The first iteration of the DoonBank Trofee was held in late 2014, and was one of mud, mud, off-camber, and mud. It holds a place in my mind as Doom Bank, due to how tough the course was. The organizers of the 2016 version had chosen to move the race to a new location in Rozelle Park. I was keen to see how the course would run, given my experience last time out: more mud? more doom?
My pre-race plans got off to a bad start when I realized I had somehow developed a puncture during the journey down from Rutherglen. A frantic tyre change (and a quick loan of a track pump) and I was able to get to the start line with minutes to spare, no time for a course recce!
The view from the back of the pack on the start line.
The start chute was a nice compact trail, which gave me a chance to settle on the bike and look to move up, but within moments we were onto grass and mud and that was the tone set. The course thereafter was mainly mud on the higher sections and mud mud mud on the lower sections, with some pools of slurry on the very bottom. The higher sections were fun to ride: I could feel the bike track and slide and it felt great. The boggier sections were a real slog at the best of times, and a long climb which had to be ran sucked any life you had out your legs: hard going. In between times there were a few flat and downhill sectors for a little bit of respite, before some fiendish run ups and steps to knock the stuffinh out of you.
On the first lap I managed to keel over in one of the aforementioned slurry pools. And later on I fell into the hedges a couple of time, ripping my legs up in the process. About half way through the race, my bottom bracket started to give up the ghost and I had to run the most of the last lap. On the other hand, I managed to finish in a higher lap group, than at Rouken Glen, despite my mechanical issues.
Later that day, as I stood in the shower, washing off a ton of mud, contemplating the bruises, cuts and knackered bike/body, a broad smile spread across my face as I thought: that was bloody ace, roll on the next one!!! With a bit of luck and some hard work (plus a bike that works) I can continue progressing up the charts at the next race.
Fair play to the Ayr Burners for a brilliant race and kudos to David Hamill and David Lines for winning the B&A races respectively. Thanks also to the marshals, spectators and other riders for abuse and encouragement in equal measure. On to Beveridge Park CX in two weeks time.
Weel mounted on his grey mare, Meg,
A better never lifted leg,
Tam skelpit thro’ dub and mire,
Despising wind, and rain, and fire;
Tam o’Shanter : Rabbie Burns