18th September 2011 at Langdon Hills, Corringham, Essex.
Blondie's on my right side. Next to her is Renee, the flame haired siren with knee length hockey socks who FBC
says looks like a bit of a dirty strumpet. (By the way where is FBC - ahh yes still filing down his seat post). Blondie does triathlons with her Iron Man husband, Renee Renee looks like she's into raving and thigh wrestling. Both are hardcore and super confident. Both have beaten me before. I need Fi Fi by my side.
The whistle goes. One rider is on the phone. She's obviously not taking the race seriously. Blondie is off at a super pace followed by Renee. I trail behind. The first sweeping hill approaches. Welcome to Langdon Hills
. The clue is in the name. This is my kinda race.
We climb up together. Im on their heels. Overtaken red and buzzing on the back wheel of blondie. On the flat they race off but the pace slackens on a steep ascent. The heart is pumping hard and we've been riding for no more than a few minutes. We've done four climbs proper before the first drop off descent. Its a good steep one with roots and trees in the way.
There's a lovely fast bit of single track through the woods. But the girls in front are a little slow. Something is wrong with Blondie's chain. Red seizes the opportunity to widen the gap. I try to follow but the sprint is just too fast for me. I don't have sumo thighs.
But hills are your friend and I have many friends on this journey. Blondie's back and the three of us play chase through the woods. I'm loving it although I'm wheezing like a horse. There's one heart attack inducing climb through the trees. A guy infront loses all speed altogether, comes to a halt and simply falls over sideways. So far I've passed four men pushing their bikes up hills. I'm incredulous....this is a race fellas.
The first lap is over and I'm beating Blondie by millie seconds. Woo Hoo Yee Ha. Renee Renee is a short distance ahead. We're on the second and final lap. Its all for the taking...if you have it in you. Im not sure that I do. Im panting like a hunted animal running for its life. I remember the bastard hills in front of me and I talk to myself to give myself some encouragement.
Why aren't my rivals getting tired? There's been no let up since we started. We're doing it all again and at one point I too want to join the push your bike league. Blondie pushes ahead of me and I start to lose her along the single track. She's good. What a girl! Im going the fastest I have ever been down a single track. Im concentrating so hard to catch up with Blondie that I don't notice the turn in the track at the end. I hit the breaks but I don't have time to stop myself from crashing through the barrier tape. I nearly hit a marshall who's arms are flailing. By the time, I turn round, get myself sorted and proffer apolgies to the trembling victim, the girls have gone leaving a dusty goodbye in their wake. The forth girl who was trailing me whizzes past. I'm so dejected. I struggle to start again climbing up yet another hill.
It takes me a few minutes to get back into my stride. Minutes that I don;t have. I pass one man on a G4 orange who had taken the piss out of me earlier. He's not so bullish now. Up and up and down and down. One final climb and then I'm on the home straight. I ask the guy next to me to race with me to make me go faster. He says he can't so I try to race myself.
Brilliant fastish sprint to the end. I'm elated. I see the girls at the finishing line. We hug. Blondie and Renee Renee are my new best friends. They tell me that I'm fast. Not as fast as them though!
There's a bit of silver medal rubbing at the end as Herr Von Backsey and I both come second in our respective races. Renne and Blondie were in the younger category after all. Martin also takes home a lovely glass tanker for coming second in the series itself. Sterling stuff.
We sing along to Rage against the Machine on the way home. Now for Dusk 2 Dawn.