Grizedale Mountain Bike Challenge 2009

As ‘training rides’ go, they don’t get much more beautiful, thrilling, punishing than the Grizedale Mountain Bike Challenge. Three hours of belting your way round fast but testing fire track and singletrack in a gorgeous and pretty quiet part of the Lake District on a gloriously sunny September Sunday is one of the nicer ways of getting my body and mind ready for next week’s Three Peaks Cyclocross.

Training for next week is going roughly to plan (said as if I actually had a plan) and I’ve so far avoided illness and injury after a pretty rubbish start to the year. What tends to be lacking in my training as a ‘family man’ is a good hard ‘race conditions’ test of the body.

Two years ago I rode the Grizedale challenge when I didn’t own a mountain bike – on a borrowed bike, but this year, with a bit of my ‘own’ mountain biking under my belt, I was looking forward to it even more. As an event, with c. 600 riders, it’s very special, and the fast, fire track start gave me a great buzz. As the event wore on, I settled into what I thought was between 15th and 20th position, and was amazed to find out I finished in 9th place out of 545 starters. It’s really hard to keep tabs on where you are.

[image title=”gmbc” size=”small” id=”1381″ align=”right” linkto=”viewer” ]The gorgeous, rigid-forked 29er, ahem – ‘rig’ – did me proud and never missed a beat. Not quite the same could be said for my body though – the first-lap pace that I thought was comfortable ended up being a bit too fast, and the tougher parts of the climbs second time round the 17 mile circuit caught me out and my thighs started to really stutter. Still – like I say – it’s training, and good to find out this week that things are pretty much okay and where they have been for the last couple of years in terms of performance.

Full Results here (XLS)

View on Garmin Connect here

View in Google Earth here