John W and Dom are racing the BCBR over the next few days:
BCBR day 2 has turned out to be a much less extreme experience – thank goodness.
In order to prevent bottle loss (the drinking variety) I attached rubber bands to both bottle cages which loop over the bottle nipples which seems to have done the trick. It has also helped that the vast majority of the riding has been under the cover of trees as the weather is very similar to yesterday.
The day started with a bus ride to the start and I was set off in the second wave of 5. On of the Brazilian riders who looks like Chris Froome on a diet seemed to be only to happy to power away at the front on the initial tarmac and gravel road sections with everyone else strung out behind. The poor fella turned into the ultimate (early) leadout man as he pulled over almost as soon as we hit the singletrack – he’s really entered the wrong race as he’s pretty hopeless on anything slippery, twisty or down hill on dirt so much so that he makes me look good!
The early singletrack was very pleasant with grippy loam between the enormous fir trees and ferns etc on either side. No big climbs or descents. Great. However, that soon changed and some steep descents had me either over the bars or skating down the rocks with not much more control on my feet. Mojo well and truly lost. Having been 2nd into the singletrack I was passed by a dozen riders as I floundered. As the track went up in the only significant climb of the day I clawed back a dew places, some from 1st wave riders having a bad day.
The first Enduro section was quite short and not much fun for those of us on hardtails but it was mercifully short. From there the terrain got less lumpy with fewer roots and rocks so I was able to make good progress. By the time the second feed station was on the horizon the trails were smooth and flowing with some fabulous swoopy descents with perfect berms allowing corner speed to be dictated by vision and nerve. This is what I paid my money for!!
I spent all of the last part of the stage riding alone being paranoid about missing trail markers an taking wrong turns! The 2nd and final enduro section was very short but superfast and a real delight. A bit more singletrack but the majority of the last part was tarmac and gravel roads so it was TT mode to the end. Being in a group that worked together would have helped a lot but I don’t think I lost out much.
Tomorrow seems to be an easier day yet with less total ascent but so much depends on the micro scale lumps and bumps and the surface roughness of the trail. I felt fine all though today’s ride physically – no cramp at all – which made all the difference. Slightly less rear tyre pressure helped grip a bit but putting the seatpost up an inch might have contributed to some of my forays over the bars….. It definitely helped on the closing road sections mind. There are a couple of guys riding singlespeed bikes who are making a very respectable job of it so my bike-based excuses aren’t entirely convincing!