Ron Milbanke reports -
The secret is out – mountain biking is on the up. Despite the lack of information on the website and the late decision to go ahead with this event, 55 riders squirreled out the details and made it to the start line. And who can blame them ? It was a perfect mild, still winter morning at one of Marlborough’s many idyllic scenic locations with the fantails and friendly cows welcoming us.
The morning started early for Kiel who chose to ride out to the event, and then home again afterwards. My odometer recorded 80 Km for the return journey so with the four laps added to that, he would have been deservedly relaxing by late afternoon.
Peter and Justin set three courses and riders could mix and match to satisfy their needs. Seven guns managed to complete four of the longer laps which included a couple of climbs, the second of which was variously described as “brutal” “tough” “and even “awesome” by one of the tougher ladies. Everyone enjoyed the resulting long smooth downhill, specially after familiarisation increased confidence on laps 2, 3 and 4. There was an interesting mix of ages among these seven guns with three under 15’s, and a rep from Vet 1, Vet 2, Vet 3 and Vet 4. Sarnim was suffering from lack of Kms and struggled to win by only 8 minutes. (Thankful for small mercies comes to mind.) Joel continued his good form to finish second with a resurgent Ken still showing his class in a rare appearance. George was fourth and impressed with his climbing abilities, and Kiel eased off in the later laps obviously contemplating the exciting long straight ride home. It was a glorious day though and being on a bike anywhere was all you could ask for.
A huge number of the younger set came along with a couple of trailers exposing the wee ones to what we have to offer. Mums and dads accompanied their charges on the varying tracks and all enjoyed the yummy soup afterwards. It was interesting to see a young 9 year old lady, who only a year ago would kick and scream as she reluctantly rode round Conders Bend, when today she did not want to stop and was one of the last to hand in her race number. Persistent parenting or the new bike or maybe a combination of both, but the smile at the end said heaps.
So another great day and we are grateful to the owners of Lansdowne Forest and the farmer for the use of their facilities. Thanks also to Peter and Justin for setting out the courses and to the ladies looking after the soup and the children. Next ride in the series is scheduled for July 12th at Meadowbank. Any changes will be notified, if not on the website then on the club’s Facebook page. Hope to see you all there.