Trail Blazers, Spring Series, Round 1 Portaferry: Race Report.
With an 8 o clock start we (Karen Finbar, Richard) headed north for our first MTBO race. The Venue was Portaferry which was accessible via Strangford by ferry. The Journey was long and spent discussing our New Team name !! I can’t repeat most of them, but alter boy soldiers and Toxic Fluffy Vampire bunnies would kind of cover the range of crap that we were coming up with. Onwards we went and the roads got narrower the drivers more irritating. As a result we didn’t cross on the ferry until 11:45ish. Registration started at 10:30 so we were pretty nervous that we had missed the event !!
Eventually we got to the sailing club where Paul McAurther was at hand, we raced under the Disguise of “Zombie Easter Bunnys” Yes a name that was apt given that it was Easter Monday and that Karen’s complection . . .Racing as a team of 3 it wasn’t long before we were on the road. We were told that we had to get two controls before crossing on the ferry to Strangford, so for some Bizarre reason this became our primary focus. Luckily for us that worked and onward we went to hit control 5, 1 and then 2. On the way back we decided to asses how we were going to progress to the Boat or where. Karen wisely suggested that we do it by points and so we got to marking the map with the points per control and looked at what we would head for next. It was south of the Peninsula or Strangford. As we raced toward the ferry we saw it was pulling away. As they were sailing every 30 minutes we had time. Heading south we hit 7 at the Pump station in no time and on towards 6. A bike and hike across the beach took us to 6 and it was back up the coast into the strong wind to 8. The wind was relentless and swirling continuously. At 8 Karen kept the public entertained where Finbar and I worked out the Bonus from the co-ordinates we had just got from the control. Up to 15, it was time for mud girl get to a control that was parked somewhere on the top of a muddy lane. Finbar and I got to work and replanned our route to the ferry, readjusting to pick up the Bonus on the way. Karen returned smiling and muddy, we informed her of the plan and off we went.
With much wind we headed to 15 and then for the Bonus. Along the beaches windsurfers were getting maximum height in the wind as Karen diced between the wind and the Cars. Taught we were going to loose her at one stage. We decided to cling to the ditch as it looked the ditch was a much softer landing than a Volvo!! Picking up 19 we made a beeline for the ferry. Where we had 5 minutes again to plan what we would do on the other side. We were in good spirits and things were moving really well. The wind blew us across Strangford lock in what seemed around 3 minutes. We put the heads down with a plan to hit all 3 controls and make it for the return journey. We managed to hit all 3 controls but even a late burst from Finbar couldn’t secure us the Bonus before the ferry left. Things were a little tense as we waited for Finbar to make it back from his burst – Karen was at the ready to do her Susan Boyle in Heathrow faint!! But luck for everyone we were saved the drama J
Back off the boat we were moving well we had to watch our time now as we need to hit as many controls as possible within 4hours. We headed for 17 as we felt there would be an easy cross country hike to 13. We were proved correct and as we beamed at 13. 13 consisted of a hard run to the control, after Karens Mud attack it was to Finbar and myself to do a lap. He took one side i the other. We hit the road as fast as possible to pick up our final control before hitting the finish. The finish consisted of a final zombie shuffle from Finbar who had been chased down by some dodgy police man. We were 13minutes over the time. 2 minutes ahead of what we had scheduled which for us was a fantastic result. Everything worked well for us on the day apart from perhaps we could be a little Bike fitter. (We are only back on the bikes a week). We had a good result, finishing in 8th of a field of 19. We got to see a couple of our friends around the finish, but the cold had us back in the Jeep and off in search of the Worst bag of Chips ever from “Baggys Chippy” !!!! We don’t endorse their products. But it gave us a great laugh to round off a great day !!
Back next week for more !!!!