“Bontrager is the best, you won’t want to do any other 24hr races after” was the hype Team RDFCC were hearing,so we decided to stick our names down for a trip to Devon. One rider dropped out in exchange for a trip in an Astra to the south of France (he shall remain nameless). In stepped the man with the medals and special powders, Jared Linden. Jon Batts, John Linden and Adam Taylor making up the numbers.
The weather was looking particularly wet during the week ahead.It was a case of when, not if, would the rain start, final forecast was 4am Sunday. Early start Sat morning with the drive to the infamous Newnham Park on the edge of Plymouth. Up with the club gazebo and flags, numbers on, relax and wait for the noon start.
Jared lined up for the start leg, his mission was to pass the 80 or so competitors who appeared to have camped on the start line and complete the lap in first place. The race kicked off with a start loop, which saw the riders trickle down a hillside into the campsite. Jared had made up quite a few places already and finished the full loop in the top 10, great start. Next out Adam with a slow but steady lap in what can only be described as moist and slippery conditions, due to the rain the week before. Next John followed by Jon, who agreed to go in any order as long as he was last. Initial standing had us in the top 5 for our category.
Late afternoon to early evening the course dried out considerably as the mud was washed aside and quicker lines were formed through the rooted sections. With a few laps under our belts we began to appreciate the course more for what if offered. This included “Cottages Return” a long flowing singletrack section which could be hit at high speed off a fireroad. “Cottages” would throw up the occasional technical rocky section, bomb hole or group of roots, before a sweeping left hand and drop down back into the campsite. Making full use of the height gained from the long dragging “Cliff Bar Climb” earlier on. Exiting the campsite the course weaved through a clay shooting arena, sadly without any live firing to dodge, past Rita’s Shop selling squash etc and through the second river crossing, then a short climb before the blast down into the campsite. Fortunately for us the RDFCC jersey stands out so well we were able to see our team mates descending into the arena and had no issues with lateness for the changeovers.
Into the night and we doubled up on laps to give each other a longer break for sleeps, for those who could sleep. Great atmosphere out on the course and through the campsite, passing log fires and the occasional voice of someone buried in a sleeping bag. Rita’s Cafe had now turned into a night club with DJ and disco lights. 4am came and a light shower, back onto single laps as daylight began, then 6am the rain began and continued and continued…..home time……..
22nd out of 62 overall teams.