Welcome to SUMBC
Welcome to the website for Southampton University Mountain Bike Club. Our regular rides are twice weekly, meeting on the Concourse (outside the Union) at 2pm on Wednesdays and 1pm Sundays. We also go on trips to bigger mountains, go on pubcrawls, have BBQs and a variety of other social events. If you want to find out more have a browse around our site.
This website is no longer maintained, you can find us on Facebook instead.
BUCS DH 2013 - Combe Sydenham - 18th April
So once again the BUCS rolls around, this time the DH event was held at the BDS track at Combe Sydenham in Somerset, not far from where a certain Wizard lives, not that that was any advantage; I'd only ridden it once or twice in years gone by.
The track had been ridden the weekend before by a lot of people a lot faster than us lot for the first round of the BDS, and as it'd been wet, it was fairly thoroughly wrecked. This meant the track builder had taped in a bunch of new lines for us for a lot of the length of the track so we got to cut in some stuff on fresh loam. Combining this with the original open field section (with plenty of jumps) and the normal techy bottom section and it was all in all a really fun track, with plenty of scope for making time up on the other racers, and plenty of potential for messing it up.
The event was the now-typical format for DH BUCS, with friday practise, and saturday hosting a bit of practise, followed by a 'qualification' run for all riders, and the top 100 times going through to the 'race' run proper.
The club worked well together, scouting lines and talking through options, but of course when it came down to it it was all about beating each other! I know three of us had decided to forget everyone else and just race against each other, and the rest of us weren't happy to let ourselves be humbled by the guys we ride with all the time!
Qualification runs went down, with some winners and some losers. Three of us; Bill, Chode and Chris, qualified for the race run, Tom Bower came in after those three and before me, James Burrows had a good stab at it, even after missing his race slot because he was trying to help... Rowan Griffin, who had decided to try and change his tyres with not enough time to spare and ended up pinching his tube and missing out completely! Rowan wasn't alone with mechanicals, poor Pascal got a flat in his run, and had to walk pretty much the whole way down!
Race runs turned up some decent results, with Chris coming in a very impressive 7th overall, and managing to not crack his frame in half which we were all expecting. Chode came in 33rd, and Bill had a mechanical and ended up 96th.
Overall, mixed results aside, I think everyone enjoyed themselves, and those of us who get to do it again will likely be looking forward to next year! Can't say I'm not a little sad that this was my last!
Impromptu Super Duper XC Race - 9th March 2013
So what we had planned for the afternoon, a Varsity XC Race with Portsmouth, was cancelled after the Pompey lads apparently could get no further on the trains due to a derailment! Sounds like racing driver excuses to me. Either way, we had a race with just the SUMBC members that showed up.
A nice loop around Lordswood linking up a few trails, a bit of friendly competition, and a photo opportunity, these things made for a decent afternoon, even if we didn't accomplish what we'd hoped to.
Format was 4 laps, or however many you'd managed when the winner completed his 4th.
SUMBC 6X race
After the shred-fest which was today's DH World Cup round quick plans were made to execute
Operation 4X, something which has been in the pipe-line all year yet in true SUMBC fashion had been
delayed and forgotten. The majority of us, having never been to Eastleigh BMX track before were a
bit apprehensive of racing seasoned vets Fresher Luke and DJ-Chris, what with them wiping the floor
with the rest of us during qualifying.
The format that was decided upon (a weird 6X super-enduro style of racing) meant that lane choice
rested upon your previous result with qualifying results deciding the choice of lane for the first race,
then positioning from races scoring points (6 to 1) over 3 rounds. Got it? No, neither do I. But it
Racing all went super smoothly with everyone casing everything, a few inside line crashes, a few
hundred doubles, 1 or 2 more manuals and lots of skids. We were even joined for 1 round of racing
by a few other locals...who showed us up...quite a lot. Best crash goes to Luke, going down hard on
an optimistic loose inside line which he almost nailed. Best effort to Seb, having not ridden anything
like a BMX track before and on an Orange 5...and he didn't even qualify last! Finally best aggression
goes to Ant, nearly barging Chris and myself off the track as he decided he wasn't riding with enough
Congrats to DJ Chris for winning and commiserations to Wizard who slipped a pedal in our uber-
gnarly showdown for 3rd place. Having just written the results I now see I was a mong at the time
and didn't add up Seb or Lukes scores to equal 7, so they didn't have a race to decide their placing.
