Like we have time to go and race bikes!
Life is crazy! I have finally come to realise that this is never going to change, so there is only one thing to do…. embrace it!
Somehow, four of the MRG ‘team’…. and I use that term loosely, managed to get to the Forest of Dean at @pedalabikeaway to race the @oneindustriesminirnduro, leaving behind busy lives filled with work commitments, kids, dogs and general responsibilities.
Preparation on point (lol)….
Damian – Jetlagged from the mother of all business ventures, finding him travelling to America and Ireland, in meetings, seminars and posh black tie dinners, eating lots of burgers and his own body weight in doughnuts.
Felix – Working many, many hours, juggling fatherhood and general life!
Tom – Young, fearless and nursing a sore hip and shoulder from a crash at AFAN forest less than 7 days prior to the race.
And finally me – Fit…. it’s my job. But lucky to have squeezed in 1 ride a week for the last few months, and tired from many many hours at work, followed by daddy day care duties in the evenings whilst the better half earned her keep.
We walked to the bottom of Stage 1 and watched as rider by rider they slipped and slid all over the wet roots after the heavy rain over night, with them often ending up in a messy heap of rider and bike on the dirt… It was not boding well for us and our minimal pedalling time in the weeks leading up to the race.
We cheered on a few riders and decided to make our way up to practice the stages….
Stage 1 – loose, slippery roots, pedally and as a first run of the day, pretty damn sketchy!
Stage 2 – Getting my eye in now, Super fast, pedally, again with the off camber, rooty sketchiness… but a lot of fun!
Stage 3 – Well…. what can I say This was mental! The talk on the trail was that yesterday it was epic, but due to the rain, today, race day, was so bad, that a section with a big drop had been removed due to the ‘possible’ certain death to all riders! It was steep, loamy and off camber…. the end.
Due to Damian and I being old…. We got an opportunity to watch our younger team mates come home at the end of Stage 1….
Tom getting loose!
I can’t speak for the others but I’m pretty sure the feeling was mutual. We were all there for fun, but we all wanted to ‘show up’ and ride hard! My competitive personality meant that the moment the beeps beeped…. I was on it like Sonic! Game time!
Catching and overtaking two people in stage 1 and 2 was pretty good for my confidence! I felt like I was flying, but not out of control. The atmosphere was amazing as I’d expected, with everyone there to have fun, meet fellow riders and race some bikes in the mud!
The transition to stage three was pretty epic so I took a moment to take a picture of my bike near a pile of logs (A standard, mountain biker thing to do)
Stage 3 did not disappoint! I felt like all my ‘good’ riding was undone, scooting along the ridge line, locking up the rear wheel and sliding my way down to the finishing gate! I was gutted….
We checked the results….
The young guns were sat near the results tent with mixed feelings of their results. Felix sitting pretty in around 30th in his category, and Tom, battered from yet another unlucky bicycle dismount at the top of Stage 1.
I watched with no expectations as the results flashed up on the screen in the tent, only to find that I’d placed 26th out of 109 riders! #happyasapiginpoo
With Damian also placing in the top 30, it is safe to say we’d ‘showed up’ indeed!!
We returned home triumphantly….Well, sort of
Pretty happy with our results we jumped in the green fun bus and headed home. Discussions of our favourite features on the stages, how we could’ve ridden better and how much fun we had, changed quickly to work, family, life… Sometimes It’s tough, but Live life every day and get that balance between Work, your loved ones and ‘play’ right!
Basically, Make Reality Great!!!