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Eastern Region MTB Series

Round 3 – Tunstall, far east (some said Holland..!)

Nik had entered, but unfortunately couldn’t make it, so I was on my own this time.

Dismally winding and thinking of Rick and Karen doing the Norfolk 100, I was looking forward to a sheltered event in the woods, hoping the rain would hold off.

Arriving in time to do the warm up lap and take a look at the course for the first time, I had a leisurely loop around with most of the field in about 25 minutes.

As always, it’s a 2 hour event. The course was very dry but also very sandy. 3 big bombholes added some fun with hideous climb outs, and some sweet single track added up to a superb course.

As last time, I was looking at 20 minute laps,so 6 was the target, maybe hoping for 7 but see how the laps go.

The total field was about 250 in all and there were 49 in my category (Vet Males). About 5 of those were from “semi-pro” sponsored teams and they were looking sharp!

I lined up on the grid towards the back of the group (a bit of confusion from the organisers on the line upset the gridding a bit) and at just after 1pm, I was off. With a smaller field than last time, the first lap was flying from the start and feeling fresh from 2 weeks hols, I was flying and passing many riders. The first few bombhole exits saw most of them off, and that was my chance to steam on through.

Lap 1 was 20:10, and I needed to be sub 20 to start a 7th lap. Game On!

Lap 2 was holding the pace steady, making sure no vets came through if I could help it, until Whoosh, the top Vet flew by in a cloud of dust. Lapped!

Still a consistent pal though at 20:40.

Lap 3 saw a lot of tired riders. I was feeling good but got snarled up in traffic on 2 bombhole exits costing me valuable seconds.

Still a good lap all considered but slower at 21:03.

The same was happening on lap 4 and as others really tired, I was getting held up on the single track too. My passing skills are improving and getting passed riders, but still be courteous and waiting until there’s a hint of a space. I had early seen an elite rider flying pass a rider and knocking him off. That’s just not right, so I sportingly shout, wait and pass and you get some respect for it (good Kudos for the jersey!)

Lap 5, and I started to tire a bit. Knowing now that 7 laps was not on, the brain started to wander a bit, then on the last bombhole exit on the lap, I cramped in both legs, Ouch. Gulping down loads of isotonic, I kept on riding through the pain and after what seemed an age, it went. But 1hr 40minutes came and went and I hadn’t finished lap 5, so it was a definite 6 lap event for me.

So on lap 6, I settled in to a good pace recovering a bit and just made sure I held my position and didn’t get passed by Vets I had passed earlier, and then finally sprinting the last 100ft to catch the guy in front on the line (Leo would be proud) to finish an equal 30th.

Overall, a good event.

A great course and I’m definitely getting better

The results were as follows;

Winning time for our category and overall (yes, a VET was the fastest on the day)

Lloyd Bettles
Lap (1) 00:16:41, (2) 00:16:38, (3) 00:16:34, (4) 00:16:47, (5) 00:16:53 (6) 00:17:17, (7) 00:17:20 (8) 00:16:28
Total time 2:14:39

(1) 00:20:10, (2) 00:20:40, (3) 00:21:03, (4) 00:21:34, (5) 00:22:57 (6) 00:23:41
Total time 2:09:02
Final position 44th

Round 4 is on 24th July at Danbury, Chelmsford

Come and have a go. It’s tough, but it’s fun!

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