Do not know how frazer manages it but for the last 3 years its been sunny and upwards of 20degrees.
[me , image by Darren Wilkinson]
Hummed and haa`d about using my SS for this ride as i knew Rod Mason was in attendance and was using his SS. Spoke with frazer on friday night and he informed me of a big climby prologue loop designed to thin out the riders before the singletrack. Knowing i would get caught up in the bottle necks at the singletrack if i rode SS i opted to run the Merida with gears.
A relaxed start out the Nevis range carpark up to the fort william cycleway on the road behind a motorbike pacer saw the pack thin out slightly and once we hit the north face carpark we were let loose on the hill. A relentless climb which saw many of those at the front of the paced section be left behind. The first descent was down the Lazy k which interestingly doesnt make a very good descent ! Down the sandy brae and through the transition to begin the first lap. The first section all the way round to the bottom of the lazy k was the same as previous years with it taking a right turn ala sxc 08 onto the fire road for a slog up to the pipe. down the descent between the fire roads and a sharp right on the fire road to a newly cut wooded section with some ridable lines and many non ridable lines. Along the puggy line and then up the old jumpy swoopy descent to almost where you were before. Head along to the cackle (awesome flowy swoopy boardwalky rocky descent) before slogging up the puggy line to the witches brew. Where the course went back to the same as previous years.
[Image by Xpressphoto.co.uk]Despite having reservations about the Merida and the XT cranks mounted upon (im having knee issues that i put down to the increased Q factor on the Merida) the bike was comfortable and maybe the Q factor issue is all in my head as the only pain i experianced on saturday was CRAMP! and i wasnt alone ! with the temperatures hitting the high 20s and intensly sunny weather all day it was key to stay hydrated. So when my cage dropped my only full bottle somewhere between the start and the back climb i was in trouble ! Reached down and i had no bottle to drink from.
I managed to blag some water off Andy Barlow and Helen Dixon to try and limit damage and slowed down a good bit but it was futile. The next lap saw me starting to cramp up badly in both quads. At least twice a lap from there in i cramped. Sometimes bad and sometimes bearable. Ended up lying in a ditch cooling off as all the muscles in both legs cramped at once and i couldnt unclip.
In the end i kept plugging away and finished 7th over all. stats were 175k & 4500m climbing in 10 hours 51.
Jayne Jo and Char came 1st in female trio
Gordon Bathgate and Mark Smith came 2nd and 3rd in male solos
Mike Webster came second in male vet solo
Mike Milne and Neil Scott won Male vet pairs
So a good day for the ABC + Gordon !