My bad. You're all winners in my book. Overall a tiring but great evening of racing, definitely one
that will be added to the calendar a hell of a lot more often!
Write up by Tom Bower, photos and video of the day to arrive on Facebook shortly.
Update: Video now up!
SUMBC AGM 2012
The club held it's AGM recently, with some awards given out, plenty of drinking, the traditional funnel, and a new committee decided upon.
So, the new committee for 2012/2013 is as follows:
Super Duper race 23/10/11
Redbull Weekend Warriors (Personal Blog)
I never win anything. Fact. So most of the time I don't even bother. Not the case when I saw the promotional video for RedBull Weekend Warriors though, in fact I think I would have been the first applicant had I not watched it about 6 times over in awe. A month later, chilling in my room, my phone rings and my crappy summer is instantly improved. "Hey my names Deano, I work for Redbull." I distinctly remember being completely underwhelmed with the whole thing at the time, my mind trying to compute how it could have been a scam. I got pretty stoked pretty soon after that though! Calling the other members of my team Matt (who picked up his phone in front of a customer and got extremely stoked behind the bar of a posh hotel, Olly who was equally as surprised and Bill who was on holiday in America at the time (I facebooked him, I'm not made of money). A lot of hurried bike fixing and putting in some runs since the alps followed.
A fortnight later we were leaving my house in Devon at 1 o'clock, aiming for Llangynog by 6ish. Psyched off our faces we arrived at Olly's house in Taunton in seemingly no time at all. After the obligatory embarrassment by his parents and some quality sister-based banter we were on our way again. Traffic put a massive downer on our spirits until we hit Shrewsbury from which point the roads cleared. Driving into what is basically your hero's back garden in pitch black in the middle of Wales is a weird experience. Nothing could have prepared any of us for what was coming. All of our expectations were instantly exceeded as we pulled into the last complex of fields, greeted by walls of light and with the smell of bonfire in the air. Grabbing a few bags and following a marshal we became more dumbstruck, the Athertons RV and pit set up, two large tepees covering seating areas, a bar and DJ booth and a ring of smaller tepees with bike stands holding thousands of pounds worth of metal. After introducing himself a few times (few too many free beers) Deano showed us to our tent, a warm tepee with complementary airbeds (already inflated), red bulls and schedules inside. With that we threw our stuff down and went to soak up the atmosphere around a massive campfire with the help of some tokens for free drinks from the bar. A lot of "What the fuck dude" followed as we saw Affy, Gee and Rachel were chilling round the campfire, Rob Warner was getting big on the free bar and various other favourites from the Atherton Project such as Polish Pete, Browny and Stevie Bell were all there. I'm not sure what we were expecting, I mean, obviously they were going to be there but it still took us the night to get adjusted.
The next morning we were in the breakfast queue next to Rob Warner, who was saying that he'd gotten too drunk and eaten 18 raw eggs for a bet last night, 10 of which he reckoned he managed to keep down. How often is that going to happen in life? Breakfast banter with a legend! Before long we were at the top of a very big hill, right were every downhill rider loves to be, and beginning our first chilled session of the new track which Gee was still out fine tuning with a hatchet the morning of our arrival. The track began with the same fireroad sprint used in the Rhyd Y Felin nationals track but then split off into a fast flat section with a few large doubles and a moderately sized road gap (which no competitor hit due to the 90 degree right hander on landing for which being a pro was a prerequisite for not ending up in the Christmas trees). As we were the first group on the track with Dan and Rachel the next section was beautiful. Loam, loam and more loam down a fresh section equalled a lot of fun, slamming into corners and dropping onto a fire road with a decent drop into the next section with a chicken line on the right. There's an interview of me on the Atherton racing website describing this next section as the best section I've ever ridden. I wasn't lying. It had everything you could want a section of trail to give you and flowed so well, slamming into berms and drifting round moto turns behind an Atherton is one of the greatest feelings and it felt so fast, giving you confidence and opportunities to turn small step downs into full blown senders. There wasn't so much tuition by Dan and Gee, more "watch out for this section" style track introduction, but they seemed to give off smoothness and you instantly found yourself more confident and faster in their company. The new track joined up the old one again for the finish section, a series of off camber roots and turns before a tiny drop into an off camber field (which when it rained became like riding on slicks on off camber sheet ice) a small drop which could be turned into a large sender to flat with the simple application of balls (Dan did it every time, I did it once, cleared about 10 metres to flat, shat myself and decided to squash it from here on in) before a rock garden and the finish line. 3 or 4 runs on this track, a bit of rain and it was obvious the middle and end section would become slip n slides, especially the middle which lost all the flow of the first run down as it began to get extremely cut up.
