Published: 23rd October, 2012
I'm not a big fan of events with a dress code, but when there's fancy dress involved it's rude not to join in.
Having had a brilliant weekend doing last year's NOTKT and Black Park Duathlon, we put this year's dates in the diary as soon as they came out. Chris and the team at West Drayton MTB always put on a cracking event because they get the simple things right. There's music, there's commentary, there's atmosphere, and there is a fancy dress competition. The rest is just bike racing.
Last year about 1/3 of the racers donned their halloween fancy dress for the night of the knobbly tread, and we were expecting to see more dressed up this year. We didn't go too mad on our costumes this time, as Chris had made it perfectly clear we would not be allowed to win, as we won too many prizes last time. Huddled in the Fully Sussed Van before the event putting the finishing touches to our outfits - Jay enjoying doing my dracula make up a bit too much - we were looking forward to seeing what everyone else had come as. A little warm up around the car park revealed that choosing a child's dracula cape was perfect, as it was light enough to flap out horizontally behind me, the fangs were a bit hard to breath in though, and Jay's Jason mask was just darn right uncomfortable! Undeterred, we skipped of to the start line to check out our fancy dress rivals.
Everyone else had made a huge effort too - they had all come wearing exactly the same kit they always wear when they race - outstanding effort folks! Now I'm pretty sure this was not a world cup event, and it didn't carry super duper bonus BC points, so would it really kill you all to have a bit of fun with it?!
I won't bore you with a lap by lap analysis of the race. The start was fast, and Jay and I are both rubbish at starts. The course was flat,fun and fast (even in the wet), and the crew had done a good job of finding some interesting new sections to put in. Racing in the dark is always great - a little spooky if you find yourself alone, but essentially a big rush, as you always feel as though you are moving faster than you really are. The little bomb hole near the end of the course was catching a few people out, and an impromptu fanny run around the side was opened up at some point during the race by the marshals. This came as a suprise to me when I was overtaken by Steve Jones on said fanny run as I was skillfully negotiating my way through the bomb hole (?!). Since it wasn't a world cup race, and there weren't any super dupa bonus BC points on offer, I kept going through the bomb hole each time, even though the new line was quicker, as I like a challenge, and it's a mountain bike race after all. I made it 5 times out of 5 and was quite chuffed - unfortunatley I then ballsed it up several times the following day during the duathlon - I'm obviously better in the dark.
I won the race, although I was pushed hard on the first lap by Alice Barnes, and given a masterclass in big efforts on fireroad before ducking into the singletrack for a bit of a rest - good work.
The prizes were brilliant too - thank you Exposure! But it's not just the big prizes that make a podium. Little details like a bunch of flowers for the chicks and a bottle of bubbly to spray over the PA system make the presentation look a bit more exciting, and make us riders feel special.
Unfortunately for Chris, he had to give Jay and I prizes for the fancy dress too - ha ha!
Anyone racing again next year - you have a year to come up with something better than lycra as a halloween costume - get thinking.