Anything 4 A Ride MTB Club / Race Team
Mountain Mayhem 24h 18/06/11 
   Mountain Mayhem, 2nd year for this one and our biggest race of the year. 4 supporters this year, who kept us going through the night, I can still hear that cowbell ringing. Jon up for it this year as a new challenge. 
Dave Report
   Start line, Midday, Saturday the 18th June.  I wait at the start with hundreds of other cyclists, ready to run the 1st lap of the Mountain Mayhem 2011.  It’s not been the greatest preparation, I’ve not ridden my race bike in over a month and last weekend’s festival possibly wasn’t the healthiest – but I’m here and ready as I’ll ever be!

   Pat Adams, MTB legend and organiser of MM gives us a few well chosen words, and then the countdown starts to the run.  Its longer than expected, a good couple of miles, and it feels like forever before I’m heading back into the arena to collect my bike.  Shouts from around the course urge me on, team anything 4aride and all the pit crew are out in force this year, especially after Abigail got her cow bell!!

   Lap 1 is the usual nightmare of bottle necks and tricky sections and long queues for slow movers through the single track – looking forward to my second lap being a lot clearer!  Before too long I’m heading back through the campsite, 40 odd minutes through my 1st lap, and once again the cheers of the team keep me peddling.  The climb out the campsite is a long one, 20 minutes or more, and it’s a slog up to the Monolith that marked the top of last year’s climb too.  The downs here are slick and slippery, loads of people around me are ditching bikes in favour of jumping into bushes – hope this doesn’t cut up to badly!  Final descent to the finish isn’t great either – very very bumpy and not particularly challenging, just straight down the side of a field!  Overall, pretty disappointed with the course after my 1st lap, though hopefully a clearer run at the single track will perk me up for lap 2.

   The rest of the team head out for their laps, we’re averaging about 1h 20, so it’s a 4 hour break before I’m out again.  A few heavy showers mean Jon returns covered in mud, and I’m feeling a little nervous ahead of my second lap, expecting the course to be much worse than lap 1.  To my relief the course is holding up well, drying out in some sections and overall lap 2 is much more enjoyable, though that big climb isn’t getting any easier!  The slick sections after the big climb are much better now too – and no queue means I’m able to get a good run at them, taking a fair few riders as I blitz my way down – this is why we ride!!  I hand over to Graeme at about 1830 with my second lap in the bag – a few hours now till my next one which will be in the dark!

   A beautiful, still, mild summer evening meets me as I head down to handover from Jon again, new Joystick head torch beaming, can’t wait to try out my new toy!  The cool night makes for great riding conditions, still just in a s/s jersey and yet dripping with sweat on the climbs.  Whilst the elite guys stream past me, I feel like I’m taking a lot of riders on this lap, the head torch is awesome on the twisty sections and the course is now running fast!  I finish just a couple of mins slower than my day lap – it felt faster! – and hand over to Graeme once more.  The race HQ is now pretty quiet, a couple of the guys now trying to get a couple of hours kip, and most of the support crew now turned in too!  I get some chow down and take another quick shower, the freebie Original Source stuff is great, then set my alarm for 3.50 – time to get a bit of shut eye!

   My alarm wakes me for lap 4, and I’m back at the start line waiting for Jon again as the sun starts to rise.  Its still mild, so still in just a s/s jersey and by the time I finish the climb to the monolith I have the sun in my face and sweat dripping off my nose.  My bike has developed a couple of rattles, really annoying on the bouncy descents, but I don’t have time to stop and check, so its hell for leather for the finish once again…. But disaster strikes, no one there to meet me at the handover!?!  Thoughts fill my head, has Graeme’s injury ended his race?  I check around but no sign of anyone, so I make my way back to the campsite.  All in bed, but no sign of Graeme’s bike…  I’ve missed him!  I head back to the start and this time we spot each other, but have to race round the outside of the start/finish to hand over the batten!  He heads out looking furious… hopefully the rage will subside over the Kenda Climb!

   I head back to the campsite as people sleepily emerge from their tents – we’re into the home stretch now, just 6 hours race time left.  I grab a bacon sarnie and some porridge before catching a few more ZZZ’s, whilst waiting for the others to complete their fourth and last laps – timing look like I’m due a 5th – oh the joys of heading out 1st!  I’m awoken by a sweaty Paul – returning from his last lap – it’s just gone 10 and Jon has headed out of our penultimate lap!

   I pull on my cycling gear for the last time, cram down some food and make my way to the start to await the handover!  By 10.55 I’m back out on course, fuelled with gels and ready to bring the team home.  The course has slowly but surely dried out, and the fast lines are now there for taking!  I hammer through the early part of the course, enjoying the descents and pushing through the climbs, and before long I’m on the big climb back to monolith for the last time.  Lots of tired competitors walking now, but I’m pushing for home and chasing positions, so all it’s all out to the finish.  The usual crew of lingerers who don’t want the extra lap are here and there, but I won’t have to stall my finish, so just keep peddling!  The whole team cheer me up the course as I enter the arena for the last time, and Pat is there to shake hands and offer a word as I cross the line.  I collect the team’s medals then it’s time to pose for photos…. How comes I’m the only one still sweaty and in bike gear!?!

60/164    Open Mens (Team of 4)    17laps in 24:12:00
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