MacAvalanche part 3

The final part of Ace’s Macavalanche adventure at Glen Coe, Scotland.Part 3,  a race run and a new format for me.  The DH enduro is a mass start…but you ride about 2 miles uphill before you drop down,  this spreads everyone out a bit, i havent had to fight for my bike and fight through every one else in the first corner before.  To break it up a bit we got sent about 100m down the mountain and had to sprint uphill get going.

Iain "Ace" Woodley in full denims!

Photo:Mark Forrest

There was some pisstaking going on here,  to James Shirly you cheeky push in you…if your sprint start failed i would have used you for grip and ran over you 🙂  ( i am only 13 stone so it wouldnt have hurt to much)  as it happened some fucker grabbed me arm Shirls was off like a whippet on speed and it was push and shove your way up the hill.  Jump on the bike and go nowhere,  just sink in the snow,  jump off try to run hit the grass jump on roll off and sink again,  i managed about a 30m roll over 600m of snow,  i fell over, lots fell over, i tried to run, found a void up to my knee,  nearly broke my leg,  tried to push through,  also the sun is high and the glare off the snow is intense,  i dont have sunnys on and after a few lie downs and staring at the ground to much things went a bit monochrome and dazzled.  now onto the second snow bank and now out of breath,  is this high enough for the air to be thinner,  i am from sea level so just being in the carpark at 305m is some height for me to be at let alone being at 1000m up.  I fight through the snow that is crawling with bodies,  people trying to roll, people going over the bars.

I leave the snow and hit the algae covered rocks,  then have a lie down there with a struggle to get up and hope no one else rides into me, grab the bike get rolling… the noise of squealing brakes cuts through your ears,  and boy is it rough.  Steep but the rocks and ruts just catch your front wheel,  several tankslappers but stay upright,  many dont.  Its now a case of look for markers or look at the ground for holes and boggy bits,  you pass a few then someone in front stalls and shuts you down, you get passed,  jump off run jump on again, catch people pass them then stall behind another and get repassed,  its a random lottery to get ahead,  the field is thinning out as people break away,  i am now a proper back marker.  We get down to 720m and the single chairlift station,  its sort of path like but still very rough,  gears would have helped from here,  again trying to carry speed to get through the rollers but stall behind other riders,  jump off run past  PEDAL PEDAL FUUUUUUUCK we are off across the plateau now, the ground is fairly firm but grass hides rocks and holes,  we loop round and back to the main access track where the deflated arch is,  PEDAL,  i spin out the 36×18 ss gear and the bike starts to shimmy about,  its very loose surface and windy,  i think maybe the wheelbase is to short for this as the back keeps trying to step out.  (i have seen some video now of someone else going off the straight track and into the ditch so i dont think my short wheelbase was the problem anymore)  rolling now down to the main chairlift station at 650m,  loop round that and hit up the top section of the BDS track,  berms a small jump lovely chainring smashing loose rocks,  i pass others trying to fix flats and we loop out on a boggy rollercoaster ride of a land rover track.

I pass a chap holding a crank arm in each hand,  he looked confused.   The ss gear is pain here i need to spin to smash up the rollers i pass a few and swap position with another then pull away.   This is now the bit i havent walked,  i get confused as to where i am going and look for markers,  2 behind zip past and drop off the boggy track.  Follow them then.   I make the mistake of getting to close,  i geared my bike to ride high for bb clearance which is paying off until the rider in front stalls me,  one goes right i jump off and run left over a piste basher rut,  righty has stalled,  middle is going again i just get past,  i watch others go over the bars further down,  and look for holes,  nearly there….more bog… i start to catch some more riders we come into the final straight,  this has a ditch i jump it bloke in front stalls it,  big ditch one line through rider in front stalls it i have to run round him another rider is just in front,  a dash for the finish line then i get all shouty and do them and hold it into 81st in 22.30  time for a drink of water.

Knackered.  Somehow Joe Barnes smoked it in 10.59 ! i reckon with gears and less lying down on the job i could do 17ish the other HT Sam Holdsworth bagged 45th in 16.04

Johno from Orange (i think that was his name)  they where chuffed as an Orange won and lots of 5’s where in play.

Another one down.

He made it down and didnt come last, a crankless 92nd in 26.16  Matthew Greig.  What happened then ?

Happy racers.

Already done the boys podium a few days ago to billy,  heres the girls 1st Hannah Barnes,  2nd Angela Coates,  3rd Rosie Holdsworth.

End of the day,  event team wind down,  Pete Scullion the man from Hotlines/IXS who couldnt race because he had to work for our amusement.   96 lined up and 95 finished,  no idea what happened to Mark Haldane,  i will assume a mechcanical.  As far as i know the Ski patrol who covered the medic side of the event did not get called on to rescue any of us which was as nice for us as it was for them.   I think they pulled it off no fuss events,  it was a unusual event for the UK and very much a work in progress,  a lot will have been learned but they cant control the weather which will always have a major impact on how the race runs.  If you dont fancy the full on Mega but fancy trying the format then if/when this runs again its worth a look.  There was talk of up to 300 riders next time and the trophys will be nameplated and handed over to the next winners,  so i think they will announce there intent soon.  Not quite what i expected (less snow) but i enjoyed myself,  see what they plan for next time. for other events and for there info,  also the BDS track is open now if you fancy an uplift pre BDS practice session.

Now if they hold it early May again….say when both the Fort and Glencoe bike tracks open,  then i am in for a road trip,  day at the fort day at the Coe then race the Mac then come home,  after seeing all the track work done i really wanted a go at the fort but it dosent open for another week,  and yes i am already looking at what did and didnt work on the bike,  a race for all those All Mountain bikes.   Was Barnes on Orange 5 ? 

Good race good crowd,  excellent event,  sunburn in Scotland in April and no midges,  loved it.


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