The day didn’t dawn bright and beautiful as it had been doing for the last two weeks and it was with some trepidation as I made my way down the A303 in the dank and drizzle – chalk, water and mountain bikes just don’t mix.
An hour later I was on the bike and pushing up the 10 minute transition stage leading to the start gate, this was a 6 stage race with 4 actual stages and then riding 1 and 2 again as stage 5 and 6. The drizzle stopped, some brightness returned, and although the top third of most stages were somewhat greasy the lower sections were running quick with quite a bit of grip, and this was only to get better as the day progressed.
All the stages had a good mix of technical sections, berms, drops, rock gardens and jumps and when you got them right it was quick. When you stalled you were penalized and wasted valuable seconds. This is a place you could really have a good day sessioning, with loads of progressive lines. The atmosphere and vibe was really good, chatted with loads of different like minded souls and talked about tyres, bikes, kit etc without anyone yawning at me.
Possibly I rode a little more sensibly than last time, knowing of our impending Morzine trip, but still gave it a good go and wasn’t displeased with a 6th place, 27 seconds off the (younger) eventual winner. No injuries though, and an unscathed bike, which is more than be said for some of the damage that the rock garden dished out to those taking the wrong line.
We should return, possibly another skills day with B1ke. But only if dry.