Lunch time was when the media side of the event became more obvious to me when I got a camera shoved in my face and extensively quizzed about my application, why I was changing my tires (Â£120 worth of Continental Mud Kings gifted to riders struggling with grip by Polish Pete and Stevie Bell), what I thought of the track and my thoughts about the Athertons. And when I say shoved, seriously that thing is so close, you have no idea whether to look in the lens or at the guy asking you the questions behind it and all the time your thinking "don't fuck up, don't make yourself look like a retard, think of something funny, that didn't make sense, oh fuck OH FUCK!" The next track session of the nationals track was described by Gee and Warner as complete carnage! The track had become so greasy with the beginnings of rain really screwing a lot up and creating more challenging conditions. Because of the traffic on track me and Olly found ourselves relaxing at the back of the pack with Polish Pete and Browny, both great laughs. To look at them you wouldn't expect them to be fast but riding in front of them I can assure you they are great riders. Another 3 or 4 runs on this track and the hill was closed down for the day. Dinner bought with it loads more banter, some great music, relaxing by the campfire with lots of red bull and free beers and a Mexican showdown between Bill and another guy sharing birthdays and beating (or attempting to beat) the crap out of two pinatas. Everyone was pretty drunk and knackered so as soon as the annoying gits with the ukuleles shut up (The Grand Old Ukes of Yorkshire, available to fuck up your wedding or any other social gathering should you wish to pay them to do so (the weren't actually that bad, I just have a special hatred reserved for people who are too happy and enthusiastic about everything, and one of those guys, jeeeessus christ)) we went to bed.
Race day. Excitement was in the air, which soon got pissed all over when Olly started singing Superstition by Stevie Wonder along with my alarm. Only joking, it was a lovely rendition. The format was 1 practice run and then however many timed runs you could fit in on the first and second tracks before and after lunch respectively. Our Southwest Shredders group practice run of the first track proved very useful. The new rubber was giving amazing amounts of grip over the slippery slate as long as you kept it pinned and a line which I had considered out of my league earlier in the day was suddenly accessible by all of us, saving the team valuable seconds. Bill Bye line guy was also unleashed upon a wide taped section where the main line was a slow off camber sticky mud and roots which could only really be rolled. Going into the first berm a little hotter and flicking off the tree opened up an amazing option about 5 feet higher than the main line, pretty much straightlining across a section of forest, destroying small bushes and dropping onto the fire road a few feet up from the main line. To an onlooker it would have been a bit of a "where the hell is he going" moment but it was a great spot which quickly bedded in to save each member of the team more and more time. Queuing up for our first timed run with everyone shouting people out of the gates reminds me why I love racing despite maybe not being particularly good at it. It seemed roughly a 4:30 was a good time for the track but I heard over the radio before I left the gate the Gee posted a sub 3, what a confidence booster, I reckon I could have him. 4:40. Clean, safe, not particularly pushing too hard but a respectable time nonetheless. Bill and Matt put in awesome times on there first runs, Bill placing 10th and Matt 15th. After our second timed run we called it a day for that track in order to grab a quick lunch and get the first uplifts for the afternoon session. Bill clocked the fastest time of any unsponsored rider, pretty impressive considering there were some Steve Peat Syndicate and a few names from nationals only a few seconds faster, at a storming 11th place. Matt ended up roughly 12 seconds back off Bill in 19th place where the field began to tighten up. A 4:17 on a bit of a looser ballsy run bought me home in 22nd and pretty happy with my performance, with only a few places where I could have gained time playing on my mind. A quality performance from Olly bought him in at 5:08, pretty damn good, less than 10 places off the top half with 2 offs in the same run, the field on the home straight turning out to be Olly and many other rider's nemesis.
