06 September 2009

kielder 100


the challenge was to pedal 100 off road miles. the start was early o'clock, just in time for the midges. i lined up with amy and ali, for some reason we were near the front. this would be the last time i saw either of them until the finish. we rolled out and were soon climbing. a gray drizzle didn't dampen the buzz of excitement and it was obvious that there were a lot of riders who were actually going to properly race this thing. i drifted to the back and hoped to hang on!

my hope was to survive, just riding from cut off to cut off. i knew, if left to my own devices i could make the distance but doing it in the time allotted is a different matter. no 2 hour pub stops and riding into the night. cunningly the organisers were being coy about the cut offs, just stating that there were 4 and were based on an 8mph average.

the trail fell into a familiar pattern of steady fire road climbs with screaming singletrack descents. dipping in and out of the forest as we weaved our way around. colours changing from charcoal skies to lush forests, where luminous green plankton floated on pools of dark water-every so often invading the trail.

there were large sections where i was riding alone. savoring the wilderness but also trapped in a cycle of mental torture- "you're not going fast enough", "you're out of your depth", "i wish i put more chamois cream on". at times i rode with others, their happy chatting keeping my personal niggles at bay.

40 miles in and i began to really enjoy myself. the body had realised it was going to be a long day and the voices in my head had got bored and shut up. it just felt right, every berm hit hard and fast, every climb disappearing beneath my wheels. i even began to catch some riders.

this period of perfection couldn't last and it came to a slow and painful end. i reached the final check point with 45 minutes to spare and 28ish miles to go. something changed in my brain, i knew i'd made it and suddenly to ability to push had gone. the three women i'd been yo-yoing with rode into the distance and i just settled into slow pootle.

BUT i bloody did it! i beat the broom wagon. it wasn't a pretty 13 hour journey. there was no style or finesse, just pure stubbornness and need for clean pants! the race that did exactly what it said on the tin; 1 lap, 1 rider, 1 adventure, 100 miles.

special mention to amy who came 3rd lady (and 1st singlespeed!), ali who entered on a whim 2 days ago, having never ridden more than 40 miles-she just missed the first cut off but still pedaled 60 miles. and of course the all of the front riders who actually raced, i am in awe! and rosemary, if you ever get to read this-thanks for great company on what felt like the longest 10km of my life, keep in touch. oh, and all of the marshals were fantastic-the most friendly and supportive of any event i've ever been to. and finally to sara, the evil genius who came up with the idea-thank you for a great ride.

35 comments:

Red Bike said...

I'm in awe!

This is specially for you.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gb0_zPvH2a4

jumbly said...

Fantastic! I'm glad you survived, we'd miss you if it'd have killed you.

trio said...

Fab event! You got back at a perfect time, everyone was gathered ready for you!

Julbags said...

Well done Kate, fantastic effort. Most of all I'm glad you enjoyed it.

kate said...

red- that's an ace tune :)

jumbly- ah, shucks ;)

trio- thanks for waiting ;)

julbags- cheers, i'm still smiling!

trio said...

Well after you let me win by playing in the park it was the least I could do!

Red Bike said...

I'm just hideously jealous that I can't ride for 13 hours / 100miles off-road.

Well done you!

Jo said...

Brilliant, well done Kate (and Trio)! What a momentous achievement!

Will you do it again next year?

Jo said...

ps How are you feeling today?!

Ali said...

Well done Kate! What a fantastic achievement! I believe you had a bit of an adventure leaving the campsite in the morning too?!

Will you be back again next year?

Red Bike said...

Playing in the park? Do tell!

kate said...

jo- still buzzing, just a little back ache. but the worst is the 47 midge bites!!

ali- i'll give it another go if you do :)

red- i was taking requests from the locals, threw a few tail whips and a back flip, which is obviously why amy beat me ;)

Groover said...

Awesome race report. Love how you describe the trial and forest and sky. I can absolutely picture it. Well done and congrats.

starfish264 said...

