Sleepless in the Saddle 2011

Sleepless in the Saddle is probably our favourite Mountain Bike event of the year. Of course we do the big sister event- Mountain Mayhem but Sleepless, although smaller, has a much more laid back, relaxed vibe, which we really like.

We arrived on the Friday to get our stand set up, once done we quickly chilled back with the crowds and looked forward to a great weekend. We were not racing personally this year but the race team that we co-sponsor Columbia Bikefood were there with a serious line up intent on giving the factory teams a run for their money.

Note Sarah in full laid back sandals on kind of stance

After a mixture of sunshine and showers the preperation was done and the bikes and riders get ready for the off

Bikes lined up, ready to go

Our race team had a bit of an ermmm irregularity on lap one as was leading the field by 6 minutes!! It seemed that a part of the course was missed and a suitable 6min “penalty” was agreed. The weather was changeable with the dry course being dampened down by the showers and a steady line was appearing on the track, before long it was heading for dusk and lights were being prepared including this impressive specimen

How many lumens??

I made the mistake of asking him if they worked – let’s just say they do and I will have to put up with the burnt out retinas and suntan that  resulted from that ill thought out question…

Darkness begins to fall and the atmosphere changes, a rhythm of eating, sleeping and change overs takes place and the temperature drops dramatically.

Overnight our race team was drifting between 2nd and 3rd in Enthusiast Men and were actually lapping faster than the factory teams, a few mechanical problems made things errr interesting but the guys did a fabulous job of double lapping while bikes were being repaired and a spare 29er wheel sourced – thanks to Chipps from Singletrack who kindly lent the team a wheel.

Big Feet

Whilst all the excitement of the race was going on we ran a busy stand, with probably our most successful event so far, could have been our lucky feet?

I've got happy feet!!

Dude! Our bags are now black

Cool new black colour for our bags - very smart

We changed the colour of our bike bags from the familiar army green to chic black – there were two reasons for this;

1. We had purchased all of the army green material in the country, so there was no stock available

2. We fancied a change

Pleased to say that since we changed to black sales have increased further, should have thought of that before!

Back to the racing

Anyway, back to the racing, after really heavy overnight rain dawn broke and it was really cold, the temperature change between night and day this time of year is quite extreme. After a few hot cups of freshly brewed coffee and a few early rays of sunshine the day got going and the lead teams were pretty static regarding positions, as you would expect with nearly twenty hours of racing. There were a few people wandering around with freshly bandaged limbs so the usual overnight casualties had ridden and fallen, something to boast about when they get back to work on Monday.

Sunday morning was pretty showery so the track conditions were changeable and a lot of people were beginning to look a bit muddy, but nothing like some of the previous years mudfest. As the countdown to the finish drew closer more people were starting to mill about in freshly changed clothes, having finished their stint adding to the laid back feel as  people relaxed and began to reflect upon their heroic night laps.

As the final minutes began to countdown, previous veterans were careful not to start a final lap and made good use of the Singletrack “lurkers” tent for cake and beer  (a fine idea) whilst racers pushed on to get one last vital lap in.

With the racing over our race team (Columbia Bikefood)  came in third in Enthusiast Men category having covered an amazing 34 laps (272 miles) in 24 hours – a fantastic result, well done guys.

At that point the heavens opened and a couple of million gallons of water fell in about 20 minutes – nothing can clear an event faster!

Will we be back next year? Oh yes…

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