Soggy Bottom Series Round 2 2015

Steve Hodgson at the Soggy Bottom Series

Today saw the second round of the Soggy Bottom mountain bike cross-country series. I arrived to a bright and sunny Newnham park to be greeted by two young army cadets marshaling the road crossing at the bottom of cottage return, a couple of riders passed not looking too muddy, Today was going to be fast!

As the vets race started in the afternoon, I missed the earlier races. After checking the results, it became apparent that once again the Mid Devon youngsters had done well in their races. Felix Faun achieved a third place in under 12s with a 4th place for Oliver Allen and an 8th place for Ross Pratt in the youth category.

My race (Vets, Grand vets) was due to start at 1pm. I had just enough time to go for a pre ride. I joined Southforks Pete Dawe and Nick Butler. Also in the group was Lee Hayward from BikeMotion. We set off. It was going to be a mass start again so we tried the field out for sprinting, It was obvious the best place to be was on the hard pack road along side it. The course consisted of lots of single track with short sections of fire road for overtaking.

On the start line I pitched up next to another MDCC rider, John Newbold. The whistle blew and off we went….. I managed to ignore my previous idea of getting on the hard pack quickly and lost quite a few places. The course narrowed and the lesser skilled riders who had sprinted on the hard pack caused an enormous bottle neck. Anyone who knows me will be able to imagine the level of “French” that was coming out of my mouth at this point!! Anyway I kept on pushing and managed to close the gap that the lead group were making.

We blasted past the portacabin that would be the finish point. Again, one of the ‘only fast on the flat’ guys pushed past and then immediately got in the way at the bottom of the first climb. He held everyone up so badly that when we reached the top (where you could overtake) the lead group were well out of sight. I got onto the single track and made a huge lead on the chasing group. This section consisted of lots of twisty flat corners covered in roots of which 30-40% were greasy.

After this it was cottage return, a very fast single track descent that is in my opinion one of the best sections at Newnham. I smashed down it like my hair was on fire. The rest of the race was pretty uneventful and as much as I pushed the delay caused by the riders at the beginning had ruined my chances of a top 5. I rode over the finish line in 10th position. Not too bad but some work on my initial sprint starting will definitely help for next time.

I went and found John to find out how he had done, His race was 3 laps and mine 4 so he was already finished. John had come 4th in grand vets and was a bit peeved as a crash on cottage return had lost him a couple of places meaning he was pipped to the podium.
Overall it was a great event and made better by some support from fellow MDCC riders and their families. I’m already looking forward to round three.

National Champ on Duty

National Youth Champion Harry Birchill hands out medals at 2XC Stover Race

Past MDCC member Harry Birchill turned out on Monday to award the medals and t-shirts to the riders in the 2XC Rookie Cup race at Stover School. Well done to all the riders taking part and special congratulations go to Harry on becoming the National Youth MTB Champion and winning the National Cross Country Series for his age group, all in the past week!

Cross Purposes Ride – Friday 25th July

Cross puposes training ride

A new non-too serious training ride to dust off the cross bikes and skills begins on Friday the 25th of July. Meet in the car park at Forde House, Newton Abbot for an hour or so, followed by an optional post ride beer / lemonade. E-mail for info. Mountain bikes are welcome.

2014 2XC MTB Series – Final Round

John Newbold MDCC

Despite a smaller than usual field a great nights racing was had in the final of the 2014 series, should have known at the planning stage that putting on a race between two national weekends was a bad idea! You can find some photos of the race here courtesy of Andy Styles. My thanks to everyone who helped out this year, all the Mid Devon CC lap scorers and Kris Pratt for the computer timing. Cheers also to the Forestry Commission Rangers especially Gemma who help make the organising a simple process and Steve Hodgson for clearing the ‘Horse Trail’ on Tuesday night (Had to stop him doing more grooming with a rake on Wednesday too!). See you on the trails!

There is another instalment of the 2XC Rookie series at Stover School on Monday the 21st of July as well, featuring racing for Under 8’s right through to beginner adults. Dont miss it!