Lunch came with Redbull photographers swarming around us as we were packing in the necessary red bull to psych us up for the swamp we new we were about to face. With time, track condition and weather putting pressure on the runs, practice was ignored for the second track, going straight to timed runs. Riders were held at the gate for minute intervals, with 5 out of the start gate a worried voice came over the radio saying that a rider was yet to pass the first split. The only obvious place for the split to be placed was on the fire road after what soon became known as "the clunge." The rain had really taken its toll on more exposed track, hardly any of the doubles were jump-able due to a thin sloshy layer of surface mud which is the type you hit and get a squirl on, not what you want before a massive double, and not what you want to land in. The clunge pit followed. I fell straight off and got caught in a tree and lost considerable amounts of time, when exiting the section I could hear Olly, released a minute after me not far behind. On the fireroad I had to stop and punch a hole in the back end of my bike which had become more clogged than I ever thought possible, I couldn't even revolve my cranks until I took large handfuls of clunge off and slammed the bike down especially hard off the drop to help clear the drive a bit. Luckily the next part ran dreamy as ever, amazingly fluid even in the damp conditions and some surprise spectators with cow bells to cheer you into getting loose. I'm not even going to tell you the first time. It was terrible, but gave me the knowledge of how to deal with the clunge the second time around, ride it suicide grip, foot dabs all over the place and try and keep the cranks turning. Second runs were much more successful. Matt who had clocked a quicker time than Bill on the first run fell victim to clunge and came 16th with a 5:35, 5 places and 25 seconds behind Bill. I managed a 6:39, definitely not clean, and not happy but good enough for 25th, 15 seconds ahead of Olly who came in 31st.
Whenever I go racing I always aim for top half. Partially because I believe it to be an accurate reflection of my abilities, but partially so as not to get dissapointed when I don't podium and because sometime with a good field of riders that in itself is a challenge. There was absolutely no pressure on the race event, an amazingly little amount, no one even mentioned wanting to win at all. Obviously we all had aims, because of our consistency I knew that we could be in with a very good chance of coming in the top half of the teams that were entered. Rachel announced 3rd place and ManManManWoman went up to take their trophy. Laughing at Dan accidently calling the woman a man took away any obvious signs of dissappointment from everyone. Not that it mattered but we thought 5th, maybe 4th? 3rd if we were extremely lucky? We were so dumbstruck when Rachel announced we'd come in second place that none of us made a move to approach the line of Athertons waiting to shake our hands. Being called a dude by Gee Atherton is a mental feeling. I don't think I've ever been so surprised and stoked at the same time. It was one of those results where you wanted to ask if they'd made a mistake but at the same time wanted to jump in the van and bugger off before they could take back their trophy. But no, Team score sheets put us 2 minutes ahead of 3rd place and 2 minutes behind 1st!
So to sum up this essay (sorry about that) it was the weekend of my life and probably was for Matt, Olly and Bill aswell. We met some awesome people and had an amazing weekend doing some chilled riding on some great tracks with some World Champions who are probably some of the most genuinely sound people out there. My life is a bit emptier knowing I'm probably not going to get the chance to do something that awesome again. We're small time celebrities aswell. If you haven't already seen it check out the links on Atherton Racing and Red Bull UK websites, I've got an interview and my GoPro on board footage is used, Bill cleans his teeth and flails wildly at a pinata, Matt wears a university of Plymouth jersey and Olly does his camera face all over the place. Nice one Red Bull. You outdid yourself.
Write up by Tom Bower, with some proof reading by Wizard.
