Wednesday, 3 August 2016
2412 on the other hand was much smaller but all the better for it, there was a genuine atmosphere, you saw people in the arena and they saw them again on a lap and again in the arena so you could chat and compare notes rather than the anonymous nature of much bigger events. this made the whole weekend much more special for me.
the lap was just over 5 miles, half that of the MM lap but in my opinion it was the perfect length, just enough to be taxing fitness wise but short enough that the course planner could put some more technical sections in too without fear of fatigued riders making mistakes as the race reached it's latter hours. the start and finished snaked through the campsites and they encouragement from the track side campers was inspiring. sweets were handed out, cow bells and air horns were sounded and good natured ribbing too place, especially for those of us racing in kilts! there was a horrible climb but on one lap i got pushed up the hardest bit by some spectators and during the race half way up there was a stand giving out tea and scones! once over this climb you knew the fun part was about to start and it was generally all downhill to the finish. lovely snaking singletrack which was rooty and rocky in places and very fast if you had the bottle to stay off the brakes. the fast guys were polite when passing and there was plenty of room for them to do it. add to this a water crossing and some bridges and another trip through the campsite to the start finish line and i don't think the course could have been bettered.
We were there as part of the Beerbabe/NWAlps team doing the 24 hour race (there are two 12 hour races too) we were also working on the Beerbabe stand and the bar. The race has a beer sponsor and we handed out 5 barrels of beer over the weekend, it was so much fun refusing money for the beer and the look on the faces of the riders when we told them to put away their money was priceless!. we also handed out finish line beers to all the riders crossing the line at the end of their respective races. i think i was more tired staying up and doing that than doing the actual riding.
to sum up the weekend, it was well organised, friendly, had a great camaraderie and atmosphere and i got to experience it with some great friends.