A good weekend had by all at the CRCMTB Marathon – Marshbrook. Brad, Myself and my son travelled up on Saturday afternoon and meet with our older brother Alan, who had travelled over on Friday evening with his wife (Anna) and son (Morgan). We didn’t have long before it was time for me and Alan to head down to do the CycleActive skills coaching session, which was included as part of the entrance fee to the main event. I did somehow manage to fall off on the way to this, obviously I need all the help I can get with my bike handling skills!! I think we learnt something and hopefully will be able to put some of this into practice when out on the trail. This lasted for around 1 ½ hours, during this time Brad set up his tent and went for a wonder around the site, Harry and Morgan ran around playing and making new friends with other children on the campsite. After the session I went back to the campsite to set up my tent, which doesn’t take long, which was just as well as the pasta party had already started. So as soon as I was settled we headed back down to the event village to fill up on pasta, this was also included in the entrance fee and was really quite nice, with a mix of around 4 pasta flavours. We didn’t really hang around here instead we made our way back up to the campsite and fired up a BBQ for some chicken pieces a few rolls and a nice cup of coffee or 2, a good old general natter.
It wasn’t long before it was time to get our heads down and sleep for the night. Harry and Morgan decided they wanted to sleep in the same tent with Alan & Anna so I had a whole 2 man tent to myself.
Morning came around pretty quick as the sun rose up over the horizon around 4ish, which woke me, but I managed to burry my head back into the sleeping bag for another hour or so. I think I eventually got out the tent around 6ish. Alan was already up and the kettle had just boiled, so time for another coffee. Not long after Brad got out his tent and joined us, by which time we were both prepping our bikes for the main event. Brad managed to get the bacon on the stove which made Harry and Morgan come out around 7 and Anna some time after.
There’s not much time left now before the start time, we had all been asked to arrive at the line for a briefing at 09:30 and a start time of 10:00am. We were there in good time but there were already hundreds of riders at the line. We’ve been told that there were just over 1,000 riders, which made for a slow start, I don’t know for sure but I would guess that it took us at least 5 minutes to get through the start line and out onto the road where we were lead out by a lead car to pace us. We didn’t see the car though as we were so far back down the field. It didn’t take long before we were out passing people though and onto the main trail. The first climb wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be and I felt good, maybe because I was passing people still. However when I reached the top there was a small decent before heading off through a very small single track section, I lost a load of time at this point as there were hundreds of riders all trying to get through the same narrow section. I must have travelled 20 yards in 10+ minutes, which was frustrating. After this though there were no further hold ups. The route was 100% rideable, all be it a bit steep at some points. There were some occasions when I was cycling at the same speed as some of the other riders that had decided to get of their bikes and walk. But I kept the moral high ground by staying aloft my trusty steed. I felt that the tarmac sections were the hardest; maybe it was the heat that was coming off the black stuff. I did stop at the first feed station for around 10 minutes to stock up on water, eat a banana and have a little rest. Not really sure why I stopped but seemed like the right thing to do at the time. Next time I’ll just replenish my water and leave, I wasn’t really seeing this event as a race, rather a test of my stamina. I did stop again at the summit stone only to do a Geocache, which didn’t take long. It was pretty much all downhill from here. Past the second feed station and down a nice flowing single track decent. I did run into problems just after this with really painful cramp and muscle spasms in my left leg. I thought there was still another 5 miles to ride at this point so took the time to stretch the cramp out and take on a lot more water. However as it turns out I was only about 1km from the finish which crept up on me quite unexpectedly. The advertised distance was 45km but it actually turned out to be only 40km. This was the only disappointing thing of the whole weekend, other than this the event was well organised, well signposted, just as an event like this should be.
Event Route and GPS data
While Brad, Alan and I were out on the trail Morgan and Harry done their own CycleActive skills coaching sessions, ate burgers and ice cream, and generally had fun. Anna stayed with them and chilled out a much as she could.
All in all a great weekend camping with a cycle ride thrown in for good measure.
The results havn’t been published as yet, nor have I loaded my GPX file. As soon as I have the results I’ll update this post.
Next race weekend is Plymouth Newnham Park on the 23/24 July. http://www.twentyfour12.com/