As a mainly fair weather rider (I’m nesh and much prefer the turbo in the shed when the weather is miserable) and having only taken part in summer 24 hour MTB events, I’m not sure why I really wanted to compete in the Kielder Chiller 24 race. Must have signed up in a moment of weakness.
We arrived on the Friday to set up under beautiful blue skies, knowing that the forecast over the weekend was predicting rain, sleet, snow, winds and freezing temperatures. It didn’t disappoint.
Over the years, when I’ve ridden with Budge, he’s given me a lot of advice and, although a husband offering advice to his wife can be annoying, the funny thing was that during my laps I could hear Budge’s words in my head and some of them actually helped. Although not on the tight right turns on the technical switchback climb! Just couldn’t master these.
During one of my laps I came across a chap stood next to his bike and I asked if he was okay. He was so we started chatting about the scenery, course etc and then all of a sudden I could hear Budge saying “What are you doing chatting? You’re in a race!” “Er, sorry I’ve got to go” I said and then rode off much to the bemusement of my fellow rider. Although it wasn’t at a great speed.
On my last lap I had a block of ice stuck in my pedal which I couldn’t shift until I got to the Kemp/Wilson Marshall tent, where they had just boiled the kettle! A spot of hot water did the trick and I managed the last climb before my favourite bit, the flowing descent back to the pits.
All my laps were reasonable uneventful. I did have a couple of falls and will have some lovely bruises to show off around the pool when on holiday next week.
All in all, the Kielder Chiller 24 is a fab event, well organised, friendly, with epic winter weather. There was lot of climbing, but it’s not too technical, however I did have to walk a couple of bits especially through the rock garden. I will be back next year after practicing my right hand corners!
A big thank you to my pairs partner Jo Stevens, this was her introduction to a 24 hour MTB racing and she was brilliant and certainly lived up to her nickname Smileyjoface, even when she came back covered in snow.
And we came 2nd place in the female pairs, 7th pair out of 14 overall. Happy with that!