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Thetford Winter Series 2013-14

evo3benevo3ben Posts: 552
edited February 2014 in XC and Enduro
Thought i may as well get this started being as we are 1 race in already :D

How did everyone get on in the first race? I thought there was a little more singletrack than usual. I know thats a good thing as we all love sweeping single track but i thought it did reduce chances of overtaking meaning you needed to take risks at times to get past. Couldnt believe how dry it was!

Next round is going to be a different kettle of fish me thinks. Never raced at Santon Downham but i have heard its fairly over grown and needs alot of trimming plus a motorbike event the weekend before could make for a muddy race.
A few bomb holes on this one also which should make things a little more interesting.

Posts

  • I enjoyed it. First time at the winter series, and it was a good day out. 2hour for me, the course was fast and flowing, as you say very dry. Almost too dry, it was crumbling and breaking up in spots! Main thing I picked up from the race was not being late to the start line! It was a BIG field to try and carve through, especially with all the singletrack.

    Can't wait for round 2. A boggy sufferfest I should think! And colder, the way things are looking.
  • evo3benevo3ben Posts: 552
    If you are not gridded for the race then best to get there 20-30 min early or as long as you can bare the cold lol to get a good position. If you are fast enough then get as far front as pos. I think its important for riders to be honest with themselves as to where they should be at the start in relation to the place they finish. If you finish top 50 then you need to be in top 50 at start if posible. If you finish mid pack then start mid pack. People who start to far up front and cant keep the pace cause problems for the riders behind especially on the single track.
    Glad you enjoyed it as it was your first time there. Is a great series and helps keeps the enthusiasm up over winter. As you say, the next one looks like its going to be below zero.
  • gronygrony Posts: 75
    evo3ben wrote:
    If you are not gridded for the race then best to get there 20-30 min early or as long as you can bare the cold lol to get a good position. If you are fast enough then get as far front as pos. I think its important for riders to be honest with themselves as to where they should be at the start in relation to the place they finish. If you finish top 50 then you need to be in top 50 at start if posible. If you finish mid pack then start mid pack. People who start to far up front and cant keep the pace cause problems for the riders behind especially on the single track.
    Glad you enjoyed it as it was your first time there. Is a great series and helps keeps the enthusiasm up over winter. As you say, the next one looks like its going to be below zero.

    Good post, some people really need to take note of your advice.
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    I started late missed the start by 2 -3 minutes so my 24th postion in the 4 hour was not too bad. Also I rode a 1992 Scott with 1992 kit man that was hard work.

    For round 2 anyone seen the course after the enduro has ripped up the forest this weekend. Kind of curious what it will be like, muddy or rideable, geared or single speed.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • FabiusFabius Posts: 56
    evo3ben wrote:
    I think its important for riders to be honest with themselves as to where they should be at the start in relation to the place they finish. If you finish top 50 then you need to be in top 50 at start if posible. If you finish mid pack then start mid pack. People who start to far up front and cant keep the pace cause problems for the riders behind especially on the single track.

    I agree, having started too far back in the first round and overtaken a few dozen riders to finish in the 70s (2hr Male), I started only a few rows back from the gridded guys in the second race and still finished in the 70s. I was courteous (as far as possible) in allowing people to overtake when i could tell that I was holding them up and being that far up front definitely led me out at a faster pace, which I paid for in the closing few miles and probably stopped me taking on the fourth lap that I was eligible for. I made very few overtakes this round, on a faster course, which also had an impact mentally.

    Next round I will be getting to the grid nice and early but picking myself a spot in a position where I feel like I am going to be able to hold it up against more evenly matched riders. But considering these are my first racing experiences, it is an entirely new thing not only to learn how to pace myself for two hours in a field of hundreds but to learn how to start properly with another 300 riders. I think given that it gets started largely without incident is testament to the generally good attitude of the competitors.

    Also, it is worth pointing out that there are faster (more race savvy?) riders who appear to have no real courtesy for those less able and who do take silly risks on singletrack but also pass way too close on the fire road sections. I was twice nearly taken out on 6' wide sections by guys just steaming passed a finger width beside me.