Video for the weekend here; http://www.moredirt.co.uk/stories/VIDEO-Red-Bull-Weekend-Warriors/2352/
The 2011/2012 SUMBC season is officially open!
Greetings! I thought a blog post was in order to ring in the new academic year, particularly after a good turnout for the Saturday freshers ride.
Plenty of new faces all round, and everyone seems to have enjoyed themselves, and we got a decent number of sign ups at the pub afterwards.
Hopefully we get the same tomorrow!
Southern XC #1 - 03/04/11 - Checkendon
Writeup by Tom on the Forum
WDMBA Round 1 - Rheola - 26-27/03/11
Dry, dusty, awesome track and a helicopter.
More info and results to follow
Swinley Forest XC Trip - 19/03/11
Mostly dry trails and some great spring weather greeted us.
Some interesting route planning meant that many trails were ridden in both directions, thereby maximising our singletrack intake (at least that's what I told everyone).
We rode around a bit and then ate cake and ice-cream. Awesome.
BUCS 2011: Moelfre
If we're really lucky Pete or Callum will do a write up :)
Forest of Dean DH trip
On the 5th March we decided to search out a new destination for a downhill daytrip. After dragging Bill out of bed 9 of us headed up to the Forest of Dean and met up with ex club members Matt and Iain.
We pushed up. We rode down. It was good.
Gorrick Spring Series #3 - 06/03/11 - Heath Warren Wood
Writeup by Tom on the Forum
Southampton vs. Portsmouth Varsity
The mountain bike clubs at both Southampton and Portsmouth deciding to join in with the annual Varsity event between the 2 universities for the first time last year. A downhill and cross country race were meant to be held however only the downhill materialised due to a lack of riders/organisation on the Pompey XC side of things. Portsmouth won the downhill last year and us the cross country by default due to the Portsmouth no show producing an overall draw.
A year later and it was time to have the second ever Varsity mountain bike races. This year Portsmouth had some cross country riders who were vaguely capable of organisation so both a downhill and cross country race were held.
The downhill race took place on Wednesday 23rd February at a rainy and foggy Rogate. Each rider was given 2 timed runs on the track with your fastest time to count in the results. The track we chose for the race was a really good mix of steep, technical and loose at the top with the bottom section being fast and bermed with some drops and jumps thrown in to the mix.
Time varied from 35secs to 1min 12secs after first runs with the top 5 as follows; Matt Shields (P), Lewis Pendle (P), Callum Corbin (S), Bill Bye (S), Ant Hackett (S). Two notable absences from the top end of the results sheet after first runs were Jonny Howe (P) and myself (Pete Irwin(S)) who had both had crashes and would be looking to make an impact come our second run.
For second runs we seeded riders based on first run times which made for exciting racing with the times decreasing with every rider coming down the hill. Jonny Howe crashed again on his second run ending his chances of gaining some extra points for Portsmouth. I managed to put a good run together on my second run which put me in to the lead however the fastest riders from first runs were still to come. Most riders chopped some time off their fist run times second time down which provided a few position changes. One notable position improvement came from Bill Bye who pulled off the most sketchy, out of control looking and pedalling filled run I've ever seen to jump from 4th to 3rd spot overtaking Callum Corbin. My time stood until the last man down the hill, Matt Shields, put in a blazing run to take back the lead which he had after first runs.
Riders scored points for their university based on position and these points were added up to determine the winning university. The results were as follows:
Larger results: here
So Southampton won the downhill! Woohoo!
The cross country race took place on Sunday 27th February in our beloved Lordswood. The pre-decided course was marked out that morning using sticks and due to the amount of rain that had fell in the past week the course was looking wet.
5 Portsmouth riders turned up for the race and we showed them around the course to make sure they knew where they were going before the race began. The format was that we would race around the course for 1 hour after which you would finish the next time you crossed the finish line.
Marshalls were distributed around the course and the race kicked off at about 1pm. Riders sprinted up the first fireroad climb to try and get ahead before diving into the first section of singletrack on course. Callum Corbin put his singlespeed munching legs in to action to win this small battle and led in to the first singletrack. However I think he was forgetting that there was another hour to go...
