MONDAY, MAY 31

Set2Rise

Meet Jo
The first thing we feel we must say about Set2Rise is this. If you want to ride the best course in a nice friendly atmosphere then you MUST put this in your calendar for next year.

The course is fantastic and in the dry, all of the quality singletrack would be termed as "sick" by my more astute riding friends. Swooping bends on sharp climbs, sweeping berms, small log jumps, roll-ins, bombholes. The race itself was soaking wet and muddy, but the course was still really good, even on summer tyres.

Oops. Logistics? FAIL. Not really, I had taken to heart a blog entry by Jenn Hopkins (top lass,rider and endurance scary lady) where she extolled the virtues of sticking to the same tyres all season. If I remember correctly she had mentioned laziness as a factor. I'll go for that one, I think. My own fault.

A marvellous course and vibe; Drop-off Cafe's mini catering unit serving the best homemade burgers on the planet; the coffee van (who's name I forget, but the coffee is top notch); a shop and pa system supplied by one of my personal sponsors: Bertie Mafoons Bike Shop and a load of people out for a good time. What more could you ask for?

Well, good weather would have been nice but this was a May Bank Holiday so it rained it's socks off and we raced through the night on mud. This is where I was a bad boy.

Ahem.

I couldn't decide if I was going to be safe on the tyre set-up I have chosen for "The Hobbits' Tale" Guinness World Record(tm) ride, so I "persuaded" Jo to go out first on her slightly chunkier summer tyres to see if I would be ok. She says I made her do it, but I refute that as I thought she was happy doing it. Honest!

She did the first two laps in fine style, but on the end of the first lap she told me to change to my spare bike with it's crossmark tyres, or I'd die. Crikey. I was stood with old friend Rich Todd from Ergon and he laughed when he saw the state of Jo and linked that to the fact that I had "sent" her out first.

"She volunteered, Rich." I lied. It was only a little lie as Jo rises to a challenge and she is always at her best when things stack up against her a bit.

At this point it started to rain hard and a lady asked if we minded if she stayed under our Syncros e-z up. Of course this wasn't a problem, and we continued our chat about how I was a git for sending Jo out first, and "look at how muddy she is!"

Someone mentioned the pairs race, and the girl's ear pricked up. "Are you racing pairs? What's your name? We are doing pairs too. It's my first time and I'm a bit nervous."

Rich and I said that she shouldn't be nervous and should just enjoy the course and the atmosphere if she could...

...as Jo comes by, telling me to change to my other tyres or I'd die.

"So what's your name?" She asked again.

"I'm Dave and this is Richard."

"Dave Buchanan?"

"Yes that's me and we are racing pairs, too. Jo and I."

"I recognised your name! You're really fast aren't you?"

Rich laughed his arse off. He knows me really well and could see I was slightly taken aback by this comment.

Ant White, Ian Leitch, Ian Payne, Rich Rothwell and Matt Page would have had a friendly pile up on me if they had heard that. Their laughter would have resonated up and down the valley!! They know me, too.

"No I'm not quick, I just dig in hard when the ride gets long and tough. I'm pig headed but not a quick rider."

We managed to steer the conversation away from that one, and chatted about the state of everyone else coming past on the start finish straight.

This was also the first outing for my new Syncros Kit as designed by McFall Studio and manufactured by Luma Probody Gears

Eventually my turn came to ride, and I was dreading it. The first two laps went reasonably well as I only slipped off the bike twice, caching my man jewels on the back of the saddle. One of those times "winded" me quite badly, but I was a brave little soldier and fought on. I hope I get to keep the swelling.

After our first couple of laps each we were in third and about 10mins behind first. This gap had seemed to grow for some reason but Jo was riding well and I was going reasonably well too, given the fact that we have both been on inhalers for the past week due to a stupid chest infection or cold or something. The doctor had given them to us so that we could train without the bronchospasm that had affected us for the past few weeks. We had a full lung between us but it didn't seem to slow us down too much.

But at this point I got uncharacteristically competitive, and Rich found it really funny. I decided that it would be best for us to go onto single laps as my 1st lap times were a couple of minutes quicker than my second one. Jo's were rock steady and evenly paced.

I left Jo at the transition saying that single laps was how I wanted to play it and that Rich would tell her why I had made the "executive decision." Later feedback suggested that she wasn't too happy about this as she had done one lap more than me. It didn't really matter though as my first single was far quicker than intended and Jo wasn't ready when I got there, so I had to do another anyway.

In between rides we had been handing out Infinit Nutrition discount cards. People seemed to be genuinely interested in the bespoke nature of liquid nutrition- for everybody. It's a superb concept and works a treat for me, so I hope you can give it a go and get the same success as I have. Just use the code "24ormore" and you will get a £5 discount

When it was time for me to do my last laps or thereabouts, Jo had said she was tired and I would have to do 2. She had looked all pro to me and I didn't know she was tired.

Dammit. I was trying to look all calm, collected, professional and recovered. But my legs were screaming as I had been riding in oxygen debt for the whole time (as had Jo, obviously).

"I'll do 2 laps." I said as I filled with what must have been adrenaline.

"You don't have time." Jo said.

"I'll do 2." I can be a beligerant sod if I want to be, sometimes.

I did my lap and intended to come back in an change quickly before going out for the final so that I could finish very close to the cut off time and be in cleaner clothes.

"You don't have to go out again," Jo told me. "The others are finished because they can't catch us before the cut-off as we are a lap up."

We always struggle with this bit. Do we go out and trust to hope that the timing system is right and that the riders have actually stopped?

"I'll go out anyway." But Jo was having none of it as she was keen for me to stop so that I had all of my energy for Bristol 12hr solo the next week. She was, of course, right but I'm still worried about my ability to ride for 12hours at the moment. Let's give it a go though.

The podium was nice place to be except that I nearly fell off as I got on it. I had to grab Jo and the chap on the third step for security. Thanks for the hand up, as always. Doesn't Jo look good in my Infinit T-shirt?
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