Iain “Ace” Woodley, AKA the Hardtail Warrior gives us the first instalment from the NoFuss endurance race at Fort William.
Yes part 1. Took loads of piccys, too much for a race report/blog so that will follow later. I see the results have gone up already so i can cover the more random things that went on up there. I reckon i will get at least 1 name wrong as i didnt get everyones number plate in the piccys to find there name later, just remember i am racing so dont have a note book handy to write stuff down.
So last years race in the rain and fog….also Vaughn from Orange zip tied the rear end on his 225, lock out the back end for the sprint uphill start. First job was find Vaughn and see what he has done to the proto 322 Strange (think its a 322).
Less zip ties this year, although things are going to get creative among the big hit bikes. You can look at this two ways, they all got the hump at Jesse Wigmans 4th last year (hardtail) and fancy a piece of HT action or someone wants to make a shock lockout for downhill bikes, still others had other ideas.
This is Matt (i think) i got trapped with him last year under a red flag for about 40mins, now look carefully at the top shock mount…yep see the zip ties poking out, this was a case of snip them off at the top, over Vaughns “they snap at the first jump”. It gets better.
Hopefully this is James Heal on the 224 XC special with pine lockout. I reckon next year cane creek will have a lock out shock just for this race. James part of the South West Massive invasion of Scotland and he bagged 21st (if i got the right name). Oh it gets better than that….
BJ Doherty with his Glory lock out, he said he still had an inch of travel and was able to just whip out the lump of 4×2 without stopping.
Humour about wanting to join the specials aside, the point is DH bikes dont go uphill very well, if you want to get a good finish you really need to be on the uplift as fast as you can, as i was going up, the leaders where coming down and on there way up again before i had done 1 run. Its a two part race, you must get a fast start and get up fast, thats the easy bit. Lasting 6 hours at race pace is when things change, bikes break, parts break, tyres burst and riders get so beat up they cant hang on (or get flashed by outlaw blondes). If you fancy a pop at this race you want to start doing some uphill xc on the downhill bike, those in it to win it really put the effort in and train hard. It looks really funny having a lump of wood stuffed in your frame, BJ got 25th james got 21st Vaughn got 7th last year and 32nd this time with a few hiccups. Now i didnt see the bike so dont know for certain, but i did find a shock wedge with a Nuke Proof sticker on it, very well made… lump of wood with a wire grab handle with a piece of inner tube tacked over it… DID Alastair Maclennan the overall winner and veteran also wedge up the shock ? he rides for Nuke Proof, and i dont recall seeing too many of those there. A strange tactic that does work. But then this is a unique race so thinking outside the box can pay off big time. Its all in the sprint start, then just hope your bike holds together.
No they wouldnt let us do a run on the Trek, i reckon i could get it down in under 20 minutes. Me and Kem Avis, it’s nice to know that if i ever take up a bouncy bike then Kem and Alastair are the competition (yes iam now a vet )
Global eventing, Jay Barrett from New Zealand and www.wideopen.co.nz Jay is here for a euro world cup round and just happened to be here on race day. I was sat chatting with Frazer when he enquired if he could enter. Dont expect to roll up and just enter next year. A quick chat, Frazer slipped him a plate, put that on, have 2 runs, see what you think, then come back, no problems getting down so Jay was in and totally blown away by the standard of track and the reception he got from No fuss, they are laid back but dont suffer fools, and lets face it i dont think too many world cup tracks are what you would call open to the public, let alone to be able to race and get timed runs on, a lucky break for the man down under.
Guy Martin riding for Hope Technology and another Orange Strange proto bike, this is from late practice, look close at the mech, what you cant see is the pringled rear wheel as well. Guy and Vaughns bikes where both built up a few days before the race. When i saw the piccys on the Orange facebook page, well i reckoned Guy was going to have a good stab at the race this year, his run times are around the 6.41 mark not to shabby at all as he is not a seasoned DH racer. It creates a buzz when everyone knows he is there as most of us watch the IOM TT racing, and we get to say we have raced against him, and this year i slipped to 94th and Guy slipped to 95th…. I beat Guy Martin :) i wouldnt try that on a motorbike mind. We both had issues this year and both walked away with a limp, he was more worried about a big race next weekend as he had an OTB moment and got well battered, and he still thinks i am mad.
How to get in dirt… wear a dirt t-shirt. Sorry chaps names have gone, pre-race prep in the pits, you will want at least a spare set of wheels with tyres ready to roll for this event, 40mins pre-race someone was running around trying to borrow a spare rear as they had ripped the spokes out on there only wheel in practice, dont know if they got sorted, but most people only have a lighter spare set and if you lend it, but then need it you have just screwed over your own race. Remember trendsetters, its a brutal track bring spare wheels, you might get lucky and borrow one but dont bank on it.
Jesse Wigman from Alpine bikes in the Fort. Be very afraid if you race against this man, somebody sponsor him ! now lets have a look at the bike, well thats the old P3 frame from 04/05 i had one of those my first race bike. The forks gave up working again mid race, they did that last year as well, Gamut Chain device as before, like mine still going strong, you see its not a flash bike, ok not manyriders are happy to ride or race the fort on big hit bikes, all i got in 08 when i asked around about the track was that i had no chance of doing a single run as others on 9″ bikes had to stop at the deer fence crossing as they where so beat up…go figure…track must be to hard for some. It came up with Billy last week, he cant get over the fact i still do it on HT, he got to lob an Atherton WC bike down there and said it was rough and scary on that (maybe Gee runs a stiff tune for skimming rocks) i would love to lob a WC bike down there. The blokes on freeride bikes i spoke to all said the difference from a FR to a proper DH spec bike just blew them away, smoother more control less of a kicking. Jesse is local so used to the track, i asked him last time how many runs could he do in a normal day of uplifting. About 22 runs taking it steady in a normal day, how many bikes can stand that let alone how many riders, this is what you are racing against, the bike is only 50% of the set up, the rider is the key factor in this event. Also something else to factor in if you go looking for Jesses times, we run about 90% of the world cup track, the big jump is Pro race day only, the wood WC section may be slightly shorter/faster than the open public section, then we have to manually start our clock at the start and stop it at the bottom, no light beams, that adds several seconds to the race lap times on its own. Then when you look at times you see people banging out runs within a few seconds of each other, mine tend to get slower as the race goes on some hardly change.
I went for a wander the morning after, was looking for my pump that i lost twice during the race (damn cheapo tape) some of the random post race junk, bits of chain, lots lost there chain this year, some bottom out on a rock and cut them, some have them rattled off. The first race 08 i lost my chain, i had an 11-32 cassette on so the chain wasnt under high tension in the smaller sprockets, i use quick links. The links will gey rattled off, it really ir that rough up there, i uplifted with another who had lost 2 chainring bolts, mech hanger bolts rattle loose, check and loctite everything for this race. On the red flag is what i think is a rear 12mm thru-axle bolt, bits of mech and jockey wheels and 3 shock wedges, didnt find my pump and only got as far as the deer fence crossing as my leg was hurting so came back down, some parts of the track are easier to ride than walk.
The outlawriders superfans, you knew where they were you could hear them from the top, might be more of them next year, a few more might even race, they came for a few days riding then to support one of there own and everyone else, they did talk about doing the world cup next year as well, reckon CG will be stopping for a chat if they flash him
So big up to www.nofussevents.co.uk for another cracking event, and a race blog will follow soon.