Monday, 21 May 2007

Darlington to Hamsterley, HamsterVI Enduro

Yesterday I rode to Hamsterley to take part in the HamsterVI six hour enduro. My original intention was to ride to the forest, do the enduro and then ride home again. I was going to take the 'race' itself fairly easy, maybe even stopping for a couple of hours for a long lunch, since I was going to be doing 50 miles on the road on top of the enduro itself. things didn't quite go according to plan...

The ride to the forest was fine; I felt a bit weak on some of the hills, but that's to be expected when my last proper ride was in January. Similarly, the first climb was ok, I took it easy and pushed some parts but still overtook quite a lot of the slower geared riders.

The first decent was a really steep singletrack decent heading straight down a very steep hill, on a very narrow loose trail. As technical trails aren't my strongest point, I slowed before the turn off to allow anyone near me past before I started down the trail. I rode more of the top section than I thought I'd be able to but was really out of my comfort zone.

Half way down the hill, I heard a rider approaching from behind. Fast. He called out either "look out" or "out the way" or words to that effect. As there was a section approaching that I knew I wouldn't be able to ride, I tried to get out of his way by pulling off the line on the trail with the intention of putting my foot down and leaning over to keep the bars out of his way, so that he could get past and carry on. Unfortunately, I misjudged this and caught my front wheel on something and fell onto the trail. The other rider hit me and went over the top of me, with his bike landing on my back and head, the bars neatly wedged into a vent on my helmet.

At the time, the only injury I was aware of was to my left shin which was bleeding a little, but otherwise we were both unhurt. The other guy was obviously not very happy at having fallen off, but we both got up and carried on.

After that, i couldn't really get going again. I finished that lap and did one more, walking the whole of the decent where I'd crashed. When it came to setting out on a third lap, I decided an ice cream and a can of Coke were a more attractive offer, so I didn't head out again. I hung around the start/finish area until the end of the race, then accepted an offer of a lift home.

Yesterday afternoon, I put the poor performance down to a lack of fitness, because I've done no riding except commuting since January, even though the same was true last year and I was still fit enough to start straight into some pretty long rides straightaway. Or, I thought it was just being outside my usual technical riding comfort zone which put me off doing another lap. Once at home though, I started finding other injuries and overnight and through today I've seized up more and more, so I think it was more down to the results of the crash that I couldn't keep riding.

So, not the best ride.

Distance: 26 miles on the road, followed by 16 miles off-road (Total of 42 miles, 67km) - Update: I realised the ice cream run was 6 miles, so I did 48 miles really...
Injury list: a hole in my left shin, which I think is from the other guy's chainring; a bruise/graze on my left ribs, which I think is from the front tyre; a stiff neck; and sore shoulders
Surface: On- and Off-road
Time: 1.5 hours to the Forest, plus about 2.5 hours in the forest, total of 4 hours
Weather: Warm, occasionally sunny
Bike: Inbred Singlespeed (with 2.1" tyres, 32:16)

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