BMBS Round 3

As you have heard by now, in the South and East of the country the driest spring for 30 years was officially declared a drought on Friday. Knowing the British weather I therefore loaded the van with mud tyres, all my waterproofs and the mini-jet wash before heading down to Aldermaston for round three of the British series at the Wasing estate. Aldermaston is of course well known for making things which go with a bang...
I arrived mid afternoon on Saturday, having been narrowly defeated by the evil Cardinal Richelieu only an hour before (don't ask, it's complicated). It was still warm and sunny and despite the rain the previous night the course had stood up well. I set off for a practice around 3pm, returned briefly to the van to refill the fluid in my forks, which seemed to solve the horrendous noise I was getting on the rebound, and then set off again for a proper lap.
Wasing is a very flat, very fast course, really more suited to cyclo-cross than to mountain bikes, I suppose it only gets it's place in the calendar because it is easy for a lot of the population to get to. Personally I would prefer a longer drive to somewhere more challenging, but then it's not my decision. There were only two interesting features on the track which required a bit of commitment but the vast majority of riders were doing them with no issues at all. The course had also been shortened since I was last here in 2009, so I went round for two more laps. We then sat out in the sunshine having our dinner making the most of the nice weather.
When we awoke around 8am it was, as predicted, absolutely chucking it down, so I did the only sensible thing and went back to sleep again. I awoke again 9:30 and the rain had slowed to a drizzle so I got up and went in search of Andy C, Tom and breakfast, but not necessarily in that order.
There was a brief bit of excitement when the air-ambulance landed in the car park. It then took off again almost straight away and landed somewhere in the forest. The rumour mill wasn't functioning as well as it usually does so I have no idea who the passenger was when it departed again. There was a short delay to the start of the race while this was going on, which suited us as it gave Andy C time to reattach his chainring to his crank...
I got a reasonable start and stuck with the pack down the first straight, round the right-left flick onto the next straight and along passed the timber stacks to the first singletrack. There was the inevitable bottleneck here and the pack began to string out a little.
The little crater was made slightly sketchy by the rain, mainly due to the difficulty of slowing the bike down on the run in to it, but the big drop down to the lake was fine, sheltered from the worst of the rain by the trees. The first lap passed without incident, just under 20 minutes. The race itself was largely uneventful, the only event of note for me was entering the crater on lap 4, I outbraked myself slightly, went about 6 inches too far to the right, and had to come almost to a standstill to allow me to swing the front of the bike around and this allowed someone to dive down the inside. However, he hadn't shouted to say he was coming passed and so I was committed to the drop and heading straight for him when he ended up in a heap at the bottom and I had no-where to go other than straight into him. Uninjured, save a for a slight loss of skin we both climbed out and continued on our way.
It was a strange race, the ground was fairly soft with dust and thick with pine needles, which with the rain made very hard going, I felt slow but somehow ended up in 35th, scoring my first points for a National Event this season. Andy C had a slightly better race and finished 28th, even more points for him, but unfortunately no UCI points this time Tom had a good race, I didn't see much of him but he was going very quickly when I did catch sight of him and he finished 2th in his category, have a look at his blog for the full story.
Thanks again to Laura for coming down to pit for all three of us. Standing in a field in the pouring rain for two hours can't be fun, but she was still smiling at the end.
Mayhem next. Need to stock up on brake pads...

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