Bright sunshine and a frosty start looked like promising signs for the Ridgeway Evans ride last Saturday, but it didn't quite work out that way. As the day warmed up, the trails softened into a heavy gloop that would grab wheels, foul gears and break chains and derailleurs. Added to this, a liberal covering of thorns from recent hedge cutting turned setions of the route into puncture alley. For the 120 participants (and for us on Team Trail Break) the day turned into a bit of an unexpected epic.
Our first inkling that all was not going to plan came around midday as we waited for the first finishers to come in. What should have been a steady stream was just an occasional trickle. Warning bells rang when we realised that only three of the first twelve mid level ride finishers had completed the full route; the rest had all cut down to the short ride.
Our clean up
crews headed out early to make sure there were no serious problems out
there (and special thanks have to go to Phil Brown for staying
the course right until the last finishers got back) and extra portions
of chilli and pasties were prepared to feed the cold and tired as they
Throughout the afternoon riders came back with tales from their surprisingly long day out. Some had relished such a tough challenge, many had been pushed to their limits, but everyone seemed to enjoy it; even if just for the satisfaction of beating an unusually tough route. Finishing times became academic; for the two longer rides, not many recorded under five hours and a fair number were out for over six, but that didn't matter. For everyone who finished the course that was enough; and even those who didn't deserve credit for giving it a shot.