Lap times ranged from 12min 26 secs for the fastest lap of the day to 24min 43secs for the slowest. As the hour progressed the course gradually got torn up and became muddier making the course more difficult to navigate in later laps.
After the hour had passed riders were finished after completing 3, 4 or 5 laps depending on pace. Everyone seemed to really enjoy the course which was nice to see.
The same points scoring system as was used for the downhill results was employed and then the cross country points were added to the downhill points to give an overall varsity mountain biking score. Cross country results and the overall points are as below:
Well I think it's fair to say that we absolutely destroyed Portsmouth in the cross country! Perhaps it will motivate them to train some more for next time.
But more importantly, WE WON VARSITY OVERALL!!!!!
Portsmouth: 112 points Southampton: 150 points
Thanks to all the Southampton riders for both cross country and downhill for putting in an awesome effort and getting some awesome results. Also a massive thanks to all who marshalled at the cross country race. And thank you to Portsmouth for providing the timing equipment for the downhill and for giving us some good competition.
XC trip to Nant-yr-arian and Cwmcarn
Mid Friday afternoon saw the braver of XC members of the club journey to the frozen north of Wales. The five hour slog was mainly clear with some light patches of traffic and reasonably heavy fog on the mountain pass which lead to the accommodation. Those lucky enough to be driven by Dave Mills car broke up the monotony of the journey with a stop at the delightful Seven Seas fish and chip shop in Ross-on-Wye. We got to the (superb) accomodation about 11pm packed down a few beers and headed to bed.
An early start took us over Devils bridge up to the Nant-yr-arian trail center. After a brief interlude for some Jack helmet forgetting faff we hit the steep fire road climb to the top of the trail. Most of us bashed out an opening lap of the blue trail (10miles) with exception of Pete who felt the need to subject himself to the 26 mile orange trail. Nant-yr-arian is a fairly smooth man made trial which has some nice single track and also some fairly rough double track descents with excellent views of the surrounding country side. All trails end with the gruesome "Leg Burner" climb into long single track descent.
We ate lunch in the cafe while we waited for Pete and then did a second lap. It should be noted that how ever unpleasant that Leg Burner climb is on the first assent it is significantly worse on a second outing. Exhausted we returned back to the (superb) accommodation for a well earned bolognese, biking DVDs and as much beer as we could get down before we fell asleep.
Sunday morning we headed out to Cwmcarn. It was clear that everyone was feeling the after affects of the previous days double Leg Burner and the pace was significantly slower with only Pete and Chode showing any real signs of enthusiasm for the climbs. Many admitted defeat outright and took the road climb to the summit. From there the trail was plain (savagely rocky) descending. Some of what are usually rolling trails were a bit sticky with mud but its fair to say good times were had all round. We settled for just the one lap of Cwmcarn mainly due to exhaustion and spent the afternoon in the cafe and headed home early. All in all a fun and exhausting weekend to get the XC guys in shape for the coming weekends Varsity XC race against Pompy.
Gorrick Spring Series #2 - 06/02/11 - Crowthorne
Writeup by Tom on the Forum
January Southwest Downhill Trip
Three days, seven riders and some of the best DH the southwest of England has to offer. Even a nonchalantly absent porter and a wrong turning leading to a detour through the steepest roads in Dartmoor couldn't dampen our spirits as we headed down to Devon to ride the tracks at Tavistock Woodlands. The weather was cold but dry, giving some of the best riding conditions you could reasonably expect in January. Crash of the day goes to Pete for landing on his head off a two metre drop.
Merida Brass Monkeys #1 - 29/11/10 - Porridgepot
A bitterly cold but bright day greeted the SUMBC XC contigent who took on the fast and very dry trails at Porridgepot.
In the 4hr Male category, the winner was fought out between two of the top XC riders from Torq, with reigning 24hr national champion Matt Page in 3rd. Rob lead the SUMBC contigent home. Tom Roberts nearly finished in the top third in the 2hr race, an impressive result given the quality of the field.
