One of the great certainties of life, along with birth, death and some dodgy hairstyle choices along the way, is that The Stinger will be the hardest, muddiest and hopefully most fun events of the year. I reckon we could hold it in mid-Summer, in drought conditions and race day would still deliver mud up to our knicky-knacky-noos.
The Stinger is a tough event to organise, with lots of head scratching, incomprehensible doodling, and looking at each other in marital bafflement, but it's fun on the day and a total mystery to us about why it isn't MASSIVE! To be honest, using the word 'painful' on the event blurb may not be the wisest move, but at least it's honest.
Yet again, The Stinger 2017 proved to be all about the bike, and while there were some strong whippet-like running performances on the first 5km (Phil Dawber and Jack Forrest who has yet to do his GCSEs both breaking 21 minutes), the four laps of the bike loop took those slender leads, chewed them up and spat them out. There's no point coming in from the first 5km with a 30 second advantage over your rivals when you lose 5 minutes per lap on the bike. Fastest bike lap of the day was a blistering 15 minutes something by local rider Dexter Hurlock of team Kibosh, whose team tag-line is 'You ain't pro, bro' which I love and fully endorse. The next fastest was 90 seconds slower (by 14 year old Oli Allen of our own Pilgrim Flyers) so the rest were already losing at least 8 minutes over the bike leg. You've got to be Mobot Farah to make that sort of gap up, and no-one likes Quorn that much.
But that was at the sharp and pointy end of the race, populated by those with little body fat, lungs the size of a skip and a the resting heart rate of a hibernating polar bear. The rest of The Stinger heroes were battling their personal demons and the slip'n'slide descents rather than concerning themselves with executing a slick transition. Honourable mention goes to Shane Kerswill, who completed the full distance in a heroic 3 hours and 48 minutes, by which time most of you were showered and in the pub. Shane had his family waiting for him at the finish line (and waiting, and waiting...) and I bet that was the toughest carvery he ever earned.
Overall solo winner was Doug Hall, who was kind enough to tell us "As someone who's had the pleasure of racing off road multi sport pretty much everywhere, The Stinger 2017 was brilliant. Completely mental, but brilliant." That's the kind of vibe we were looking for, and at the same time keeping local trail shoe shops and bike mechanics in business.
Full results from 2017 can be downloaded here and follow the next link to all the event photos, courtesy of Tommy T from Complete Cycle Works. Next up for us is Round One of the Soggy Bottom Series, where we get to unveil some more of the new tracks we've made in Newnham Park. It's finally time for Brickin' It to meet the public!