MTBMonkey On September - 6 - 2010

Montane Kielder 100 2010 (My race).

5.30 am
On any normal day, standing next to a lycra clad bloke in the men’s toilets while we both applied sun cream and midge repellent might have seemed odd, but not to me and not today because this is the Kielder 100, and we need to be on the start line in 30 minutes. My emergency blanket and whistle is packed I’ve got 2 pocket full’s of high five energy gels ready and waiting. I’m as ready as I’m going to be.

There’s already a queue at the registration area to activate the timing chip, but I’ve managed to get a good place on the start line about 3 rows back.
For the next 30 minutes there’s a continuous queue of people arriving for the final sign on which I later found out amounted to over 550 people. Why are there so many people wanting to put themselves though, what will probably turn out to be the hardest race of the year?

The van makes a quiet exit and we all start to roll, it’s a couple of miles till the van turns off and we start the race proper, I’m well place there’s about 20 people in front of me. I know what’s going to happen next and the hammer goes down at the front, I’ve already decided I’m not going to get drawn into chasing anyone’s wheel, I want to finish this race and not blow at the 50 mark. That said I’m going a bit too quick and I’ll know for sure about it in about 20 miles.

7.00 am
I’m mostly just trying to avoid get slashed by every pine tree at the side of the double track while riding 2 feet of someone’s wheel, but there’s just enough time to notice the spider webs everywhere glinting in the morning dew.
Trouble: I don’t like his line, front wheel just crossed the central track and the back wheels pulling him side ways, it inevitable, he goes down hard and I just miss his back wheel at about 25mph. He looks very unhappy, but I don’t think he’s too badly hurt, I shout the martial who’s just up ahead and carry on.
(Memo to self, don’t lose concentration even on the straight bits)

7.45 am ish
Another casualty, he’s already sitting in the martial’s chair looking sore. A fast rocky fire road decent that nearly caught me out too.
First check point @ 21.5 miles (maybe), quick stop for a drink and a gel, and a back stretch, not sure why but the backs aching, and is happening a bit early on for my liking. I’m going too quick, time to settle into the race, only another 80 miles to go. The early mist has started to clear and its shaping up to be a hot day.

9:00 am
I’ve been riding on my own for a while now, but I’ve been caught by a group of 6, we all stay together for about 15mins until it fragments on a big hill.

10:30 am
First timing check point reached at 4 hrs or about 40 miles (guess), it’s really starting to warm up now. At least the midges have stopped attacking every time I stop.

11:45 am
Finally the half way mark, quick stop to fill the camel back up with High Five 4:1. Should have just taken bottles and filled them up at every feed station. I’m carrying way to much liquid. Another caffeine gel and I’m off again. Actually feeling pretty good, as I hit the next climb. It’s another longish one and the good feelings are soon gone.

The gradient has got a lot steeper and rocker, then I see the north shore which should provide some welcome relief, I’m wrong it’s just as hard and the spacing of the slats is creating a flickering effect which is starting to make my head hurt, I try looking straight ahead but I can still see it. The piper on the border makes a nice change so I know we can’t be too far from Newcastleton and the 65 mile mark.

I’ve barley seen anyone for hours so it’s a welcome relief to be caught by someone, we discus the nasty rocky decent from the north shore section and the risky fire roads, which I clocked at around 40mph. Single track time just before Newcastleton and I decide to let my new riding companion go on without me as I stop to fix my first puncture. I’ve slashed the tyre it looks bad, about 2.5 cm wide but isn’t losing air too fast, I decide to cut a double thick piece of rubber and wedge it into the tubeless tyre, It works and I’ve only lost about half the air, a CO2 canister later and I’m up and running and only lost a few minutes.

Newcastleton, only 35 miles to go, there’s a huge choice of food on offer at the feed station but I decide to stick with the high five + a few jelly beans (shame the tea, soup and cobs sounded good).

A steady climb out of newcastleton leads onto a big downhill single track section, which under normal circumstances I would have really enjoyed, as it seemed to go on forever, however I’m finding it just as hard to go down as up right now.

I’ve hit the valley floor and am trying to keep the average speed above 14mph on a long fire road, its not going well and I keep drifting down on every mild incline and even on the flat bits, also the temperature is really high now, I’m feeling a bit dizzy and starting to think there’s a chance of sunstroke. There a small stream running along the track which I’ve decided I’m going to stick my head in if I get chance, I don’t as it never gets close enough to the track and I don’t fancy falling in and never being found again. The track turns across a bridge and up a steep incline. A little walks in order which I might have ridden on another day.

I’m flying now, at least it feels like it, holding 20+ mph on the slightly down hill sections to the 80 mile mark. A quick top up of water and gels, plus a couple of cup full’s on my head and its off again.

Something’s not right, I’m wobbling all over the place on a fast fire road section, **** I’ve punctured again, it’s another slashed tyre, I didn’t even feel anything, same procedure as before and I’m back on the road in a few minutes.

The 90 mark, only 10 measly miles to go. I’ve really got to put the hammer down now if I’m going to do this is under 10 hrs, I should have been well under but it’s going to be close.

I must have done at least 6 or 7 miles since the 90 mark, but someone has just told me there’s 7 to go, I don’t believe him, what does he know. A few miles later I see the 5 miles to go mark. This is bad I’m not sure I’m going to make it under 10. Then I puncture again, the patch from my second fix has been pulled out, I think the hole is too big. I could put a tube in but it will take a lot longer to fix, I manage to stay calm, use my last Co2 cartridge and I’m rolling again in a few minutes.

The nice lady martial tells me it’s about a mile uphill then downhill all the way. She lied a bit, it was uphill about a mile but there were also uphill’s on the downhill.

I’m holding back on the decent, if I lock the back wheel on my last puncture fix I might rip it out again. If I puncture now its game over. A quick glance at the watch and I realise there’s seconds in it; I decide to take the chance and go for it. I nearly bin it going through one section, but somehow manage to recover from going over the edge of the trail by jabbing my foot on the ground.

I can’t make it, the single track is about to end and I can see the cottages in Kielder village, it’s too far to the castle, and the finish is at least another 2-3 minutes. Game over !

Wait, is that the finish, its not where we started and is only 20 meters away. A final push, followed by rapid breaking I nearly forget that I need to stop to scan my chip, it seems to take me forever, then I hear the reassuring beep and know it’s all over.
Under 10 hrs by 25 seconds, I’m pleased, time for my free beer.

Thanks to all the sponsors for suppling us with nutrition to get us round the 100 miles of pain, special thanks to High Five for the 4:1 and all the energy gels, they made a massive difference, i’ve never tried using only gels and drink before but, a caffiene gel every hr and 4:1 + a standard energy gel seemed to work very well.

Also much needed supplies were provided by 9 bar, Yorkshire tea and the Abernethy biscuits were essential after the race

Categories: Featured

3 Responses so far.

  1. faceplant says:

    Excellent race report you must be well please with the time!

    Shame you couldnt match the lads podium places though !!!!!!!!

    ps only 97 air canisters left

  2. rallysaloon says:

    great effort, and well done. I notice you stole my hairstyle at the end 🙂
    Next year………….maybe.

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