4hr Male: (98 finishers, winner Tim Dunford (Torq), 7 laps in 4:01:23)
Rob Collier - 47th - 6 laps in 4hr 30:14 - 00:41:00 00:40:37 00:42:13 00:45:59 00:47:33 00:52:52
Tom Bentley - 66th - 5 laps in 4hr 05:16 - 00:40:21 00:40:52 00:47:14 00:53:07 01:03:41
Tom Bandy - 69th - 5 laps in 4hr 19:04 - 00:41:14 00:59:50 00:49:19 00:54:08 00:54:32
Steve Burnett - 86th - 3 laps in 2hr 25:07 - 00:46:27 00:48:48 00:49:52
Dave Mills - 96th - 2 laps in XXXX - 00:44:20 XX:XX:XX*
*Dave retired after the end of the second lap after a bearing failure, for some reason the second lap time wasn't recorded.
4hr Female: (11 finishers, winner Jo Munden (Cycle Kingdom), 6 laps in 4:12:52)
Lisa - 7th - 5 laps in 4hr 03:16 - 00:45:04 00:45:50 00:48:18 00:50:32 00:53:32
2hr Male: (94 finishers, winner Richard Mardle (Felt), 4 laps in 2:11:44)
Tom Roberts - 37th - 3 laps in 2hr 11:15 - 00:40:31 00:42:59 00:47:45
Gawton and Tavistock DH Trip
Five of us piled ourselves, our bikes and our kit into two cars and set off on Friday evening to spend the night in Saltash Travelodge. After arriving and not quite managing to sneak ourselves into one family room we passed the rest of the evening with a bottle of Jura and episodes of Robot Chicken.
Saturday was spent riding the 3 tracks at Gawton. The weather was dry but the tracks were wet from overnight rain. Nonetheless they hold up well in all conditions and it was great to be back riding some much steeper and more technical terrain than Lordswood.
After another overnight stay at the Travelodge (in two rooms this time) Sunday was spent riding the shorter tracks at Tavistock Woodlands. This brought the blessing of a shorter push up. We had fun sessioning and trying to cram a bit of phototaking inbetween the heavy rain showers.
I think we all agreed it was a very enjoyable trip, and we plan to arrange another (and hopefully more popular) trip back in the New Year.
UK Bike Park Winter Series Rd1
The downhill contingent of the club descended on a cold UK Bike Park for their first race of the year this past Sunday. After collecting number boards and unloading the van it was time to put the mud tyres on for those who hadn't already done so before leaving Southampton. Although it wasn't raining at the time it had rained heavily overnight and it was clear that the course was going to be very slick.
The race track started from the large start ramp and began with an energy sapping, pedally slog along the flat. It was quite depressing having to roll through what would be some nice doubles in the dry on this section. The track then continued to traverse but with bit more of a downwards direction which allowed you to carry some speed without pedaling over some nice off camber roots. A left turn pointed you straight down the hill over a double drop and firing round a right hand catch berm in to the first switchback on the track. From here it was steep, off camber and rooty in places with lots of off camber switch backs. Lots of foot out dabbing action down here from all riders trying desperately to stay up on the off camber. Out from the last switch back there was a long straight in to a long, low road gap and then a long left hand berm to rail before a sprint to the finish.
Most got 3 practice runs in and then 2 race runs. In hindsight it might have been nice to arrive a little earlier to get some more practice in.
I think all that attended had good fun despite difficult conditions and we managed to post some good times, most noticeably Nick who was fastest of the club and placed 4th in Seniors. Well done Nick! And we even had a podium in the hardtail category with Ben Craig making a valliant effort and placing 3rd.
I'm already looking forward to round 2 on the 28th Nov!
Club Results Nick Farley - 1:37.15 4th Senior
Pete Irwin - 1:44.38 11th Senior
Bill Bye - 1:51.59 15th Senior
Fresher Rob - 1:55.19 17th Senior
Jack Lambert - 2:02.18 19th Senior
Wizard - 2:04.04 20th Senior
Dan Ringrow - 2:25.42 23rd Senior
Ben Craig - 3:17.22 3rd Hardtail
October Afan XC Trip
It seems to be fashionable to start these entries with some comments about the weather, so I'll just mention that it we experienced a monsoon while loading up the van and minibus. The forecast lead us to expect a damp weekend so we were pleased to discover that this was the last significant downpour we experienced.
