After our last race both myself and Nick where still on a high and eager to find another event that would get us more time on the eMTB. After searching I quickly found the Wiggle Purbeck Hill-a-Saurus MTB at Corfe Castle Dorset on the 12th November 2016. We decided we would take on the Epic (25 miles ) course over the standard (20 mile) course. The Epic course was rated a 4/5 for difficulty and was a nice 1,725ft (526m) of hill climbing action, just the kind of thing we love on the eMTB.
The start was at the Norden Park and Ride. It was a staggered event and riders had been departing for over an hour. We are told be the officials that in order to do the Epic route we should have left already. Nick and I just look at each other smile and set off knowing our HAiBiKE XDURO’s will look after us. Our bike choices for the day are a HAiBiKE AllMtn RC and my race prepped HAiBiKE Nduro RX (more on the race prep another time).
A quick road section I sit on the bum of Mr Lycra trying hard to keep up. The mix of hundreds of bikes and rain had made the 1st stretch of single track closely resembling some form of biblical disaster, the mud at least 3” deep and soft and slippery.
Nick and I are on top form, power is kept in tour and the Bosch CX drives traction control is working overtime as we attempt to do everything we can to stay rubber side down. We pass rider after rider at full speed often resorting to some dubious lines.
I slow down on a climb to chat to a rider who is curious about my bike and what made me purchase an eMTB. He is very surprised by some of my answers and admits that he thought they were controlled by a throttle, normally I stop and let people try them because I love seeing the huge grin they come back with but today is more about going fast and having fun!
The 1st couple of descents are ridden flat out with little regard for the dismal conditions. Nick however is missing his dropper post (a Magura Veyron wireless dropper) and keeps stopping to adjust the saddle height. The fog had settled in giving a max of 30 meters visibility in some areas, the rain hadn’t let up and the mud was just as bad. We keep on pedalling and at long last we get our first views of the white cliffs of the Jurassic coast. These don’t last long and soon we pull into the feed station and pick up a plentiful supply of flapjack and jellybeans.
Our bikes attract a small crowd all asking questions “How heavy is it?”, “How do you ride it?”, “What’s the battery life like?” we tell them to jump on and give it a go then sit back and listen to them all saying “wow”, “that’s amazing” and “I want one” seeing the ear to ear grins on them all helps warm us a little but its soon time to jump back on. The rain still hasn’t eased, the mud is still muddy but the fog is lifting a little as we head back inland!
We pass a golf course and turn in to a fantastic ribbon of single track with gorse bushes either side doing their best to turn our legs in to human pin cushions. The flow is amazing and again we often take the hard line so we can pass the slower riders. At one particular left turn everyone is following the gully on the outside as to avoid the rock field on the inside a quick thought of ‘what would Richi Rude do?’ and I’m blasting over the rocks and just catch a comment of what a f-ing nutter!
Feeling like I can take on the world I keep pedalling and ride on the ragged edge until I get caught in a long line of slower riders. Back on to fire road I slow down, up the power to sport and allow the Bosch motor to take some of the strain off my legs so I can recover.
The last 5-ish miles are a mix of fire road and tarmac road where the average speed was over the motor’s 15.5mph cut-off so it was back to purely human power where Nick had the upper edge on me and pulled away.
As I pull back in and pass the timing station Nick is stood showing off his bike and his time of 2hrs 4 minutes 51 seconds I join him in 2nd place at 2hrs 6 minutes and 52 seconds, immediately I’m asked about my bike. We stand in the rain and let a few people try them, again all coming back with the huge grin these bikes induce.
A quick protein bar and we head back to the car to wash the bikes down and change out of our sodden riding kit. As we ride we discuss the day and decide that we would definitely would not have wanted to do it on a “normal bike” however we had enjoyed ourselves and in a strange way the bad weather had made it all the more fun!