This is the fifth time I’ve recorded my efforts on this annual 26 mile event on these pages. Click here to view all the reports. That link also provides full route details, and a summary of results. The event’s website is here.
I was joined by Robert this year. We met at the start. He was sporting a large hole in his Ron Hill leggings, having fallen over a kerb on his way to registration! There was a large graze, clearly visible through the gaping hole, on his knee. He didn’t however use this accident as an excuse for yet again failing to finish in under three hours. Finishing in 3.04, this was the fourth time he has finished inside 3 hours 10 minutes.
That’s Robert’s personal challenge - “I will have to do some training next year to break the 3 hour mark” he asserts.
He was however in plenty of time to finish, get changed, and wander down the course to take the above picture of me, near the finish, nearly half an hour later.
You’ll maybe notice that I’m on the 21 year old Shogun Trail Breaker bike, on its tenth CMBM. My ‘new’ bike – Stumpy – was still awaiting surgery.
The weather forecast had been dreadful. A week earlier, at the end of our Indian Summer, the moors would have been crisp and dry. Today, after a week of rain, they were somewhat gooey. To say the least.
However, the worst of the rain saved itself for the afternoon, so those of us who finished before 12.30 were really quite lucky.
The organisers provide excellent support – drinks, cakes, fruit, chocolate, etc at roughly five mile intervals after an initial support point here on a railway bridge between Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd.
Strangely, nobody seems to be on their bike!
That support point is shortly after a technical descent into Mytholmroyd, which this year was being tackled more bravely than usual by many riders who normally seem to walk down the rocky track. So it was good fun. Until the bottom, where someone had crashed painfully and caused a significant delay whilst the body was recovered.
It’s a dangerous business, Mountain Biking!
Robert soon disappeared off ahead of me on the second ascent of the route, and he managed to get round uneventfully aside from his earlier kerb incident. Meanwhile, apart from a gear problem whereby I had to change down by handling the oily chain, I had a safe and leisurely morning out, chatting to quite a few of the riders who were going at about the same pace. Until I fell off on a fast, flat, rocky section on the approach to Luddenden. No damage was done, so I straightened the handlebars and continued to the finish, where bikes were piled in the rain whilst their owners went to collect tea, soup, chilli, t-shirts, certificates, etc.
Robert took this picture. By the time I arrived, the bike with drop handlebars had (I think) gone. I’m impressed with that piece of kit though – I only saw one other bike without suspension but this racer must have been far ahead of me.
The pub has reopened. Thankfully. We enjoyed a pint and a chat.
It was pouring down by now, a good hour after Robert had finished, but riders were still streaming in to the finish.
Next year’s event will be on Sunday 14 October 2012. It’s a great route, and always good fun. A personal challenge rather than a race.
Winner – 2 hrs 3 min – 317 finishers – slowest 6 hrs 3 min
Robert: 3 hrs 4 min – 88
Martin: 3 hrs 30 min – 146
A footwear note:
I usually wear trainers for this event, though some Innov8 Roclites were used one year. This year I used my Keen Targhee 11 Walking Shoes, now fairly worn after heavy use, together with ankle gaiters and some old Sealskinz socks. I washed them in a puddle after the ride, and didn’t need to remove them until I got home. My feet were perfectly dry. I didn’t see anyone else with dry feet. The route was very boggy in places, and at times it was not at all easy to cycle through these bogs, so the shoes endured some deep dunks. The Keens really are versatile shoes. These have walked 650km plus numerous bike rides.