Polaris mountain bike endurence challenge, words to strike terror in many a
leisure cyclists heart, two days of tough terrain and poor weather (it’s in
North Yorkshire in the height of summer!) pedeling for miles peering at a map
hunting down tiny checkpoint markers and trying not to break any of the rules…
So once again a few muniers joined in, and showed the two wheelers a thing or
two, by not coming last.
Andy Castlin, Paul and myself were the only uni teams this summer, Vern and
Lynda were on their tandem so they still only had one wheel each. It looks like
all the uni teams got the same points 150 but we did it rather differently.
Paul and I had the same start time and agreed to ride together despite officaly
being two teams (its quite OK, that doesn’t break any rule), Andy set off later
and rode alone.
Andy had a storming first day getting 110 by lots of road riding, while we got
muddy on the forest and farm tracks gathering 80. When the days results went up
in the evening, Paul and Andy were well above some of their class( senior men)
simply because neither had broken any rules ( disqualification) or got back late
( massive time penalties if you take more than 7 hours) I was 25th in my class,
but there were only 32 ladies teams so it’s not as good as it sounds.
Day two saw Andy get lost ( old map) and lose a lot of time thrashing around in
the forest, he retuned to base after collecting 40, meanwhile Paul and I got our
act together and dashed off 70 when our origanial route plan for the day had
only had 50 points on it with an option to get 10 more if we made good time, and
we made superb time.Paul even found time to enjoy overtaking two wheelers up
hills. As my target for the weekend had been to improve on our score last year
of 90 points I was very pleased with our performance. The final results will not
be out for a week or so… I’ll let you know how we all did in the final
Bit for gear freaks
My muni was quite the packhorse with two bottle cages and a saddlebag stapped
to it’s frame. then I also had a bum bag so I could carry the minimum kit,
toolkit, food, emergency rations, first aid kit, spare inner tube, pump,
surival blanket, compass, whistle, map, water proof , and 1.3 litres of water.
Paul had only one bottle cage and a bum bag with bottle pockets for the same
gear and slightly more water. All competitors have to carry that lot, however
many wheels thay have. We both wore cycle shorts and coolmax T’s with
lightweight Hi tec boots, and thorlo socks, musto sailing gloves and I wear
volley ball knee pads. All competitors have to wear cycle helmets. Our water
proof jkts are Tog 24 smocks which are not breathable but are very light, we
also each had a windproof pertex top. The unis were pashley munis with a few
modifications, I have an air saddle, Paul a Viscount. Paul has a nice yellow
mavic rim, I’m still on the steel Pashley one and neither of us have the
origional trye, I’ve got a Continental X-Country one. Paul has alloy flared
cranks, we both have DX pedels, and Profile bottle Kages.