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MBUK vs. Bristol Oktoberfest

| Blog, Mountain Biking Uk | 18/10/2011 11:57am

Bravery, stupidity and a lot of energy gels – three go solo around Ashton Court.

If ever there was an excuse to be out of bed at 6am on a Saturday morning, racing bicycles is probably it. The Vito Sport had been washed, fuelled and packed the night before, I’d safely made it through my ban on my usual Friday night beers and was feeling pretty fresh. Resisting a cup of coffee, I threw one last ball for the dog, wheeled my Whyte 19 out of the shed and fired up the Vito – it was time for Oktoberfest!

Ashton Court was bunged – packed even. After some near-catastrophic wheel-spinning and inch-perfect parking Jamer, Coxy and I took a wander over to registration to collect our race boards and to sign away the rest of our Saturday. Next stop was to go and see Matt at Torq who very kindly sorted us out with enough energy drinks and gels to power an invasion of some kind. Their new vanilla drink is amazing by the way – a nice break from citrus.

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The start was a running one. Uphill. Through wet grass. Nice. Jamer and I managed to stick together and in a move that would echo our approach to the rest of the day, we ignored the cattle-like stampede to go the long way round and rather under-handidly cut into the main group as it thundered towards the opening singletrack section.

This is one of the biggest challenges of racing the new look Ashton Court – it’s tight. There’s little room through the enclosed, flowy singletrack get stuck behind a slower moving rider or get bunched up and there’s little you can do but pump round and wait for an open section to pass on. As soloists you then face two distinct types of problems;

a) The full-Lycra XC warriors – These chaps do this sort of stuff all the time and are very good at it. They go very fast for very long periods of time. The vast majority of them are polite and will charmingly blip past you when you find a space. Some of the others though, seem to get rather frustrated.

b) Teams – ┬áThe sensible option and to be fair, what we should have been doing. Beast out a lap as hard as you can then simply hand over to a mate and have a rest for an hour afterwards. They don’t then need to get stuck behind a muppet like ourselves three or four hors in…

That said, it may have been competitive in places out on the loop but in the pits the atmosphere was top drawer as the smell of BBQ’s inter-mingled with kids chasing dogs, dogs chasing kids and all to the rather odd sounds of Oompah music. It was Oktoberfest after all…

Anyway, as Jamer and I started to suffer from severe back pain at around lap seven, Coxy got on with the task in-hand and beasted his way to 28th overall with a mighty 11 laps under his belt. A top effort worthy of his first ever race. Jamer made it to nine whilst I called her a day at a lowly seven. I rested the back for half an hour and on deciding to go back out again, went to stand up and basically fell out of the back of the van. Game over – get tidying.

Good weather, good racing and even the odd celebrity (see the Bike Riders United boys including Peaty) – Bristol’s Oktoberfest was a top way to spend a Saturday after all! Thanks to Mike and the boys at Bristol Bikefest, Mercedes Vito Sport as always, Matt at Torq for keeping us fuelled up and the bloke who helped us escape the mud on the way out!

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