8 riders pitched on a bitterly cold morning with horizontal rain. We decided to keep things streamlined and did not go out separately to put out the start and end boards and mark sheets - we carried them with us and did them when we walked through each section.
The sections were not just wet - they were soaked. The ones in gullies were mudbaths.
We started with 3 sections in the forest. The first was straight up the big rock all the way to the top of the path. This is a section I have never been able to clean (or even do better than a 3), even when we only did one half of it at a time. Well, after a 5 on the first lap, and a 3 on the second, I managed a clean on the third and was thrilled.
Section 2 was at the top of the forest and meandered through some rocks. I cleaned it on the first lap and on the last one, but threed it twice also. The liason to section 3 involved a gnarly downhill that was rutted and rocky and slippery. I nearly lost it there a few times.
Section 3 was an easy, cleanable section, and yet I fived it on the first lap and only cleaned it once subsequently.
Section 4 was a new one, in the gully near the 4x4 campsite. It started with a deeply rutted, muddy and steep descent into the gulley. As the laps progressed the rut got worse, and on lap 3 Brian started a new line to the right of the rut. On lap 4 I decided to try the new line, but my worst fears were realised - my front wheel fell into the old rut and I ended up in a heap at the bottom for a 5 instead of the 1 or 2 I was hoping to get with the new line.
Predictably, the exit from section 4 back onto the road was also steep and slippery, and I lost it there twice. The second time was on my last lap and I had to call for help to get my bike out of the bushes and out of the gully. Thanks for coming to my rescue Sean.
Section 5 was the reverse of a familiar old saw in the gully near the car park. Perfectly cleanable bar one lap when I had to dab. The exit was a tricky turn up a slippery slope (aren't they all?), but with careful power delivery at the right time quite doable.
Section 6 was in the farm implements at the car park, again the reverse of a previous section. On lap one I went the wrong way around a flag for a 5, but thought I was going to clean it when I failed the last obstacle for a 5 anyway.
Section 7 was next to the dam, on the slope. It started with a ditch that I managed to fall into for a 5 on the first lap. Subsequent laps went better but no cleans.
Section 8 started with a jump over a ditch and ended with some awkward logs. The two clubmen managed to skirt the worst of the ditch, but faltered at the log. I got 3 cleans on that section, and fell over the handlebars on the log for a five on one lap.
All in all the trial was a lot of fun and we learned some new skills dealing with no traction, rain and cold.