It can only be a matter of time before one of the major washing detergent brands cottons on and sponsors a mountain bike race – the Persil Automatic Hit The North 12-Hour has quite an apt ring to it…
Yep, like Mayhem before it, the inaugural Hit The North at the weekend, left an aftermath of mud-coated clothing, un-identifiable bikes and lashings of dead grass on the kitchen floor, which was a shame as the sterling efforts of the organisers really did deserve better.
Fustrated by the lack of a northern English endurance mountain bike race, the guys behind HTN decided to do something about it and spent
18 months putting together a 12-hour event in the semi-urban wastelands of north Manchester.
The resulting course was a mix of twisting fast woodland singletrack and hard-surfaced less technical trails. A series of preview rides promised a stoating riding experience.
Unfortunately it didn’t quite work out like that with the main singletrack sections transmogrifying into mostly unrideable sludge and the epic bombhole – complete with target-fixation comedy tree – becoming something of a gladitorial bowl of doom with rider after rider tasting the mud. Yep, out on the course a certain northern grimness abounded with brief sunny spells broken up by sharp mud- sustaining showers.
It wasn’t all bad though, the marshals were brilliant throughout, the on-site beer and food tents helped keep spirits lifted and On-One thoughtfully provided a didgery-doo player to boost morale on the final few laps.
It was, as they say, an experience. It would undoubtedly have been a different and somewhat more enjoyable experience in drier weather but hey that’s mountain biking and it shouldn’t be allowed to detract from what was – particularly for a first try – a well-organised and enjoyable day.
Finally, congratulations to BM and Peak Midweek regulars Gavin and Ros Baxter who won the mixed pairs category despite one of their 13 laps somehow going missing.
Roll on Hit The North 2009, but someone please order some drier weather. What the hell happened to global warming?
More Hit the North at www.hitthenorth.net – it’s worth taking five minutes to read some of the comments on the sites forum.