The mass start was a convoy based run out to the the first off road climb, which ramped us steeplyup Fastheugh Hill from Bowhill, this was on a gravel track until half way down the descent where it turned into a lumpy grass track, I was clinging onto the brakes (thankfully better at temperature than those on my road bike) down a grass bank with others flying all over the place around me, rather amusing seeing someone fly past you before decking it spectacularly.
The route then returned to nice solid tracks before meeting the road and then turning off towards the Broadmeadows Youth Hostel and a feed stop. After the hostel the track turned to path, which turned to slippy steep path and a walk (for me and others around me) before turning to a bog, although the bog was crossed by some boardwalk with step downs I wasn't for riding them, there was little riding from this point on until the top of the climb which was all on soft grass, this however opened out to a narrow track in the heather, very soft but was rideable before hitting one of the main paths up the Three Brethen, this would probably have been mostly rideable if my legs hadn't been shot, oh yes they were hurting, I was even struggling with them on the first road section (maybe I should have warmed them up a bit... or maybe not.
|Approaching the Three Brethen summit||A bit of a crowd at the summit|
I took a big rest at the summit before setting off on the descent, this was a rough narrow descent, maybe a bit much for a knackered person on a hardtail, and then it plunged onto a tricky soft rooty rutted descent, just the sort of terrain I hate! I tried to keep my speed up but it wasn't happening, I just can't get it right in the ruts and I was bouncing from side to side and couldn't keep my vision forwards.
Thankfully this relented and spat me out onto a forest track where I could get some speed up again with amazing views into the valley before plunging back into a twisty muddy rooty forest again.
I can remember loads of little tricky bits and the order they happened in but not in the grand scale unfortuantely, so all I really know is there was a good mix of single track with tech and fast fire/estate roads!
Eventually I hit the 2nd Feed stop, there was cake, much needed cake and it was good, but I couldn't take a 2nd bit, there wasn't time!
The route turned onto the road and then onto a private road climbing up towards the split, when I got there the marshall was too busy directing someone with a red stripe on his number board to notice I had turned off for the 45km so came running after me to mark my board with a blue dot.
Shortly after this it went back to being a grassy climb up, I looked around me and saw everyone above and below pushing!
The 3 cairns at the summit were in sight for a long time before finally seeing it dead ahead though.
At last the summit was reached and yet again people were taking it easy, number boards showing the different route optionsa (except for 28km I guess they had all finished).
Once again though it was a tough bumpy descent, switching from gravel based tracks to soft grassy muddy sections to a wee tricky bit in the woods and even a ford with a photographer lying in wait, unfortunately I took the wrong line on the way in and was "too knackered" to drop into the right line, so I didn't hit it as fast as I could have.
However the metalled road arrived and then the public road, and then the rugby ground and the finish.
|Number boards, MTB MArathon with the blue dot of Shame...|
GPS Track: http://ridewithgps.com/trips/656913
4hrs 41min 9sec
Total time just short of 6 hours
Official Time: 5:51:17
|Hitting the ford on the final descent, Photo by Right Place Right Time|