Wednesday, May 07, 2008
I suspect there were several of us at the ssuk who wondered what we could expect. Its been 20 years since MBUK first came out. A lot of things have changed - and - a lot of things have not. People still love a reason to gather in a field somewhere and eat, drink and ride and race bicycles. There is something energizing about it, something that sweeps through the soul, removing cobwebs and shadows.
But, this singlespeed thing...how long can it last? There is no doubt there is a new guard these days. Fortunately, it would seem they have a damn fine outlook on what they want these events to represent.
Drumlanrig castle is a world class venue for any race. The grounds are beautiful, the castle has excellent facilities whilst retaining a real "away from the city" feel. The riding there is excellent, as is the proximity to other riding areas, and the course is fun. By fun i mean capital letters fun. Winding ribbons of dirt through old trees. Technical features which are not of the perfect-radiused-cookie-cutter-trail center variety. However, it retains a very important element in my book: flow.
We arrived on friday evening, pitched tent at outcast/cheeky corner and went to work. Beer, meat chat, whisky, guffaws, pictures, candles, raised eyebrows, new faces, well loved faces, carnage, memory loss, giggles. All good. Saturday saw a group of us taking in the fantastic sun dappled trails at a leisurely pace with many opportunities to stop, chat, laugh, and partake of the odd nip.
Sam, kenny, julie, tom and rik had put on a ceilidh for the saturday night and several of us whirled and burled into the wee hours, whilst others just collapsed at the campsite. All was well with the world.
The forecast had been terrible, and although none of the gales or downpours materialised, sunday was damp and the course is always much more of a strain when the roots are slippy and the ground sucky. 3 laps for us with a traditional le mans start, a bike pile (this year it was 69ers) and a huge rammy for the singletrack. Some 250 racers battled around the course, with anja and phil the horse giving us winning performances.
The after party is always a fine affair with a bbq provided, beer, prizes from ever-generous sponsors, a lot of yelling and a band leading to some extremely dodgy dancing.
All too soon, it was time to pack up and move leaving me with a feeling that, at least for a while, the future is in good hands.