Sunday was the Colne Valley Mountain Bike Challenge. It’s one of those relatively informal “not a race” events where they give you a time and a ranking place at the end, but have to call it a “challenge” because they use bridleways and racing on bridleways is illegal. The event is in aid of a cricket club and a local scout troop, and it’s very well run. There are lots of marshals holding gates open and doing a good job of stopping motorists from flattening you at the various junctions. Three feed stops are laid on for anyone who runs out of juice, and you usually get freebies of some sort at the start line if you don’t turn up too late. The course is probably 50/50 on and off road, with a lot of the descending being done on tarmac, presumably for the sake of not scaring the red-sock-and-walking-pole brigade. There are some fierce hills in there, and your legs certainly let you know you’ve done it at the end.
This was my third year, and I enjoyed it more than the two previous ones, mostly because I got round quicker than ever. I finished over ten minutes faster than last year’s attempt, in spite of a minor mechanical mishap half-way round. The results are here. I came in with a time of 2:48:41, putting me 36th out of 250 finishers, which I think is respectable. The fastest rider got round in two hours and three minutes, which is very fast indeed.