Bloody hell - much respect - I could probably have done about a fifth of that at a push!

You are clearly super-human!

ultra collie said...

perfect training for the hp40 kate..so sign up..we're all doing it..even us..just very slowly

Chas said...

Wow! Fantatstic! What an achievment, really enjoyed your report.

Pedalling Polarcherry said...

voices in my head had got bored and shut up

I love this line. I can relate to it alot!

congrats kate, you should be really proud of yourself. That is a massive race to complete and it sounds like you did it no probs.

Brill report btw. x

Holdfast said...

Brilliant report Kate of what must have been an excellent adventure. As an old hand at racing mountain-bikes (I stopped racing in '93!) these newer style of events (24 hours and 100 milers) seem to offer much more in the way of adventure and cammeraderie. And those places we go in our heads when things get tough are often dark but thankfully soon fogotten.

Shelly said...

Great challenge to have conquered -congratulations! :D

Your vivid description of the experience was uncannily how I imagined it might feel. Even down to the midges.

Shelly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kate said...

groover- thanks but i dread to think how quickly you could do it!

starfish- cheers, more bloody mindedness than anything ;)

uc- aarrh, i've entered rivi now.... mmmmm

chas- thanks, the hardest part has been doing a 'long day' today though!

ppc- the voices in my head are already saying that i can do it quicker next year-eek ;)

holdfast- maybe you should make a return to 'racing'?! perversely, it's those dark moments that i look back on with smiles ;)

shelly- cheers :) it felt great to be a part of something special in biking terms

bettymountaingirl said...

Great report! You did stellar :) I have soooo many of those moments while racing. I also get to spend a lot of time by myself while riding b/c the other folks are somewhere up ahead.

Chas n Clare said...

Hmmm.....long days.....I'm on 'two in a row'. Hate them as much as I do I can't do without 'em!

Survival tip from Clare;1/2pt milk, 1/2pt nat yog, desert spn sugar, cup of seasonal crushed berries, shaken, seived and chilled-YUM.

Anthony said...

"just pure stubbornness and need for clean pants!"

Oh what a lovely picture you paint ;o)

Well done!

Nick said...

Well done.

Nick - Finish Line Marshall and 40 mile quitter

Ben said...

Amazing well done. However I need some advice! I am thinking of doing something similar but shorter (60 miles maybe). My current MTB is a piece of junk single speed conversion. For my first ever MTB event should I dive in head first and buy a new SS or not? Thanks Ben

miketually said...

Thanks for the company and paying the piper for me, Kate. I owe you some money :)

Mike

kate said...

betty- thanks! now i think about it, most of my riding is done 'alone' for similar reasons ;)

chas & claire-just finished 3 days in a row-phew! thanks for the tip :)

anthony- cheers! clean pants get round most things :)

nick- hola, cheers and thank you for sticking around :) a great event to be a part of, whatever the outcome

ben- hi there,if you knew me, you wouldn't ask my advice on this matter-you can never have too many bikes ;) but... i rode a converted ss for about 8 months, didn't touch my geared bike at all-then over the course of the next few months harvested bits from the geared bike, got a new frame and second hand bits'n bobs. all depends on your budget really but my main reason for getting a ss specific bike was it also was an upgrade to disc brakes and fitted me better. a bit rambling and not the best advice-sorry! look forward to reading about your biking adventures though :)

mike- i'll take cake as payment the next time we meet on the trails ;)

Anonymous said...

Good stuff.
cheers for the cliff bar at feed station 2, saved my life.

kate said...

no worries anonymous :)

The Sunday Adventure Club said...

Kate what a star, that sounds like a fantastic race, well done!
Richie

miketually said...

It's a deal. Next year at Kielder, if not before?

kate said...

richie- cheers but i beat you could run it faster :)

mike- see you on the 4th!

emmilou said...

Fantastic - well done Kate :-)

kate said...

emmilou- cheers! but like ritchie, i bet you could run it faster!!