A glimpse of summer - Bike Magic

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A glimpse of summer

Shred/Bikemagic.com’s Andy Carnell (Pic: Simon Kirk)

There’s nothing better than getting back to your home town with a tan and a little sunstroke to find that everyone else is hacked off because it’s been raining all weekend.

Premier Series round 2 and our second visit to Builth Wells in as
many months. Last time was the scene of the Exposure Lights Big Night Out and Merida MTB-Marathon. This time proceedings were a little more hospitable with warm and dry conditions, awesome sections of singletrack and trails that were dry and fast – yes, you read that right, dry and fast!

Saturday was, as always, NPS race day. A decent turn out of riders and a fast lap meant that racing was going to be heated. We arrived pretty late but just in time to watch Oli Beckingsale pull away from the rest of the field for a convincing victory in Elite Men. The afternoon races were all about Masters, Vets and open classes. I signed up for a few laps in the open class to stretch my legs and our old boy Andy Carnell pulled on the new white kit to ride in Masters. Some people have suggested that as I’m now the wrong side of 30 I should be riding in the Masters myself – truth is, I’m scared, very scared. The Masters race would give some of the Elite riders a run for their money, and with less laps you can bet they won’t be pacing themselves once the starting gun goes off.

(Pic: Simon Kirk)

Dave’s race

Sometimes you’ll buy a new CD that, on the first listen, fails to grab you. A couple of listens later and the whole album grows on you. I found the Trek 6-4-2 Enduro course at Builth Wells just like this. First lap – bit dull. Later laps – one of the better enduro courses I’ve ridden.

Those who rode the Exposure Lights Big Nights Out will remember the first big fireroad climb that crawled up the mountainside. 350m higher and 300-odd calories lighter, the course levelled out for several miles of gentle moorland riding, before the real highlight of the day, the zing in the tail of the 9mile course.

The remains of a DH course once used for an NPS race back in 2000, a thin strand of off-camber, rooted and rutted singletrack weaved through the trees like a needle, making all the pain of the earlier six miles worth it. The deep piles of dust made a change from the muddy Newnham Park a month ago. Mud, river crossings and hypothermia versus big climbs, sweet singletrack and sunburn, hmmm…

With the Shred/Bikemagic crew racing in the team category, I had a crack at the six-hour solo. Due to conditions Plymouth hadn’t gone well, so I was determined to do better. And I did, riding, somehow, into 4th place. This pales in comparison with the faster guys and girls – Richard Wood dominated in the six-hour Elite Solo, Jenn O’Connor did the same and Oli Beckingsale and Nick Craig paired up to outclass everybody in the six-hour pairs.

Andy rode to a decent 18th place, have no doubt the course was tough but with two brutal climbs and some awesome woodland sections as payback he felt like he’d been well looked after.

Sunday was Trek 6-4-2 Enduro day was a different affair. Trek 6-4-2 Enduro. Is it me or are there fewer riders doing these events this season? Personally I can’t see why. I think there’s a certain stigma attached to Nationals of whatever kind and this is misplaced. For once the Nationals seem to be the best series of mountain bike events in the country and the only thing they really lack are participants. If you have the idea that you can’t race Nationals because it’s either too serious or too hard then you should reconsider. Racing is all about personal challenge, whether you’re Oli Beck’ or four mates having a laugh and this Trek 6-4-2 Series is an awesome start out in racing.

Riders worked together to tackle the long climb on to the moors (Pic: Simon Kirk)

As always the Shred/Bikemagic.com team signed up for the team event. Unfortunately we only had three riders, so we enlisted the help of the young and glamourous Saracen/USE rider Abi Greenaway to help us into 5th place. I’m still getting counselling about the fact that a girl just a little more than half my age can beat my lap times but then, you know, she’s got a promising career ahead of her, she hasn’t found fine wine, fast cars or handsome men to ruin her training pattern… Well, that’s my excuse (apart from the handsome men).

Lovely singletrack descent was the reward (Pic: Simon Kirk)

So there you go, an awesome weekend of riding. You can tell the ones who were there, they have brown arms, brown legs, white everything else. Check out Beardy’s pics at www.pbase.com/simonkirk/rnd2. You can also find
‘interesting’ pics of peoples wives doing artistic things on pbase if you hunt around a bit (not taken by beardy I hasten to add). xcracer.com has full results from Saturday and Sunday.

Don’t forget that next weekend is going to be totally awesome as we see the first Afan Enduro of 2005. Sack off that “What’s the point in paying to ride somewhere I can ride for nothing?” mentality and get entered. We’ll be there from Saturday (just after the FA cup if Aimee’s got anything to do with it) and up early for 62km of storming and hopefully still dry trails. Head for www.dragonenduro.co.uk – you can enter up until Saturday night.

Right, I’m off to get some dry trail tyres and see you next week. The sale at the Shred site is still on so check it out – www.shredmagazine.com.

Oh, Mundane is on the mend and can now just about walk – thanks to everyone who’s been asking.

Team Shred/Bikemagic.com

Thanks to our team sponsors:

  • Shred Magazine
  • Bikemagic.com
  • Cove Bikes
  • RaceFace
  • SDG saddles/seatposts
  • E13
  • Giro Helmets
  • Shimano shoes & pedals>

You can soon follow the team’s summer tour at www.bikemagic.com/team or www.shredmagazine.com.


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