I love Hit the North. Of all the events I take part in it is without doubt the one I look forward to most….
This is down to a combination of factors. It is organised by mates of mine who go out of their way to make sure the event is fun. It is just down the road for me so no stressful final week planning and packing for a road-trip. The course is awesome and has a bit of everything, plus it is on my commute route so I know it like the back of my hand. And, most importantly, it attracts a huge number of entries and is a great opportunity to catch-up with people that I rarely get chance to meet.
And this year’s race definitely didn’t disappoint. The course was the best yet. Tough unrideable sections including the aptly name Field of Despair, some lovely fast, swoopy, jumpy bits and some challenging technical sections. Even the weather was fantastic with a lovely spring feel.
My memories of the race were killing myself up the start hill to try and get to the singletrack quickly to avoid getting caught in any first lap traffic. The adrenaline kicking in and attacking the red jumpy sections like someone 30 years younger and coming close to stacking the bike a few times. A great tussle with a number of guys including an Aussie chap that lasted for four laps before he suffered from chain-suck. Loads of spectators (including a big Team JMC contingent) cheering everyone on no matter where you were in the race.
I had a great time, so much so that I was gutted I couldn’t squeeze in one more lap at the end. Dead chuffed however with my 27th place, a big improvement on 65th in 2012.
At the end I was approached by the Aussie guy whose back wheel I had been on for most of the race and his first comment was that he was impressed and somewhat amazed that numerous spectators around the course knew his nickname and this really inspired him to push himself even harder. “How did they know my nickname was Budge?” he said. Who would have thunk it? Two Budges and the Team JMC support crew were inspiring my competition!
All in all it was a great day for me and also for the other Team JMC riders involved.
Dave Powell was 1st in the Seniors class and 4th overall. Phil Simcock was 11th overall and there were great results for Andy Watson, Paul Bowie (1st race on a cyclocross bike), Jacqui Simcock, Mike Sudder, Wayne Farrell and Sally Burgess.
Dave Powell, Phil Simcock and myself also managed to sneak 2nd place in the unofficial team competition as well.
Can’t wait for next year.
Photo credits: Ed Rollason