The Blairadam Blast is a new event organised by Bike Blairadam and is the season opener. The course - described by some as Belgian New Style, or by others as a short track race - centred on a rooty, rocky winding track that had only 2 short fire road sections. A large bomb hole with kicker exit and ladder bridge into an off camber drop-off meant early season skills would be tested. The short, but steep climbs are a test for the legs.
65 riders lined up for the start. With lap times expected to be around 15 minutes, the spectators were vocal.
VC Moulin were well represented with JohnMac, Marty, ChrisM, Jac, and myself all in attendance. As the gun sounded, the nervous shivers were transformed into pedal strokes and the pace for the day was set. Fast. An hour and a half duration with no real recovery on the lap meant that the blistering start was going to send some into the red zone. Fighting for a good position into the first singletrack is critical if you are aiming for a good finish but it is early in the season to be testing the heart rate recovery so viciously.
Nevertheless, the Moulin crew settled in the upper half of the field and kept it tight but loose through the first 3 laps. Chris was having trouble with a seized EBB that meant his chain was dropping as he hit the stuttery sections over roots, and martin's seat had slipped giving his prostate a prod every time he sat down. Jac powered through the women's field on her singlespeed and maintained fine form through the mid laps. John showed that despite lacking saddle time recently he could still remember how to apply the torque.
As the laps counted by James Fraser-Moodie, Douglas Shearer and Andy Cathcart flexed their muscles and applied the pressure. Down in 7th place I felt I had more to give and tried to ride sensibly on the steep ups and use the technical flowing sections to reel in those in front.
Support from the crowd raised spirits despite Chris eventually having to pull. Jac expanded her lead and I managed to catch the 2 riders in front with some wily tactics and chest opening hard efforts on the last lap to bring it home.
Jac: first lady, first singlespeed lady
Me: 5th overall, first singlespeed man
John Mac: 12th overall
Marty: 17th and second singlespeed male
Thank you Susan, Janet & Trina for support and photos.