Today was a Racers Guild day so the plan was for an xc ride in the morning followed by helping with the timed runs in the afternoon. Ian, Bruce and myself met at Birches and after the normal pre ride faffing (Ian had to remove the stale air from his tyres and replace with fresh!) we headed off to explore.
We started on FtD and then left the crowds and headed off across the road. I was leading (which guaranteed plenty of climbs) and Bruce and Ian for the most part followed (apart from when they didn't like my choice of direction!). The ride was mechanical free (except collecting bracken) and our longest stop was to try and work out how to take a picture of ourselves using a camera timer. We had promised the Racers Guild crew we wouldn't be late so soon headed for a quick lunch and up to Stile Cop.
The Racers Guild for anyone who doesn't know was set up by Aaron Neumann about 18 months ago and run monthly grass roots DH timed practice days. Its very chilled, you turn up, get a start time and see how fast you can ride and if you can beat your mates. The best CT rivalry is between Stu and Dale whose times are always close. Alex being grumpy after he has a bad run is also entertaining (especially in the rain)!
Aaron and The Racers Guild events have done a great deal to rejuvenate interest in both riding and trail building at Stile Cop and have created a great atmosphere on the hill. Unfortunately Aaron couldn't make it this month due to illness so the rest of us had to step up and make sure everything ran smoothly. I was on the start ramp handing out start times and ensuring riders were ready at their allotted time. Bruce was initially the starter (when he paid attention) and then went to do Aaron's normal job of timing at the finish. Ian was on first aid duty (administering Jelly Babies) and watching all the action!
Towards the end of the day the wind picked up and given our usual lack of foresight Harry and myself had to use ourselves to anchor the gazebo while trying to keep our feet on the ground.
The day went really well showing we can survive without Aaron although it wasn't quite the same without him...