Blue sky and sunshine was the unexpected weather for the 2010 Altura Whinlatter Challenge. 31 miles around Whinlatter forest with some 1500m of climbing to get the legs burning and my first race for Joyriders! 450 riders lined up at the start with music blasting out of the Altura tent to get the atmosphere going. It worked, as the pace up the first fireroad climb was electric, led by the eventual race winner Rob Jebb. I started mid pack so worked hard on the first climb to get towards the front before hitting the first singletrack and avoiding the bottlenecks!
And lots of singletrack there was as reward for all the climbing, taking in a lot of the purpose built trails in the forest with everything from off camber roots and rocks to fast and flowy singletrack, linked up by fireroad climbs over 2 laps of the forest. Lap 1 was quick and I got carried away on one of the rocky descents puncturing my front tyre on a sharp rock. It cost me a couple of minutes and 3 places. On lap 2 I started to pay the price for the quick start and the legs began to tighten up but i managed to catch and re-pass 2 of the riders that overtook me. I couldn’t quite catch the 3rd guy, chasing him to the finish and coming in 14th in 2hr44, 15 minutes behind winner Rob Jebb. A result I’m very pleased with and hopefully next time I can avoid a puncture too! It was a good race on an excellent course and a really good job by the organisers. Next race, Colne Valley Mountain Bike Challenge…
By Tom Albutt
Joyriders Race Team 2010