Merida Brass Monkeys Round 1 Race Report – 18/12/16 – Deepcut

These days anyone who’s anyone races cyclocross over the winter. But not me. Never one to follow fashion, I still want to race my mountain bike in the off season. Not quite willing to take on Strathpuffer (or for that matter the new kid on the block that is the Keilder Chiller) I’ve opted to go down south for the Merida Brass Monkey Series. For one, the weather promises to be a little more forgiving and second, while it’s a tad less epic than taking on a 24 hour race, you still get a decent amount of ride time if you opt for the 4 hour category.

With the original Round 1 cancelled due to the army needing the ground on which the track was located, the new Round 1 was on the 18th December at Deepcut. There isn’t really much in the way of proper hills down south but, that said, they manage to put together a pretty cool course through the woods in which this round is held. Think smooth and fast with enough roots to keep the mind focused and more banked corners than you can shake a stick at. Then there’s the fact that it’s adjacent to a firing range. It’s sort of like hot wheels on a mountain bike with some sort of war going on in the background.

The other thing about racing MTB down south is how big the scene is. There were 300 odd riders at this event with plenty of categories to choose from and a decent number in each field. Oh, and some of the guys and gals entering have a fair old turn of speed. It’s fair to say it ain’t no walk in the park. I had my start strategy worked out and had been working on putting in a hard effort from the off. I managed to contain my disappointment when I saw the majority of the field disappear off into the distance when the gun went. Obviously my starts still need a little bit of work.

Anyway, long story short after 3 hours 25ish I crossed the line and, realising I wasn’t going to be able to complete another lap in the allotted time, I had to settle for 12th place in vets. Not a result that’s going to set the world alight I’ll give you but close enough to a top 10 to give me something to aim for in the next round.

Roll on 8th January for Round 2!