This Sunday saw Bracken Rocks, Derbyshire host the penultimate round of the British National Cup with sections set by the Tyke Trial Club and helpers on Saturday in lovely sunny conditions, albeit a bit cooler under the tree canopy.
6 sections were set out for 3 laps of this very rocky, wooded hill side venue, one that tests not only the riders stamina and fitness but that of the parents and spectators who follow the riders around!
Competition day saw the weather change from Saturdays sunshine to that of overcast cloud which for the riders who have experienced Bracken Rocks in the wet was a little concerning to say the least!. It was nice to see George Eyre briefly before the start when he bobbed in to say Hello.
Section 1 was a very compact section with great use of the jumble of rocks that lay just at the entrance to the wood and caused a fair lot of trouble for the majority of riders except for the primary classes where their route was a little more gentle than the others.
Section 2 just a short way up into the wood for what was another tough test of balance and agility to pick the way through the tricky rocks and tree roots that lay in the riders path! this section proved to be the most difficult for all routes bar the Expert Route and was a great example of how the use of the boundary tape makes the sections so much easier to observe and find your way through and as commented on, great to spectate too.
Section 3 was a good stride out into the middle of the wood and gave a welcome stop off for those not wanting to ascend to the the top of the wood straight away. This section traversed the hillside so it was a little easier on the arms compared to its neighbours 4,5 and 6 but was still a tricky test for all routes as it meandered around the rocks and roots taking its fair share of maximums on Elite and Expert on the first lap and causing more problems to the Novice senior route to that of the “Younger” Novice counterparts.
Section 4 was found further up the fallen tree and ant infested hillside and was predominately downhill but had some gnarley gaps to negotiate as well as the very soft twig laden carpet that the riders had to contend with whilst picking their way to the welcome site of the ends cards which were just beyond the tricky stand alone rock that most routes had to contend with.
Section 5 was at the upper most part of the wood, where at times during the afternoon became very dark when the clouds were threatening to let go completely instead of just damping. This one started off with a technical little climb before picking its way through a series of appropriately sized rocks according to route severity, apart from the primary route which had a definite downhill test to it, whilst to end their section the Intermediates had a potentially hazardous roll off a steep 6 foot rock which was ridden well by all. The Elites had the opposite, a 7 foot incline up a rock which saw many run out of time here!
Section 6, last but not least, set well out to the left hand side this section provided the riders to capture a bit of daylight at times when the light was at a minimum under the trees, but other than that it provided another tricky test for all with only 2 riders out of of the 35 who started managing cleans on all three laps!.
It was a great entertaining day and enjoyed by all. The sections were tough but catered for all as the results show and it was by far the toughest physically judging by the comments and grimacing that was going on whilst the riders were fending off arm pump.
Thank you to everyone who took part and to all who observed and assisted in section setting as well as section clearing up. Thank you.
See you all on the 8th October at Shipley Glen.