Anything 4 A Ride MTB Club / Race Team
Marin Dusk til Dawn 4/10/08  
   Up to Thetford Forest for our yearly trip to the Marin Dusk til Dawn. This was the 4th time we have competed in this race and only once have we got all the way to the end of it (2006). This year we were determined to complete it, however the weather gods had other ideas and tried their best to stop us, no chance though, we were well up for it and ready to take on anything. We got up there on the Friday night and had dinner and a couple of bottles of vino. Next day we got up around 11 and went for a recce lap. Long course but pretty fast and flowing, sub hour laps (or so we thought). All seemed pleasant and dry until the heavens opened Saturday night and just didn't stop.
Paul Report:
Marin Dusk Till Dawn, the race of legends!!! All 3 of us this year had the Friday off so we could amble up to Thetford and set up our small house and workshop!

Saturday lunchtime out we popped for a practice lap, the course we good, long but good, seemed pretty fast as well.

As I had never started D2D before it was my turn, I duly took my place in the pack at the start and waited for the go. The pack does a quick mile behind a quad before being set free, this is to split the pack up a little, but as always everyone kept bunched up and at the first bomb hole there was at least 5 mins wait. The rest of the lap was pretty uneventful, but it had started raining, oh and it never stopped for 12 hours!!!

My next lap was as around 23:30, Dave came in and handed over telling me it had got slippery. Off I shot and my god, the first fire road needed to be ridden at the side, if you tried the middle the back just slipped to the side anyway, but there were still bits of dry fast single track in the woods. The mud had taken its toll on my bike, my saddle kept slipping back so it was pointing up into the air, quick stop with the multi tool and fixed!

My last lap, at around 04:15, we were on for a 9 lap race, out I went and the course had all but washed away, the going was so hard I couldn’t get above about 6 mph, it was killing me! My saddle had slipped another 5 times, no matter how tight I did it! And had a couple of offs, just so slippery! The lap took 2 hours, ouch! And quick look at the scoreboard showed that I wasn’t too far off the pace, crazy!!!! But unless Graeme was super human we were down to 8 laps!

D2D was also the first try for my home made head light, built from bits brought on the internet and bodged together. It pumps out 240 lumens, it worked a treat. Check out the full review here.
Dave Report:
After a frankly lazy summer that's involved the occasional ride to work and a bit of running training for a half marathon later this month I didn't feel I was heading into this race on the best of form, but after our previous record in this race (only completed 1 race out of 3!) I felt I had to join the lads for this one.

I was lapping last of the three of us, so I had fair wait for my 1st go in the dark, and didn't need to get ready until after 10pm. Waiting in the pit for the hand over from Graeme I watched a fair few riders coming back looking seriously muddy, so was expecting a very different course from the one I'd cycled earlier that afternoon. My 1st lap was something of an experience! A very slick and slippy layer of mud had been churned up over huge sections of the course, in fact the 1st 5 miles was just one long slip and slide. I saw riders ditching all over the place and it wasn't long before I took a fall of my own, fortunately into a nice soft patch of fern rather than the muddy trail! Lesson learned I kept the bike upright from then on in. I passed a lot of riders but was pretty dissapointed to learn that we'd only gained 1 place in our class!

Best part of 3 hours later and I was out for lap 2, and the course had gotten a lot worse. There didn't seem to be any dry sections left at all and keeping the bike moving at any kind of pace was hard work. Again people were ditching everywhere but I managed to avoid hitting the deck! Apart from a short stop to swap batteries on the Exposure light I kept my pace up and had gained another place by the time I finished and passed over to Paul. When he asked me what the course was like all I could tell him was that "it's not so much cycling... more sailing!" The faces in the pit area were a picture! Back to camp and I got some rest expecting to back out some time around 7 for a final lap. I was woken around 6.15 and told Graeme needed to do a sub 1h 45 to get me out again. After a fair bit of coaxing I was back down in the pits for 7.45 awaiting Graeme's return for my final lap. As the seconds ticked away and the rain chucked down I have to say I was more than a little relieved when the horn went to signal the end of the race with no Graeme in sight. He arrived just a few minutes later looking totally shattered, but as the rain continued to pour we were all pretty happy to take a well earned break back in the race HQ, now slightly depleted after the gazebo had collapsed in the wind and rain sometime around 2am!

