Our arrival had been preceded by rain, and lots of it. The entry routes into the Mountain Mayhem Arena were already gooey. To get anywhere near our trade stand it was a case of straight-lining the van for as long as possible. As for getting out again… we would worry about that later. The Mayhem circuit in the grounds of Eastnor Castle has a well deserved reputation for getting claggy when wet and this looked like being a classic year.
We were here with the simple task of launching our UK made frame bags. After years of fooling around with strapping Airlok Xtras onto bikes and making prototypes for the likes of John Ross, Paul Errington and James Cracknell it was time to lay down our offering to the bikepacking community. To intice people through the mud to our stand Jim and Anna had made a transparent frame bag out of a shower curtain and filled it with jelly beans and flying saucers. The saucers were pretty much inedible to anyone over 7 years of age, but that wasn't the point, they were just padding out the beans. This was our competition to win a frame bag, you just had to guess how many jelly beans were there. The prize was a frame bag, but a good few people would have happily taken the sweets!
During the race we were handing out clean beach towels to any rider who would show us a defined mud line, check out the pictures and tag yourself in our Facebook gallery. No rain on Saturday was a mixed blessing for the riders as the mud got increasingly clingy and the riders started to roll in slightly less plastered. This was never going to last though and the forecast rain eventually arrived around 8, freeing up the mud, and set in for the night.
Well done to all those heroes who made it through the night and continued riding up to midday. As race commentator Vin Cox said in the pre race briefing, this year was never going to be about shaving off the minutes or seconds, it was just going to be about getting each other through it.