Gorrick ‘Spring’ Series Rd 4: Porridgepot Hill

9th place, you know, just saying, 9th place like…

OK the ‘interesting’ conditions did reduce the field somewhat but hey 🙂 This Sundays Gorrick round only just went ahead thanks to the nice drop of snow we recieved on Saturday. Thankfully (I think) not even the Artic conditions could put them off and they assured us that the course would be amended and that racing would go ahead on Sunday.

Checking out some of the people that were coming back from races when I arrived at the snowy site it quickly became apparant that a) it was a bit nippy and b) it was a bit sloppy, so I prepared for the worst…

Too cold for photographers, this is one from Gorrick's Facebook page (it's not me!).

Too cold for photographers, this is one from Gorrick’s Facebook page (it’s not me!).

Taking to the start line after a bit of a warm up it also showed that the conditions may have put some people off (can’t imagine why) as the field was about half the size of the last race I did with around forty people turning up. The prize holiday from Saddle Skedaddle was being drawn among the Vets class this week but sadly the reduced odds didn’t act in my favour this time. Some wag at the back shouted ‘Is it to somewhere warmer?’

Tramlines through sloppy, peaty, soil. Polished roots, off camber corners, a touch of running water plus some of the usual woodsy singletrack. Climbing on this course was mainly in short, steep, sections with nothing really dragging on.

The best bit came when I clocked the first lap at just over 17min – Yes! They’d taken mercy on us and shortened the course to miss out some of the sections that handn’t been draning so well(!).

Round and round the woods it went - we could hear the pops and bangs coming from the miliary ranges over on the right hand side too...

Round and round the woods it went – we could hear the pops and bangs coming from the miliary ranges over on the right hand side too…

The course conditions meant the chances of a ‘clean’ lap with no dabbing was pretty remote and places were swapped fairly regularly as the slop took your wheels away. Having settled into a fairly good rhythm by lap three I did feel the presence of someone on my back wheel. Noticing that he was a little slower on the climbs I turned my lungs inside out on the final stages to try and escape far enough up the road that I wouldn’t give him a target to home in on.

Emerging from the last climb, gasping like a guppy out of water, I just had enough in left in the tank to keep the guy behind at bay and tottered over the finish line. In my oxygen starved state I thought I heard the announcer saying that I’d finished in 9th place – which sounded a bit strange, I thought loads more people escaped up the road in front of me at the start…

Thankfully the conditions must have claimed a few victims, I really was 9th! My highest ever placing in a race, even if it was in a field of 29 finishers 😉 Roll on sloppy sub zero courses that make people stay at home I say. I’ve even scored some series points now!

Like the other Sunday riders I found out the mud had frozen to my bike in a solid, crunchy coating, luckily a nice warm car journey saw to that and it was good and sloppy again by the time I’d got home. I had to get the  bucket and brush out on it though as the garden hose had frozen solid 🙂

Any road up – April 7th in a few weeks time sees the series finish just over the road from this Sunday’s race in Frith Hill. Fingers crossed for some more ‘Spring’ like conditions to keep the competition at bay 😉

There were more than 10 people in my category. Honest.

There were more than 10 people in my category. Honest.







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  1. Well done Andrew, a serious dose of MTFU. Are you the only one in the club hoping this cold weather continues? 🙂

  2. Well done, Andrew. It looks like you are going for the racer of the year trophy using all the tricks of the trade: veteran category, icy conditions, not many competitors …. 🙂

  3. Great result Andrew, well done! Consistent lap times, too. You’re only 6 minutes off the top spot, so a bloody good effort I reckon, especially given the conditions. Think we’ll be needing a new category for the awards this year: “balls of steel”!

  4. Why thank you folks! I’d like to think many other Bigfooter’s would have been up to the challenge too, but I would have felt a bit bad if anyone had travelled all the way over for a relatively short race!
    My aim is to keep going until I’m 60, if I keep at it long enough I’ll be able to win my category by being the only one in it! Any more cold races though and the resultant bits freezing off might mean I’ll be eligible for the women’s race instead…
    One things for sure though I’m not going to challenge the Swindon MB crew to a race, that Malcolm’s a bit rapid!

  5. Proud to be in same club as you Andrew. Indeed, why stop at 60 I say, especially as retirement age will be creeping further and further up 🙂 I guess in a decade or two we’ll have a whole range of categories to choose from including the cyborg category, so ironically our speeds may well be increasing with age 😉

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