Wow how hard was that but how much fun...
So on fri Ali and I headed up to Kielder Forest to take part in some silly event. Somehow it was after 4pm when we left so obviously I was a little stressy! We got there in plenty of time and after sorting out Ali's entry, getting the tent up, eating and getting to the riders briefing I was shattered!
The next morning the alarm went off at 5am, it was still dark and it was all a shock to the system, Ali was her wonderful usual self and made me porridge. The campsite was full of lots of scared looking zombies. We headed up to the start and got checked in. It wasn't long before we were following a car along for the neutralised start. Then we were let off the lease, it felt like everyone was flying past me. Kate was up there as well and we spotted another girl at the start on a singlespeed. She flew past me on the first uphill. On the first few climbs I could see Julie in the distance and it looked like she was flying, I couldn't hear Ali and kate chatting behind me anymore. But I was concentrating on not getting carried away at the start and let the speedy people fly! I was enjoying myself and felt like I was riding okay except on the downhills, but after 25miles that improved! My strategy was not to stop so at feeds I got what I needed and headed straight off. Cut-off was made with plenty of time and I headed over to Newcastleton, it was bleak over the tops and with no-one in sight a little lonely! It was nice to arrive there and be greeted by a piper and loads of people cheering!
Heading off from there I felt good, I caught the other singlespeed girl who was fixing her chain and pushed on, I felt I was riding the singletrack well which was good! Not long after that I stopped feeling good and my digestion was not very happy. Miles 66 to 73 were the hardest I have had on a bike, but after that I could drink again and things started to feel better. From then it felt like I was plodding away, reaching the last feed where I had sweets was great. After that I was counting down the miles! Any singletrack climb was walked and the downhills hurt so much, at least my automatic pilot for riding downhill seemed to be working!
The finish line was a welcome relief! With Ali there cheering, turns out she just missed the 55mile cut-off, still 60miles on a bike is her longest mountain bike ride ever! after being bitten alive we spun down to the castle, some food and beer and it was time for the presentation. Kate arrived back just as they had started, a little later than me as to save me feeling bad when she beat me she had a play in the bike park over at Newcastleton! First up I was 3rd in the open female which was exciting. Then I got to stand on the top of the podium as the 1st female singlespeeder, I got to spray cha,pagne everwhere for the first time in my life which was exciting. I also got a load of singular goodies, not sure what to do with an XL jumper though, it drowns me!
The event was fantastic, the organisation brilliant and the course a great mix of fireroads and singletrack. Not sure I would recommend it fully rigid though! I think I took just under 12.5 hours and it was hard, but if you want a challenge I recommend it!