Yesterday I had a jolly little cycle around Salisbury Plain whilst taking part in the SPAM Winter challenge ride. I had opted to do the 35km ride and unfortunately due to a complete lack of brakes on my mate Al's bike I was without a riding buddy.
This meant my lovely girlfriend had to stand in as race mum. This is a vital role to play as you will see dear reader. So we set off early in the morning to the start at Erlestoke. It really was a fantastic day to be out and about.
We rolled in somewhere around 0945 and picked up my race number and rules/guide. Whilst I got clothed race mum affixed the number to the bike with great care and twine.
Due to ice on the top part of the course the start got delayed 15 minutes and then all of a sudden we were off and away up a long twisting fire road climb. I'm afraid there aren't any pictures of the ride itself as I was riding, and didn't have a camera. So instead let me tell you this; it was crisp under-wheels and there were only a few parts where it was boggy in the tank tracks. The downhill sections were quite fun and could be taken without braking provided no one fell off in front of you. One rider did fall in front of me but they had the good grace to fall off the track and not under my wheels. I did hear hand-wringing moans from some riders about the practice of traveling downhill at such a pace but as I advised them in response; if you wanted to do something safe, you should have gone shopping not mountain biking.
There were a couple of long grassy climbs which brought back memories of the slog up the Sugarloaf a few weeks back. One section required a get off and push after the rear tyre just kept losing traction. The roads were roadlike and icy in places but nothing terrible.
It was great to travel through the lost village of Imber but sadly I was in no position to stop and sightsee.
After a few more climbs and descents the finish line rapidly approached.
Hurrah I had done it!!
See the joy on my face!
Race mum was on hand to provide a drink
and then escorted me to the tea and cake ladies where she kindly bought me a mug of tea and some delicious tiffin (long term readers will know how I love tiffin).
That then was the end of that, everything was loaded back up and off to Wales we went.
Thanks to the organisers, the tea and cake ladies (other vendors were available) and Race mum.
Update, the results are in and in this non-competitive event that you get given numbers and timed for, I came 27th from 159 in class.
4 weeks ago