Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011
And now for something completely different……… When No Fuss Events told me a year ago about their plans for a Megavalanche style race here in the Highlands of Scotland I got quite excited about a mass start mountain bike event right on my doorstep. When they later announced it was to be from the summit of one of Glencoe’s highest mountains I couldn’t believe it.
And so this weekend 120 privileged entrants perched themselves on the start line of the rugged rock strewn snowy mountain top at Glencoe Mountain Resort. With clear blue skies and such spectacular panoramic views over Glencoe and onwards to Ben Nevis there was no better place to be on earth .
In true No Fuss Events style there was helicopter uplift for the privileged few. Being unprivileged myself, I opted for the chairlift and then push to the summit for the start as I reckoned it was a good warm up.
I didn’t really have good expectations for a good result as the general view was that the perfect bike would be a 5/6 inch travel bike and my only option was my Nukeproof Scalp which was going to be a bit overkill at this event and hard going on the flatter pedal sections, If only I had a Nukeproof Mega!
The start hooter went and it was a mad adrenaline fueled dash to our bikes. There was lots of tangled bikes, flying bodies, pushing and shoving to get going. Im sure I got punched in the throat by some Red Bull fuelled weekend warrier!
Pedalling straight onto the first snow patch it was instantly apparent that this stuff was not easy to get through and as I persisted to try to ride through it I got passed by a dozen riders who had now got off their bikes and were running through it, I quickly joined them.
Back on the bikes the going got steep and rocky with many drops onto dodgy patches of icy snow. There was no time for manners here and I put in a couple of suicide passes and started moving up the field. Eventually the rocks gave way to more grassy sections with many stream crossings with steep exits. I had been in good company most of the way down the mountain continuously swapping positions with Danny Macaskill and Crawford Carrick Anderson and it was turning into a bit of a battle.
Right from the start I was breathing very heavily and was not looking forwards to the flatter pedal down the landrover track and onwards onto the undulating soft muddy track. On reaching this section I knew a huge effort was needed to stay in touch with Danny and Crawford. The Scalp pedals well and I gave it everything I had all the way and managed to keep my position until we turned downhill again onto the open heather covered hillside. MacAskill who had pulled away a bit was instantly reeled in and the battle commenced as we jumped and pinned ourselves down this welcomed descent with Crawford making a few fly past appearances.
As we neared the finish the track flattened with some very boggy and awkward sections which the lighter bikes skipped across and I felt I was going backwards. Both MacAskill and Crawford Carrick-Anderson passed me here as I struggled and it looked as if this was going to be the way it ended, but unfortunately for Crawford he punctured meters from the finish and I piped him at the post.
On crossing the line I realized there were not many racers finished in front of us and after regaining breath was amazed to find out I had finished 4th which was very unexpected and I was absolutely stocked about. On top of this I was 1st Veteran and got lots of IXS goodies.
Being asked if I had enjoyed the race my instant reply was that there had not been one enjoyable part of the race as I had felt so exhausted most of the way down and was on my last legs as I finished. Once breath was regained, heart rates slowed down and that sick feeling went it then turned into the most amazing event as exagerated stories were swapped, new friends were made and Pete Scullion of IXS handed out bottles of IXS Beer!
Winner on the day was Joe Barnes (MTB Cut.TV) followed by Neil Donoghue, Danny MacAskill (Red Bull) and then me (NUKEPROOF)
Next Race SDA Round 2 Fort William. Yea Boi !