Why is it that after a 100km bike ride it is my arms that are suffering the most? Mind you, given the longest I have ridden in the last 9 months is about 3 hours, it is hardly surprising that bits of my body started to object after 6 and a half hours.
The Kawasaki 100 is something of a benchmark in the calendar. It usually marks the end of the nice spring weather and the beginning of the rubbish summer weather with many an event taking place in the sunshine, only to be followed the next day with torrential rain. However, this year we weren’t so lucky. The rain came a day early.
My pre-ride on Saturday was on a dry and dusty trail that only needed a light damping down to make it perfect. Unfortunately the damping was a bit overly enthusiastic and at 8.30am as we lined up in the pouring rain things were not looking great.
The first lap was slippery to say the least. After my dry practice lap I had opted for my new snakeskin Thurnder Burts. As a last minute thought, I grabbed a spare wheel out of the garage with a Ground Control tyre fitted so at least I had some grip on the front. I don’t think the combination of Burt/Ground Control is likely to catch on any time soon but it did the job and gave me enough grip to get round safely, even if the back wheel was a bit lively in the wet.
It was also the first outing for my new 1x10 drive chain - with weedy little legs I opted for a 28 tooth direct mount front ring by Absolute Black (with 11:36 cassette). In an enduro race this was absolutely perfect. I will probably swop to 30 tooth for XC racing but I was really impressed with how well it worked and how neat it looks.
A saving of 400g compared to my previous 2x10 set up - so hand me the donuts!
The course design was excellent this year, a great job done by the Gorrick Team. With only one significant climb and masses of single-track it was defiantly more sympathetic than previous years but kept you interested the whole time. I found the laps passed really quickly but this didn’t make it easy however as the continual single-track was draining on body and mind. The course was really well marked but did seem to be missing the usual mile markers and gel drops.
By lap two, despite the continuing drizzle, the course started to dry and by lap three it was much improved. It was part way through lap 3 that I ripped a hole my lovely new Burt. I was in the twistiest part of single track ever, and I had no idea until after the race what I had hit. I was riding with my husband Jason and he managed an impromptu trail repair and had me rolling again in just under 8 minutes. Given the fact one of my teammates, Pete Moore, ripped his tyre irreparably in the same spot I was pretty lucky. On inspection this morning there is a clear ding in my rim and a partial thickness slice in the sidewall of the tyre as well as the hole in the tread. Apparently it was an aggressive bit of concrete with a sharp edge that did the damage. I am very glad I invested in the snakeskin version of this tyre, I still wrote off £50 but at least the sidewall held together and allowed me to finish the race.
I know you have all seen worse but I was pretty damn peeved mid-race
By lap four the sun even put in an appearance and as the three-lap race started the conditions were ideal. The course was flowing fast and the arm and leg warmers were stripped off. Lap six and seven were hard work and my lap times slowed despite the improving conditions.
The MTZoom micro-inflator - you never know when you will need one!
I finished as first placed lady (well only lady to finish actually but lets not split hairs) and won a pair of VIP MX GP tickets courtesy of Kawasaki. The Gore spot prizes looked fabulous as well, with three of my club mates winning top of the range shorts or tops.
That dastardly corner just before the end nearly had me off every time - did we really need a 355 degree turn?
Yesterday was definitely the day for the Louise’s with Louise Parker taking the win in the ladies 5-lap race and Louise Fox taking the win in the 3-lap race.
In the men’s event Scott Chappell stomped to victory ahead of Andrew Cockburn and Richard Penning in the 7-lap race. Derick Willson won the 5 lap race and my club mates Roki Read and Paul Welcombe put in excellent efforts in the 4 lap race to take second and third respectively behind the formidable Lewis King.
Many thanks to Gorrick for hosting another excellent event and to Kawasaki, Gore and all the other sponsors for their prizes.