Another milestone ticked off for me yesterday as I took part and completed the Wye Boar ride. Confirmed as not a race but a trial, the numbered and timed ride took in 37 miles of Forest of Dean and Wye Valley countryside, and had a great turnout and probably ideal weather.
I was lucky and had race mum in attendance taking time out from her studies to look after me, she also shot some photos before and after, thanks race mum (-:
So, the start-
It was a mass start, and everyone trundled out of Speech House field and around the corner to the trailhead where we massed back up and awaited the klaxon to go officially at just after 10am. Notice I'm in full bib tights...that was overdressing. I had to stop a couple of miles in and take them off due to overheating. This meant pretty much undressing fully at the side of the trail. Hey ho.
The course was a good mix of fire roads, singletrack and road sections. It was the first time out for me on the freshly built up (from used parts) full suspension Stumpjumper and I noticed the difference on the descents compared to my usual hardtail frame.
About 2 1/2 hours in I stopped to help a guy with a broken chain and also adjust my saddle as I was getting terrible numb wang. After ten minutes of trying to fix his chain with a removed pin I gave him one of my powerlinks. Charlie if you read this I hope you got to the end ok. Shortly after that I began to cramp up in my quads again. Grr.
A walk along a road section eased them a little.
Back in the saddle and after the first checkpoint and food stop I saw race mum and had a quick kiss and dropped off my bib tights. The course forked at this point with the shorter courses bearing off right, and the longer two left.
More pedalling ensued, along with some fun descents and tricky climbs. I next met up with race mum in St. Briavels at which point I was feeling pretty beaten up from the cramp and tiredness. Not even 2/3 of the way through and I was in the doldrums. A stern 'cheer the fuck up' to myself and off I went. As I took the descent to the bottom of Wyegate Hill I heard my name being shouted in a cheering fashion. A quick look and I saw my friends Neil and Debs who live nearby. I have robbed their picture -
The descent was a good one, followed by a climb that ended in walking and pushing up the other side.
I had a good chat with a fellow hubgear fan aboard a Rohloff hub equipped Singular on the ride along the other side, and still the miles continued to roll on. Coming into Newland I stopped to help another bunch of riders who had snapped a chain, yet another powerlink gone but at least they are moving. Pay it forward people.
As the ride went through a relaxing valley I paused by a bridge to have a bite to eat and got a family to snap a picture.
There were emus wandering about which made it interesting, and the scenery was really pleasant.
Anyway, on with the ride.
It had got to the point of being an endurance challenge and I buddied up with a couple of guys who were also suffering with the cramps. Encouragement and general feelings of comradeship ensued as the three of us carried on. A section of berms and forest singletrack livened up the last few miles and with the cramp kicking in again the finish was in sight.
After a little walking to stretch the muscles I managed to cycle to the finish line and get my cake and coaster, then down a cup of orange squash.
37 miles done, time somewhere around 5 hours 45 minutes, position somewhere around the back.
Sense of achievement- massive.
Biggest ride time wise to date and what's more I DIDN'T CRASH!!! The trail karma must be looking after me for helping people out.
4 weeks ago