    Looking forward to round 3, quite glad that it isn't until the end of January!
  • It was certainly a tough course! You weren't the only one tiring on the last lap Fabius. It was full of rollers, lumps and bumps and there hardly seemed to be a minute where you could settle into the saddle for a breather. It was a great course though, and a good day. Managed to get a finish in the 20's for 2 hour solo so hoping to be gridded at round 3.
  • pashdapashda Posts: 99
    Round 2 was my first go at MTB racing. Have to say I was very impressed with the attitude of all the riders I encountered. Most of them were passing me as they lapped me and without fail let me know they were coming and if it was single track they asked me to let them pass when I was comfortable doing so. I started near the back and finished near the back of the 2hr race and agree with the tips above regarding start position. No point me being near the front and getting in the way, it just spoils it for the fast riders but also for me as I hate getting in the way and the pressure to get a shift on is not always welcome. I will certainly be back for the January race and hopefully will finish a few places higher next time. Cheers to the fast guys for your understanding and politeness and sorry I didnt reply much I could barely breathe on the 3rd lap !!
  • stylishstylish Posts: 168
    Only just seen the thread, round 1 for me was a disaster, good start and going well, sitting just outside the top 20 in vets and going as well as I have all year, then a crash involving a low branch and the floor left me dazed and in a world of hurt! So I was looking forward to round 2 as Santon Downham has been good to me I've the years, it's so much fun when it's fast and flowing I couldn't wait, then censored me illness has forced me to stop riding for the foreseeable future. I did come ove from a look and give help to my team mates, but it's not the same, I walked the last part of the lap, and it looked to be riding well, quite rippled if I'm honest but not too bad.
  • evo3benevo3ben Posts: 552
    Well, not as bad as first thought lol. Cold it was but not sub zero and not as muddy as i thought it would be after the motorcycle event. The Thetford guys really do put on a great course no matter the conditions!
    I have to admit, im glad to see the back of that one though. The rollercoaster up and down bits (woops i think they are called) were a mere. Stand up, sit down, high tension, i didnt know what was best. I do know that it cained my lower back though and i was on a full susser.
    Course overall was quick especially with the amount of fire road and wide tracks which plays in my favour. I finished in the 20's (2hr 18-39) so mega chuffed but weather i get gridded or not i dont know. Only a couple of years off 40 so all the new youngsters make it propper hard, thats my excuse lol. Points form last round plus points from this rounds might just put me out of top 30 for gridding, we will see.
    I only got cut up once going from fire road to single track and as he dived in front of me he clipped my front wheel with his rear wheel. Luckily i held firm and made me giggle whem he wobbled all over the shot just keeping on the track. In general though, everyone was nice and polite.

    One thing that does grip my sh*t is the people that push in at the start :x As i have mentioned above, i get to the start early to get a good position but still people turn up late and push infront. Yes i do say something but always falls on deaf ears. Thetford has always suffered from this problem and i do think thats its about time they have someone stand there to keep an eye on it. Not as bad as it use to be though.

    Looking forward to R3 which is usually the coldest of the 4 rounds 8)

    Stylish, sorry to hear that mate :( I hope you get well soon :wink:
  • WindyGWindyG Posts: 1,099
    Well done Ben, good result getting in the 20's
  • That was a great weekend, and I had a really nice race as well. Got the fastest two laps of the event, although I did drop off a bit at the end, there were a few minutes left at then end but I just couldn't face a 5th lap! I found the course less enjoyable than the last round though, it wasn't that there were any bad sections, just that there wasn't anything especially memorable.

    What I will say about the start line though is that anyone who turns up really early to get a good place and stands in the cold isn't being savvy or getting an advantage, they're just getting cold legs! At youth training sessions we were always taught to stay on the rollers or cycling around for as long as possible, only getting to the start line or holding pen at the last possible moment. This inevitably does mean that if you are one of the faster guys, you may have to either get to the front on the start line, or once the race has started, but that is a lot better than risking a muscle or tendon injury through ridiculously cold legs.
  • pilchpilch Posts: 1,136
    At youth training sessions we were always taught to stay on the rollers or cycling around for as long as possible, only getting to the start line or holding pen at the last possible moment.

    ^^Very much this, becomes even more of an issue as you get older! My 1st race out of the series and I had to take a gamble, qued up longer than I wanted to, but with 137 riders in the vets and not being gridded I didn't want to start right at the back. I think I set off around the 60 mark, one of the few races i've done where I could have covered the first few yards faster walking.

    Wasn't a big fan of the course, nothing against the organisation, just found it a bit of a drag... the start was frustrating, round a dog leg then funnelled between a big puddle meant you couldn't really nail it as there was so much traffic, ended up going off piste & hoping for the best.
    A berm? were you expecting one?

    29er race

    29er bouncer
  • At youth training sessions we were always taught
    ...... Thinks ... inter regionals...... leg warmers....... and the concept of Paddy listening to what he is taught :shock:
  • evo3benevo3ben Posts: 552
    Well done Paddy great lap times there! Do you guys set off before the main 2hr & 4hr racers?