Just 2 laps for me on this years D2D, guess I'll be going 1st next year!!

Graeme Report:
After last years near miss there was no way we were dropping out of this one. After seeing Paul off at the start it was back to Race HQ (the tent) to get ready and spin up on the turbo trainer (yeah this was serious). After an hour, I went down to the start to await Paul for the change over. "I gonna tell Dave to change to muds" was all Paul said as we changed over. Great I'm running drys. It spent the first fireroad getting the lights angled correctly, then it was time to put the hammer down. It was pretty slippy and I had the good old Michelin XCR Dry2 tyres on, but the bike was handling perfectly, muds??? who needs them. Spent the first lap over taking loads of people and making sure nobody passed me. Completely railed the "Helter Skelter" section (why can't people ride burms in the wet?) and with that rush of endorphins flew up the next section. I was not trying to max it out though as I knew it was gonna be a long night. Got stuck behind a few people on the "MX Trail" section, but had a clean "Pork Pie Trail" to make up for it. "Cooking on Calor Mate".  Arrived back in the change over area (nearly crashing into Dave as I had trouble stopping) to find it was over an hour for the lap, oh well conditions were quite bad. Katie sorted me out with the Mars Refuel, some Chicken Satay Sticks and a Crunchie Desert so I was all refueled for the next lap.

3 hour wait for the next lap and conditions had worsened. Ross Brawn, sorry I mean Katie had already told me to put the mud tyres on, but I knew best, or so I thought, back out with the drys. The track was a quagmire under tyre, but I just had to plough on. The bike was slipping all over the place as I tried to go along the side of the trail. This time they'd opened "Tom's Bomb Hole" which had a 1foot drop off into a narrow gulley (ok it doesn't sound that bad, but it was 1am and very wet), I just managed to hold on. This lap was a pretty uneventful slog and 1 person overtook me, however I still took a fair few. When I got back to the pits we'd moved up 6 places, Race On!!! Mars Refuel again and this time some Spring Rolls. It was so bad out I just couldn't face changing the tyres for muds so left it and had a rest instead.

It was pretty obvious we'd only get 3 laps in each so the next one was to be my last. As conditions had worsened, I gave Paul an hour and half before I headed down to the change over area. It was over 2 hours before he arrived and we were getting worried. I'd need to pluck out a 1:45 for Dave to get out again, oh great. I went from it from the off and quickly found the fastest line was actually the muddiest, which was good for me, but not for the bike. The XCR Dry2s were working brilliantly and I had none of the problems I'd had on the last lap. The clock was ticking and I knew I was much slower this lap, but I had to get back in time. I had an off about 3 miles into the lap and wrapped myself round a tree, ouch. Oh well I was cold and wet anyway so couldn't really feel anything anyway. When I got to the Helter Skelter section I was already shattered, but this section is brilliant so had to go for it. It was even better in the thick mud and the bike completely railed each burm, in all the excitement though I think I probably used a tad to much energy up (should of taken some gels with me). As I got to towards the end of the lap I knew it was going to be close. I peddled as fast as I could down the Pork Pie trail, taking a few people and getting a few shouts of "go for it". After almost sprinting the length of the last fire road up to the finish I was so disappointed to see I'd missed it by 2mins. Blast, all that effort, but I know Dave was secretly pleased he didn't need to do another lap. Paul cheered me up though saying we'd broke the top 20 and come 19th. Smoove Move!!!!!

Thanks to Katie for again staying awake all night and cheering us all over the line each time (in the rain!) and for getting our food etc sorted. 
Position:   19/63
Laps:         8
Time:         12:02:32







Paul Plowman








Graeme Spreadbury






David James