14 club members travelled up to join 2 old friends in our usual accomodation for the traditional first weekend XC trip of the year. Our riding plans were slightly disrupted by the closure if the Penhydd trail, so instead of starting at Afan we kicked the riding off at Glencorrwg on Saturday morning with a lap of White's Level. After lunch at the Drop-Off cafe we headed back up the singletrack climb for another descent of the black run followed by the shortest 'July' version of Skyline. A misread turning on a trail diversion saw us navigating a bog (some with more success than others), then sent us down an unexpected natural trail complete with running water, a pedal width rut to follow and rock steps. Great fun, challenging to ride fast and a change from all the manmade trails on offer. This brought us out at the bottom of the last fireroad climb on Skyline (a real grinder) and when we reached the top it dawned on us that we were back at the mid-point of the diversion. Still, the final three sections of singletrack descent more than made up for it.
Saturday evening saw a change from the traditional pasta to rice and chilli for dinner. XC Captain Rob ate way more of it than his stomach could hold down, while the rest of us were a bit more sensible but compensated by rehydrating with beer, cider or whisky.
On Sunday most people undertook a single lap of The Wall, following it up with a relaxed lunch while the keener (fitter) members went out for a second lap.
All in all a successful trip, and we took away from it a new name for XC Rob, a new song penned by Fresher Rob for Rich Hebb and greatest of all the experience of feeding Manbearpig as we left.
Gorrick Autumn Classic Rd 1
It was a bright and crisp day when SUMBC turned up to Swinley Forest on Sunday October 17th for the first in the autumn series of the Gorrick XC series. Six riders from the university went to compete with a great time being had by all. The sport category saw competitors take on three laps of a fun, fast course and was the first category that the university's riders were competing in. The bright and dry weather brought out a large field with 91 riders starting the race. First home for the uni in 36th place was Rob Collier, closely followed by Tom Roberts in 43rd spot just over a minute behind. Steve Burnett was third home from the university riders in 59th place with Chris Tyson following in 71st spot. James Gaffney rounded out the SUMBC riders in 80th position, however he would have been higher placed without a slight timing mishap. Special mention must also go to ex-student Matt Treviss who finished in 18th place. The sport category was one lap longer and Tom Bandy was the club's sole presence in this competition finshing a very succesful 18th position. All in all it was a great day on a well designed course and a good start to a new academic year's racing.
Triscombe DH Trip (23 Oct)
So it was wet. Very wet. I think the weather conspired to hatch a plot against us. Each time we started pushing up the fireroad or waiting for the uplift it seemed to give us another heavy rain shower. As we packed up to leave the carpark the clouds parted and presented us with a glorious autumn evening. Bah!
Regardless, a good time was had. The trails ran very differently to last time we were there in a dry and dusty May, offering up a multitude of wet roots to catch out the unwary. The uplifters enjoyed a nice warm Landrover between runs, while the pusher-uppers kept warm between runs by... pushing up. The consensus amongst those of us who pushed was that while the uplift was great, it was no means a neccessity. The riding carried on until limbs were injured, brake pads worn out and the uplift stopped.
We look forward to making a return trip soon, especially in light of Duncan's (the uplift guy) offer of free hot soup at lunchtime.
SUMBC Welcome BBQ
Hello and thank you to everyone who came to the SUMBC Welcome BBQ. The weather was was stunning and so turn out was excellent to both the BBQ and the preceeding ride.
As always the club got through a monumental ammount of food. A total of 60 burgers and about 40 sausages were consumed. Thats a whopping 15 lbs of beef plus what ever the hell was in those sausages. The atomosphere was fairly sedate with the exception of Patrick's rather esoteric mp3 collection. Sadly by about 7 30pm even the most hardy mountain bikers were too cold to sit outside any longer, which brought the evening to it's natural conclusion.
All thats left to do is work out what do with the 50 slices of plastic cheese left uneaten. Suggestions welcome....
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