Growing old disgracefully

  • Hit the North – Measuring success

    I thought I’d die on my arse at (the final, ever) Hit the North, what with not doing much in the way of riding since Mountain Mayhem. Not that I minded, I was looking forward to using it as training for the “big” races on the horizon and I knew it’d be a good laugh, so I turned up suitably unworried, planning on finding out what state I was in over the 8 hours and what my body would put up with.

    After meeting up with Wayne and Jenny (first time endurance racer & pit crew), doing the sign on thing and instructing the ever helpful Angela in the fine art of mixing half a bottle of fruit juice with half a bottle of water I waited for my turn in the changing room pop-up tent I’d bought the day before – while Wayne discovered the delightful sensation of applying chammy cream before a long ride – before wandering over to the ‘le-mans on acid’ style start.

    We ran down a ditch, up a slope, along some wooded paths, down a bigger ditch, back up a bigger ditch and (now thoroughly lost) back out onto the start/finish straight to grab the bikes and head out onto the course for the race-proper.

    I set about finding a pace that was somewhere just below XC race, but well above 24hr, speed and got to grips with the slippery-in-the-rain course.
    It was great fun; slipperly singletrack, followed by fast fireroad, followed by cyclocross style grovelling about up unrideable slopes, followed by purpose-built bermed-up trails, followed by more clambering, more fast bits, a looooong cobbled climb, some fast gravel tracks through a park and more groveling on foot meant there was something for everyone (to hate*) and kept the laps varied enough to remain interesting for the whole race.

    The pit-crew-ettes of Angela and Jenny kept the supply of gels and chocolate buttons I needed to keep riding at a decent pace coming and even found time in their busy schedules…


    …to keep me updated on how I was doing, race wise. After a few laps I found myself in the lead and, obeying the HRM, rather than various people telling me I could slow down as I was riding away from everyone, I kept the pace about the same for around 6 hours before beginning to ease back a bit and enjoy the trails.


    The implosion I expected my legs would make didn’t happen and I finished the race (after a couple of minutes lurking with Wayne at the end) feeling pretty fresh, before having one of the best at-a-race showers ever, a top notch pint of ale from the beer tent and some tasty food from the caterers (who looked like they often sampled their own wares ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

    After which it was podium time (because I won, y’see, in case you hadn’t figured that one out..), where I failed once again to look in the right direction while people took photos. Oh well. At last I was smiling and not covered in mud for once ๐Ÿ™‚


    Apparently that’s the last Hit the North.
    Ever. Excuses like “Our families don’t know what we look like ‘cos we’re never there” and “We’ve gone grey/bald/got wrinkles trying to get this event going” were bandied about, but between you and me I think they just want to have a go at racing rather than organising ๐Ÿ˜‰ but whatever the reason – good effort chaps, it’s been Awesome!

    *Joking! I didn’t hear a bad word about the course – or anything else about the event (except maybe the weather) – from anyone.


    1:22 pm on July 19, 2010 | 9 Comments | # |