I had it easy* this weekend. I could have opted for 12 Hours of Exposure (or even the 24! Hahahaha. No.) in Newcastleton but due to other factors (being fat and unfit) I thought the first round of the Nutcracker at Gandale was a more sensible option.
Raced it last year and its a great event. You know you’re in for some fun as you drive near to the site through the Yorkshire countryside and see various warning signs indicating ‘tank training area’ or ‘military zone’ and ‘you’re too wussy to be here’ etc. A practice lap only compounded these initial impressions with tank tracks going up, down, over, through every direction and the thousands of empty bullet cartridge cases that were strew all over the place. This was war! (and we came on push bikes).
The lap was similar to last year; tank tracks, sheeps tracks, track tracks, short steep climbs, fast moorland, the odd puddle to splash through and the (formally dry) river bed.
Start was up a steep, loose climb, which was fun. Being a wuss I stayed at the back knowing that the next mile of bridleway was the place to make any sort of attempt to move up. It was quite windy on the day and it was either with you or against you and luckily it was with you on the fun bits; on the sheep track, through the river bed and then over the moorland. Felt like I was hauling arse on these bits, I know everyone does with a nice tail wind but I was dropping people! Which they would rapidly gain back on every climb.
Things settled down, I was pushing and felt uncomfortable but not ‘blow up’ bad unlike others it would seem. 10th going into the 3rd lap and by the end of the race (4laps) I was 4th. Was pretty pleased with that providing in a similar strength field last year I finished 7th.
Looking at the results I was 9min down on the winner and 4min down on 3rd! Work to be done it would seem, which I knew to be honest but with 10days off and copious amounts of chocolate I’m aiming to churn our more base than Barry White!
*easy as in my suffering was only 1.5hrs as opposed to 12hrs, albeit 1.5hrs with an average HR of 191 🙂