This year’s Hell of the North Cotswolds was always going to be harder than the bone dry hot sunny conditions of last year.
With the previous weeks/ months of wet stodgy conditions having a big impact on the trails and countryside we were lucky enough to have a bit of dry weather leading up to the event to allow it to dry a bit.
Bigfoot had a good number of riders competing with some deciding to slog it out and do the 100K , some who wanted to do the 75k and others the 50k.
We didn’t seem to be able to get in a group at the start unfortunately and we’e a bit scattered to the winds.
Some of us managed to link up with each other on the mass start with the Police escort through Winchcombe’s winding streets I managed to catch Tim,Mike P and my 100k riding partner Rubberduckzy Dan who to my amazement had resurrected his Duckzy horn on his handlebars quack quack, much funnier and more polite that a ringing bell we think but managed to lose contact with Russ, Sy and John.
Conditions were varied and I can only comment on the 100k route from not bad hardpack trails leading to very boggy muscle sapping slippery grassy climbs and only two sections where you needed to hike a bike and going was tough but fun and had some long flat sections you could sort of recover on and some cracking downhill runs and beautiful English countryside to ride through with great views at times with the weather behaving itself for the duration.
I remember flying down one mucky decent and seeing Dan all over the place and then realising the sludge was axle deep on my 29er , we were then treated to a lovely flat section through a wood riding through loads of brown leaves that stuck to the mud and all resulted in you looking like you were riding a fat bike and shortly after on a Rocky gully climb I broke a rear spoke which saw me frantically with the bike upside down wrapping the broken spoke round it’s closest buddy and Dan hanging on at the top of the hill for me.
Lots of other riders offered help which was just great and along the way we saw many a drama and we offered help too and we got quite a rapport going with a lot of other groups of club riders especially the big groups of cross bike riders who we overtook constantly off road and they would pass us on the road only for us to pass them again with a lot of fun banter and mickey taking and this seemed to go on all day and certainly made the event one to remember.
When Cleeve hill came into view we knew we didn’t have far to go and put a spurt on with what energy we had left and onto Cleeve common and a nice surprise bump into Mike P and a blast across the common like the 3 Amigos and onto the finish.
The event was very well marshaled again with the food stop just incredible and support fantastic.
Big thankyou to Winchcombe Cycling Club for this smashing event and the land owners for the permission to ride the private sections.
Well done to all Bigfooter’s and others who entered and finished this year’ HONC.
Well done John F for your first I believe 100k event.
Also well done to Tim K for coming in the top 10 on the 50k.
Any pictures would be appreciated and feel free to let us know your experience of the event.