MTB 104km – Hell of the North Cotswolds

Cycle/MTB 104km, inc. 102km/4h49 (inc. 10 min stopped) HR140(168)

Lovely day for a ride. With 1200 other riders we started at 9am from Winchcombe School. I was early on the start line, to make sure I didn’t get too caught up in the slower riders up the first climbs, and met Neil Pugh there. He was on a cyclo-cross bike which, given the dry conditions, was looking like a good choice. I think I was in about the first 200 through the school gate, and worked hard early on to get clear air. On the startline:

Got to the first checkpoint (about 20km) at 9:58, and starting to really enjoy the ride. Arm warmers came off here. Once you’d climbed, the view from the tops were fantastic! I got into a group of cyclo-cross riders soon after, and shared a bit of pace-making with them. Arrived at CP2 at 10:36, CP3 (44km – the cake stop) at 10:55. Stopped briefly for a cake bar and to borrow a track pump and put some more air in my tyres – up to +50psi from their usual 35-40psi, mainly to help the bike roll along on the tarmac and on the hard-packed offroad surfaces. CP4 came up at 11:48, CP5 (75km?) at 12:25, where I caught the first woman on the road. (And then there was a hard loop around Snowshill including a killer climb with mud I had to walk the last bit of) and finish, sharing the pace with another guy on a cyclo-x bike, at 13:49.

Dusty bike, certificate, and massive bread puddings at the finish:


Stopped for a bacon sarnie and a cup of tea before packing the bike away and heading home. A bit sunburnt. Fantastic day out on the bike, that’s what all this training’s about! Ranks with some of my favourite ever bike rides.

Someone’s pictures on Flickr. Official pictures HERE (search “447” for the rest). review of last year’s event HERE