Monday, May 07, 2007

Battered by the Dyfi Enduro

This weekend we took a road trip with Cass and Cara to the Dyfi Enduro. I had heard great things from Cass and others about the Dyfi and it was a great excuse to see Annie (from our trip to India) who works in the Holey Trail bike shop in Mach. We arrived in Mach on on Saturday afternoon after a lengthy journey, via Bristol, to pick up Cass and Cara (who aborted their ride to Mach after a serious mechanical outside Abergavenny). Cass and Cara headed off to Climachx after visiting the Holey Trail, whilst we retired for a coffee in our favourite cafe. Saturday evening we had dinner with Annie, Simon (from one of C&C's trips last year) and John (also from the Holey Trail) in an Indian. In retrospect, five pints and a chicken Malaya were probably not the best preparation for the enduro!
Sunday morning broke cloudy and windy. Given that the forecast was for impending rain, we were hopeful that it would blow any showers through. As it happened, it remained dry until after the race...and then chucked it down all night. The race started at 11am with a mass start from the campsite. After a leisurely ride along the road for 5-6km the road turned into a fire road and started climbing steeply. It was at that point that I (predictably) lost touch with the others. The Mather was great for the fire road climbs (if a little heavy) and I tried to pace myself so that I didn't blow up. At the top of the climb was a live band and some cheerleaders...not the usual fare at the Meridas. At the top of the climb the road dropped away onto some steep singletrack down into a valley and along another fire road. This pretty much summed up the day...fireroad...sketchy singletrack descent...fireroad...sketchy singletrack descent...etc.
After 20km or so I passed a cheering Sarah (with a bizarre set of hippy of which was a guy with a ginger beard) and Annie. It was at the top of the next climb that my cramps started and the back ache. The hardtail was battering me on the descents and my thighs were cramping on the climbs. At one stage, my quad and hamstring were cramping simultaneously. How do you deal with that catch 22? The rest of the course followed the same recipe of climbing and descending. It has to be said that the climbs were all fairly tame but the singletrack descents were great...if only I had opted for the full susser!
It was after 45km or so that the excitement went up a notch or two. Having just come off a steep descent, I turned the corner onto a fireroad and the tire on my front wheel was blown out. Both sidewalls blew off the rim as the inner tube exploded. The rim then fell into the tyre and catapulted me over my handlebars. After dusting myself down I picked up my bike and tyre and grabbed the remains of my inner tube that had completely shredded. After rebuilding my wheel, I jumped back on the bike and rode on to the finish...a little more gingerly. I finished in a shade over 5 hours which, given my current shape, was as good an outcome as I could have hoped for. Mental note to self...more training and less eating out makes riding easier and more fun!
Sunday night we had a great pizza in the Wynnnstay with the OTB group. This morning after a decent breakfast in a greasy spoon we broke camp and stuffed the Landie full of kit for the drive back. We dropped off C&C in Bristol (after a tour of the shed to see the many and various steads) and headed home to dry out the tent.
All in all we had a great weekend. Good company...good ride (although I am still suffering a little)...and a great location. Roll on Dyfi 2008...if we are back in the country...