This is the venue for the upcoming nationals, and we had cleaned some new sections in preparation. On the day the weather started out cold, but the riders and the weather soon warmed up.
Because of the gate between sections 5 and 6, we elected to complete sections 1-5, all 4 laps, then move to the other side of the gate and do 4 laps through 6, 7 and 8.
This worked well, but did mean a late break for lunch after finishing the first set of 4 laps.
An other-worldly section, in a secret dell down by the river. The section was set at national level, and doing it in reverse made it a bit too dangerous for our intermediates, so there was a lot of debating and modifying of the section. Things were not helped when both Brian and Michael did not have an easy time of it.
An old standard with some new twists. This section cost me threes every time, due to the awkward turn on a slope with rocks, down through a narrow gap that I could just imagine ripping off my gear or brake pedals.
On a steep clay bank with some rocks to traverse, and a little sting in the tail. I managed to clean this section on every lap and it was one of the highlights.
Drop down into a river that had muddy steep banks and proved hard to get back out of. Clubmen only had to exit once, and I managed on all laps but one.
Another beautiful section, that I mostly cleaned. It had a turn into a ditch that had me nervous with visions of my front slipping out the way it did when I broke my collarbone.
The section just above the cars in a rock garden. The clubman line was very straightforward but for a turn through some narrow rocks that I underestimated badly on the first lap. On subsequent laps not so bad.
An old standard just above the road. Clubmen go around the rocks that the experts start on, but the multiple little steps and turns ended up taking points if you were not confident and committed.
A new section under the pylon. A daunting start on loose rocks, with a tricky climb back out. On one lap a loose rock caused Michael to go over the bars, and on three of my laps I came close to losing control of the bike. Not my favourite, though I cannnot see why I just could not make it.