Photo: Mark Forrest
The course took us up the beginning of the red XC route climb to the hairpins, but just short of the fireroad crossing, there was a cheeky diversion left into some rooty singletrack which made for a welcome relief to the first climbing section.
It was then onto the forest tracks which dissect the DH trails, for a climb all the way up to the next fireroad section (where Maddy cheered us on!). Then it was more climbing on some swoopy, rocky singletrack bringing us up to the top fireroad. A flattish ride past the ski jump (which was thankfully not included in the course!) took us up to the DH push-up section, which is a punishingly steep, switchback climb. I discovered that suspension is your friend here, as getting traction on a hardtail was very difficult (for me anyway!).
It was then straight down onto the Matador's steep, rooty, rockyness to the middle fireroad again, then right onto a brilliant, long, twisty, bumpy singletrack section and out at the quarry bombhole and wooden drop-off. A large crowd had gathered at this point, obviously baying for blood!
The course then followed the rest of the red XC route climb (missing out Minch Moor) and then took in the black descent.
In order to get us back to the top of the DH trails for a timed descent, the organisers added in an exit from the black route which put our cyclocross skills into practice. I don't know about anyone else, but I found this disused, rough, steep track near impossible to climb on the bike and had to get of and push some of it. Back onto the fireroad and up to the start of the timed DH which took us down the Cresta Run, more singletrack in the woods and finally Cadon Bank to finish at the road at the bottom.
I had set myself a target to complete the course in 1hr45min and not only did I beat this with 1.39.14, but I also finished 3rd Lady! Yay!
Simon Muir had a great race, finishing in 1.19.24, but unfortunately punctured at the top of the last descent and had to run down to the finish! Poor Simon, all that climbing and no reward of a descent!
Photo: Mark Forrest
Iain Nimmo took the overall win with a lung bursting time of 1.05.29.All in all, it was a fantastic race, of which I really liked the TT format. I'll definately be back next year.