    I do agree about the leg warming process with regards to warm up and leaving it as long as posible to get to start so legs stay warm which is exactly what i do for MSG. But, MSG im gridded so can leave it till the last minute, Thetford im not gridded (yet anyway) so i feel its more benefitial to be at the start early for good position. I still do a warm up and always ensure i have warm up balm on my legs which keeps them nice and warm. If you start too far back in the pack, the lead group will get away with out doubt thus meaning i will need to work harder than they are to catch them up and thats during and after overtaking numerous amounts of people. Then you get to the single track and get held up even more and the lead groups get even further away. It gets to a point where if you are not faster than the lead groups, you will not catch them simple as that. Burning too many matches at the start to catch up will make for very hard work nearer the end of the race and wouldnt be able to stay with them anyway even if i did catch them.
    So, impo, at Thetford, position in a field 300 strong, position is key if you are not gridded to get a decent finish. I have put this to the test before and started near the back. Got great satisfaction from overtaking so many people but lap times were pants and overall position 20 above normal.
  • Agree with Ben on that one. When the mass start includes the two largest categories, getting to the start line nice and warm a couple of minutes before set off is off no benefit when your snagged behind the best part of 300 riders. Within 5 minutes of the race start, a cold rider on the front will be warmed up, and still miles ahead of the back of the pack. It's not ideal I know, and if your gridded then there's no need to rush to the start which is even better. But I don't believe anyone could cut through that size field and still seriously challenge the front runners.
  • tom3tom3 Posts: 287
    sorry to bump the thread but i will be dipping my toes in and doing my first mtb race in the february event of this series.

    just a few numpty questions on how things work e.g with the timelaps system i take it you carry some kind of transponder with you that attaches somewhere?

    If i enter the 2 hour event does the timer automatically stop after 2 hours meaning if you are half way through the next lap, that lap is not counted?

    Being a roadie the only MTB i have is a mint Fuel 90 that is getting on for 10 years old. Is this bike suitable for my first go?

    thanks all
  • ...... Thinks ... inter regionals...... leg warmers....... and the concept of Paddy listening to what he is taught :shock:

    Oi! I always listen. I even remember your lecture about chains in that gazebo at the bottom of the hill at Hadleigh!

    tom3-
    There's a timing chip on number board whenever timelaps are doing the timing (any Theford, Gorrick, Mud Sweat and Gears, and most BC national races).
    In the two hour races you only stop once you've passed the line and the timer's past 2 hours. So if you come back from your third lap at 1:59:59, you can still go out for your 4th lap and it will count.
    Your bike should be fine. You see people on all sorts of machines at Thetford, there shouldn't really be anything out on the course that'll be too hard for any bike really.
  • Bless......thats my boy, and I remember that stunning ride you put in at the end of the Inter Regionals also at Hadleigh and I'm saying nowt about why you didin't actually win the thing depsite putting in what for me was one of the best rides I've ever seen. ;-)
  • That race was one of the hardest I've ever done! It's a shame I couldn't make top 5, my rear wheel slipped out on the last sprint so Dan could block me. I'm pretty sure I was actually in better form at the last national round, it got quite hard to summon up the motivation to train hard right at the end of the season.

    The eastern region's progressing steadily in every category, we should be beating the goddamn Scots by 2015!
  • .....and theres always cheating if push comes to shove ;-)
  • Round 3 tomorrow, and I'm expecting a wet one! Can anybody who is local give an update on conditions? I've never ridden Thetford in the wet, but would imagine it can get quite churned up. How would you expect it to be tomorrow?

    Good luck folks, see you there!
  • WindyGWindyG Posts: 1,099
    Weather report is rain from 10am onwards, not looking good. The Brandon side isn't too bad very sandy so drains well ,some places will get muddy but not real deep draggy stuff.
  • Well...Just ridden the course, about 50/50 really. some muddy parts around the bcp area, most of the well used parts are pretty good.
    But... the most almighty rain shower as i left and rain expected overnight should change that !..
    400+ riders tomorrow should clear some of the puddles and pack it down a bit though.

    Windy G.., it`s not quite as bad as last sunday but could be by tomorrow !! :lol:
  • WindyGWindyG Posts: 1,099
    jimbo33x wrote:
    Well...Just ridden the course, about 50/50 really. some muddy parts around the bcp area, most of the well used parts are pretty good.
    But... the most almighty rain shower as i left and rain expected overnight should change that !..
    400+ riders tomorrow should clear some of the puddles and pack it down a bit though.

    Windy G.., it`s not quite as bad as last sunday but could be by tomorrow !! :lol:

    5x3?
    I was going to ride SD and pop over to BCP to watch for while but I'm going to do a road ride early.
  • FabiusFabius Posts: 56
    There were two pro photographers on the course on Sunday, Sussex photos was one, does anyone know who the other guy was?
  • stylishstylish Posts: 168
    My dad was in the entry to the last bit of singletrack before the finish, he didn't take many pictures this time though.

    He was feeling it after being I'll for a week so packed up early.
  • FabiusFabius Posts: 56
    That is where I saw the second guy camped out, so if he has any decent ones of number 12 I'd be keen to take a look.
  • Fabius wrote:
    There were two pro photographers on the course on Sunday, Sussex photos was one, does anyone know who the other guy was?

    I was looking at thetford mtb's page on FB earlier, there was a guy in the comment section posted a link to a load of his photos from Sunday
  • Anybody local with an update on conditions down there? I imagine it's still soggy, even if the rains eased off! Can we expect similar conditions to round 3?
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