Not really a mountain, some mayhem

The start of summer, originally uploaded by Alex Leigh.

Last night, the kids and I marveled at the huge tented sponsor’s village which comprised just a small portion of the whole Mayhem experience. It makes the CLIC-24 like a few mates riding from the local pub, but I guess 3000+ entrants, a huge field and a near 100{45ac9c3234d371044e23e276755ef3a4dde8f1068375defba7d385ca3cd4deb2} showing from the MTB retail sector would do that to any field. Even a wet one.

How different yesterday was, cracked earth, rock hard ground and swirling dust. The course was 100{45ac9c3234d371044e23e276755ef3a4dde8f1068375defba7d385ca3cd4deb2} rattly*, riding fast and loose, cheekily off camber in sections and punctuated by two tough grass climbs. Riders were coming in from sighter laps with smiles on their faces and sweat on their clothes.

All this pre-race happiness despite the entire riding flange desperately checking late forecasts to see if the rain was still coming. And it has come, right on schedule. Wind, misty but persistent rain, entire county clamped in low cloud and general ugh. A nice man in a BBC suit cheerfully explained it’s going to be better tomorrow but worse later today.

It seems the epicentre of the front will converge on Eastnor Castle at about 2pm. Which, because Sod makes laws, is the exact start time of the race. Maybe the rain should just buy an entry like everyone else since it turns up every year and pisses on and off every rider, as they slog through the muddy and sodden course. It’s even worse than elite riders charging through shouting “Podium rider, make way“.

Yet the atmosphere was great last night, and it made me remember what I loved about these events. Meeting old friends, caressing box fresh bike bits, grabbing a beer and talking about old times. Many of which were fantastic, almost none of those had anything to with riding.

I wonder how that atmosphere will feel when we wander up later with cake, waterproofs and mud tyres for some friends who are rain racing.

Until then I tip my virtual hat to the lot of them. As I need to tip it anyway – it’s full of rain.

* So I heard. There was no way I was wasting valuable drinking time trying it myself.

4 thoughts on “Not really a mountain, some mayhem

  1. Alex

    UPDATE: Seems they dodged a bullet. Few showers, scary looking skies, bloody windy but mainly dry. I went twice looking for some friends and never found them. It is BLOODY Huge that event. Either that or they saw me coming and hid 😉

  2. Ian

    .. Updated update.. light misty rain turned into biblical downpours that would make noah twitchy (right on cue for my night lap) making lap times go from minutes to hours. Still, good to see you Al, and how amazing, to find you propping up one of the poles in the beer tent, like you said, it’s almost like I knew where to look 😉

  3. Alex

    In my defense I was dragged there by my friend Mark. Altho since I turned up thirsty, cashless and with kids in tow, he didn’t have much choice either!

    I’ve been in touch with my friends since the event and the terse synopsis would be “broken mech, off camber mud, somme like conditions, went home early” interspersed with the odd “loved it and sunburn”.

    I can only assume the last two were racing somewhere else!

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