Hey…see the video – courtesy of Alan’s Bikes http://www.hitthenorth.net/ I think the cameraman had a soft spot for El and Matthew! Looks a great course.
Thanks to Matthew Hornby for the following report:
The 7th of Feb was the date four intrepid members of the WVCC, (off road section) turned up at Phillips Park in North Manchester to race mountain bikes – for pleasure ! Travelling plans were hatched at the Velodrome the previous Thursday and changed the following day which meant that 3 bodies and bikes set of from Weaverham at 7.45 on a cold and frosty Saturday morning, with Rob Pettitt and the full complement of supporters meeting us there, (thanks for cheering us on the Pettitts, it really does help.)
The cold and frost was in plentiful supply at the race venue too, and so too were mud specific narrow knobblies, as well as standard width of MTB tyres more suited to the frozen conditions we found. Weather the course thawed out or not, it seemed that some people had made the wrong choice. Too late to worry about that now though, time to get signed in, bikes off the car, into race gear, numbers on and up to the start for the big……..well, cup of Tea or Coffee actually, we never start an off road ride without a decent warming brew first. Good job really, as a broken megaphone meant a delayed start by about quarter of an hour, and the sun still hadn’t come out. But eventually we did get going, and as with cyclocross races, it seemed that start position was the other important choice to be made. For Ross and myself, being in the first quarter of the field meant a good start with few hold ups, but further back Elenor was suffering in the traffic of single-track ineptitude.
So, the course then. What an excellent, and surprisingly varied route the Hit the North guys had designed in a small area. There were sections of dry single track, technical decents, steep ascents, frozen mud, (which quickly turned to unfrozen mud, looks like the narrow tyres were a good idea after all) and wide, fast vehicle tracks around a lake. There were some rather large patches of ice in the more open areas of the course too, which caused me at least some significant deviations from the accepted racing line. All the WVCC contingent managed five or six of the three mile laps, the final circuit made all the harder by the marshals encouraging the riders to dig in for the finish one lap early due to the late start.
Come the end, Ross made 6th, I was 11th and Rob 29th out of 89 starters. Elenor came in 47th, but more importantly 2nd woman, narrowly beaten on a short tarmac section at the end by a cyclocrosser. Well done to all taking part and to the organisers for a brilliant event. There’s talk of a similar race later in the summer, here’s hoping we can have even more entrants then, and drier conditions.