weather was perfect.

We split into 3 groups of differing ability and distance to be covered and set off into the National Forest of Moira. The pace in the middle group was good for the first 20 miles or so until one of the group members started to ‘flag’ a bit. Even after Fingers had fed and watered him, he never gained the pace that he started with. Luckily for us the fast group went past us at about the 40 mile marker led by STRAVA chaser Rick, so a few of us jumped onto the back of that group and hung on until the lunch stop. After lunch we decided to stick with the faster group and even though we had covered 53 miles that morning the 30 miles in the afternoon was enjoyable and at a sensible pace. Back at the Youth Hostel, the bikes were locked up and a well-deserved beer was had on the patio with the sun still shining. Evening meal was consumed and then 12 hours forced rest in a bunk bed for one of the GMFRS riders while the rest of us enjoyed another beer or two.

Second day, we were on the road for 9 in the fast group again. Unfortunately the wind was fairly strong and the temperature had dropped, but the rain was not due for a few hours yet! About 25 miles in, an episode with a horse caused Wayne to sprint out of the way, narrowly avoiding a trip to the local A+E. With the horse behind us we cracked on for another 25 miles resulting in a sprint finish and the use of the ‘big ring’ for the first time that trip for Wayne.

 

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A thoroughly enjoyable 2 days and we are looking forward to the next one already. (Details to follow)


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