In the event organisation history of Fully Sussed, we can recall four events that had weather as bad as we witnessed at the first Soggy of 2017. One was at Woodbury Common- we had one hand on the keyboard / microphone, one hand holding down the EZ-up and a load of gun toting teenagers tramping about the place. One was in the Forest of Dean, where we also had a DoE expedition walk throught the course, but at least it kept the wild boar away, and the final one was a Welsh XC in Margam Park, where we had four days of rain, a river of water running under our tent and straight up the leg of my trousers. All these events had something else in common - hundreds of people turned up in a crazy example of shared hardship.
We're not really business people. We like riding our bikes, and enjoy designing MTB courses that make us smile, and we think are just the right level of fun. The course for Soggy One was dry as a bone, right up to Saturday, and we'd been obsessively raking, clearing and digging to make it as good as we could, which is hysterical when you look at the trench that remains there now. We despaired when we saw the weather forecast, did the usual 'I'm sure it'll change', 'they never get it right' and the classic 'Newnham is a little micro climate, it'll be fine', and oh boy, were we wrong.
But there is no accounting for the sheer British stiff upper lippedness. Anyone can ride in the summer, moaning about all the heat and the dust, but it takes a real British mountain bike warrior to go out and race in weather that you wouldn't put a milk bottle out in. Once you can feel your feet and fingers again, your kit and bike are clean, and you've applied special ointment to all the chafing, you can reflect on a real Bear Grylls effort, and look forward to changing every bearing and brake pad on your bike. I've read so many times about the inherent need in us all to express our inner caveman, the quest for adventure and excitement is the subject of endless blogs, and from the heroics at the weekend it would appear that this spirit is strong in the South West.
With us stepping away from British Cycling for 2017, there remained this notion that people would be put off racing by the lack of BC ranking points. What we'd forgotten is that BC points aren't Air Miles or Reward Card Points, you can't cash them in at the end of the season for some TUE drugs or free bullying, they are an antiquated system of rankings that have little relevance to the majority of MTBers who race their bikes for shits and giggles with hairy legs and baggy shorts. So the numbers were large, the mass start looked like New Years Day at the Primark sale, and even though we had to plough the toilets at the end of the day, good fun seemed to be had by all...
...with the possible exception of Kevin Yim! Kevin unfortunately fell foul to the final descent, and while we don't know the exact details of how he did it, it seems he fell down the bank before the 'A' line, and this was the result. It's not the big stuff that gets us, it's the little things that sneak up on you when you're thinking about something else. Get well soon, Kev, I hope you like turbo training.
Have a look at Snapper Chick's photos for evidence of just how filthy a day this was. We'll look back on this in July and laugh, right kids?
It'll be all change for Soggy Two. We've caused enough damage to that part of Newnham Park, so we'll head off to a whole new course, and some more new sections. If the rain carries on we'll introduce a kayak category.
Thanks to Certini Bicycle Company for supplying our e-mountain bike. I reckon we'll be seeing that again this year.