Facebook mates race thing here with a hidden agenda, more on that later. So a secret race then, new one for me, it works like this, you get an invite, only 30 go out, if you come in the top 12 sussers or top 7 HT you can get invited back, if you dont make the cut your invite moves on to another person, keeps the mix of riders on the boil.

So where is it ?  cant say wont say, it's a secret, other than it's down south,  as i was coming down from Grimsby i got a late email with a map the night before i left.  The venue changes with each race, and arent open to the general public hence it's a secret ! (remember the 1.04 track and what happened there).  So i only got lost once, not bad enough to phone for help, and soon found the meet up point,  there was about 3/4 mile up a valley to the finish line, i used my tracking skills to follow the tyre tracks.

As you can tell the walk was hard going thanks to all the snow/rain and meltwater, if the push up is like this what the hell is the track going to be like, and should i go back to the car now and put the spikes on.  Still be a good test for the tyres, can you tell what they are ?.  Found the first finish line, the format was simple, 2 tracks same start, split 100m in go left or right, 1 run on each both times count fastest overall times for the win, both tacks where mostly taped which lead to some interesting line choice's going on.  So i made the bad move of not walking the tracks, but then it's a fun race and my first race for a very long time so just getting a finish was the goal, after rolling and scooting down No 1 i went back to the car to spike up, skill and ability count for a lot, mine was really lacking oh and i was huffing and puffing like a chain smoker as well, the mud was sucking the bike down and i had trouble trying to hold any speed, had to pedal all the way down and it was quite steep in places, the skinny spikes made life easier for me.

Tim Black there on the HT, and the man behind the cookie race, lots of things going on with this race, bit of a training day for team big peaks, and a trying out of running races.  The timing was done via 2 cheap radios and a stopwatch, which is cheaper than freelap, you just need 2 people to run it all day,  this was fine for track 1, things went wrong on track 2 as the finish was 200m away from the 1st, so the radios wouldnt work from the start, after a bit of walking around the wood it ended up with someone about 50m down the track in sight of the start, and the radio about another 100m down on the crest of the hill, with lots of shouting, piss taking and arm waving and a very confused local minicab company(not joking) run 2 got under way.

Andy Payne from the Uk Bike Park/torico there on the HT, he was right at home on the steep tight turns and the mud was not slowing him at all.  This time the finish line was the stream,  and the last two down got the full effect of a sudden monsoon letting rip, the rain stayed off most of the day, so it wasnt too bad.

With racing over it was off to a pub to sort out the soggy timing sheet and see who did what.

Dan Fisher of team big peaks took the win in sussers, and Andy Payne took the win for HT.  Mr Payne also bagged the fastest overall time and won the prize of a Pub Bike .

So the hidden agenda then, well things are still be sorted but the south looks like it's getting another race venue playground in the near future.   I have been aware of this for some time, but know how much work is involved and how fast things can go wrong, this should involve a campsite and showers and a bar, i havent been there yet but dont think we are talking NPS venue so dont get excited (no its nothing to do with gawton either) Tim has been dealing with IMBA so it's  serious !

Reading between the lines of what i saw/heard, you could say the cookie races are training days for event staff, they will of course use TAG timing for open races, but not everyone has marshalled or knows what goes on behind the scenes of  an event, so people get an idea of what needs to be done before they throw on an open race,   then we have www.teambigpeaks.co.uk who are driving this forward, Tim is the team manager this is tied in with www.bigpeaks.com who are backing the teams and the venue, they aim to have a big race profile this year and they are running a primary Team and a further 10 places in a second development team, there may even by spaces left, it's on the Team website if you fancy sending a CV in,  in the last 2 years the south has moved forward a lot, and there are some other possible things/venues on the bubble down here.

It's always been lacking down south with most of us doing the dragons, ok we dont have the hills,  well we do it's just that we cant use them as they are national parks or zero prospect of uplift.  And what about the cookie races, well i know 2 more are in planning subject to venue conformation, but then that will remain a secret unless you get an invite :) 



P.S.  being an unfit slackass i got 4th from 8 in HT so was nicely surprised, and get to race again, suffered for it the next day though, gotta get fit again.   Ace