Carnage Corner - reminisce your student daze
Unless you had your head under a rock last weekyou probably came across this video.
There is plenty of our blue and yellow kit bouncing around in that vid but if you fancy a bit more of a read about the Bath Univeristy/road.cc teams weekend then here you go:
The student Mountain Bike champs weekend is always a big date in our calendar, and an event that many of you reading this may have entered – please post some tales of events gone by if you like. The 2011 Mountain Bike Champs was no exception; with 25 members of the Bath Uni cycling club travelling to Moelfre, mid-Wales, for a weekend of racing, and after last year’s podium domination the pressure was most definitely on.
Traditionally for mountain bikers BUCS involves camping in early March in a muddy, student-infested field somewhere near a mountain. To avoid the cold, wet, mud and dubstep we booked ourselves some plush accommodation in a giant farmhouse, complete with hot tub and Aga. If you are going to go medal chasing then you’d better do it properly right?
BUCS Mountain Bike is the only remaining MTB event where downhillers and cross country racers get to race at the same venue on the same weekend. This legendary combination means not only do these two very different disciplines within our club get to enjoy the same event but we also get to heckle each other; something we take almost as seriously as the racing.
Saturday was race day for the downhillers. The start list of 380 racers plummeting down at 30 second intervals with only the fastest 200 qualified for a second race run. Six of the nine Bath downhillers qualified for this final run - the real business end of the event. With a substantially changed line up from our downhill gold rush last year it was up to BUCS veteran, Tom Evans, to lead the way. A personal best finish in 14th place was pretty darn respectable given the quality and size of the field. It looked like we might have a shot at a team medal for the fastest three riders until several crashes and a DNF dashed our hopes of retaining the title again against the rocks quite literally.
Sunday brought the XC race and with it 380 hungover Downhillers, armed with megaphones and waterbombs. Tradition has it that these guys alleviate their hangovers by screaming at the lycra-clad sufferfest. The BUCS course is always super hilly because the DH is held at the same venue. This year was no exception, with the course climbing several miles up a fire- followed by a steep and dangerous descent straight down from the top. Part way down a series of slippery and off camber turns are now infamously named “Carnage Corner” thanks that this piece of Vimeo dynamite.
The XC event has two races “Sport” and “Champs”. The Sport event, for the not-so-serious riders, started in the morning with three laps of the course for the men. Most, if not all, had to push up at least a part of the climb; the ride down though was definitely the highlight. In the sport race, our top three riders managed to achieve fast enough times to earn Bronze in the team event although there were no individual medals on this occasion.
The highly anticipated and hotly contested Champs race started in the afternoon. The Bath team was at least as strong as last year’s so we were looking for a big medal-haul, both individually and as a team. For the past few years it has been a battle between Bath, Leeds and Loughborough for the team medals, and this year was no different. Our top seed and World Cup racer John Whittington opened an early lead and posted the fastest lap of the weekend straight from the gun. Unfortunately this was short lived as the world’s lightest man from Leeds put in some serious hurt on the climb second time round. Carnage Corner was still firing, making spectating exciting and also blowing the race to pieces as you never knew who would be in a pile of blood and mud next time you came down.
Chairman Trevor Allen (that’s me) rode a solid race to take 14th, pretty good for a flatlander. The ride of the day though went to second year Liam Glen who, in spite of a helmet splitting (literally) crash, worked his way up the field from around 60th place off the grid to a very impressive Bronze medal podium finish. Just a minute or so earlier John had crossed the line to take silver, losing his dog-fight with the Leeds whippet. A job well done, with two Bath jerseys on the individual podium.
Celebrating two podium finishes, it was inevitable that Bath would also take the Team Gold. True to form we edged Leeds into second place by just over three minutes; pretty close considering over four hours combined racing time. That’s the second year on the trot and proof beyond all doubt of the quality of the cycling club.
Looking like a few more road races are on the cards in the not too distant future so watch this space