Ultimate USE Dirty Nocka 3/6hr XC Endurance - RR23 Race Report.
Updated: Apr 25
Sunday 27 March 2022, Cannock Chase
Another fine and glorious day at Cannock Chase for the Dirty Nocka event and the RR23 team’s first bash at an endurance event.
All four of the team were racing in the six hour female pairs category on a typical Cannock course – up, down, through the trees, up, down, through the trees, repeat for six hours. While there was nothing overly technical on the course, the cumulative effect of the up, down, through the trees format was telling on both fitness and the ability to concentrate in yet another wiggly section of singletrack with trees all around ready to grab the end of your handlebar.
Mechanically it was also a hard day out, but that’s racing and part of the glorious, if heart-breaking, learning process we all go through. Let’s just say there was some testing of mental resilience which the girls came through with flying colours.
Evie and Harriet Greensill
I was really excited for this event and had been looking forward to it all week as it was my first endurance race. We had our brand new RR23 Gazebo ready for us to warm up in and stay in for the day. Had a great laugh while warming up, although I ended up having to use Aelwen as a leaning post since my rollers had somehow shrunk which I later found was because the back roller had come loose and I hadn’t noticed!
I started first for my pair and set off from near the back so the first half was quite slow but it began to speed up as the lap went on.
My partner Harriet set off quick into the 2nd lap and all the teams were within a few seconds of each other, but we soon found out Harriet had broken her rear derailleur hanger half-way round, so she was having to run the 2nd half of her lap pushing her bike back to me. I did the next 2 laps whilst Harriet’s bike was being fixed, which I found enjoyable and challenging.
The course was long and challenging, but dry and fast. Once Harriet’s bike was fixed, she did the next 2 laps and I then went out again. However, about half-way into this next lap my free hub broke causing me to have to run up all the hills till I got back to the transition area. Luckily, with amazing help from my friends I got it fixed and put in all my effort into a final lap where I felt strong and did my quickest lap of the day.
Even with the mechanicals, overall I had an amazing day and was proud of all the RR23 team - I can’t wait to do it again!
Evie and Harriet took 3rd place in the 6 hours female pairs category.
- If you are wondering about Evie’s pesto habit which we’ve mentioned previously, good old dad made her a tubful of pesto pasta for race day. At 6.30 in the morning. We should get him a badge or something for that level of dad dedication.
Aelwen and Becca
Becca: My first ever endurance race and it was a tough one. A great course and the atmosphere in the arena was high! I started with a slow and steady first lap looking at the course
and moving through people who had blown their trumpets too early. A couple laps later, Aelwen had a mechanical resulting in 2 extra laps for me.
Mentally it was tough tough due to the small amount of people on course, not seeing anyone for 20-30 minutes and just having to motivate yourself to keep going. Ended up doing 6 laps of the 10km course!
Was a super hard day out on the bike, pushed myself to the limit I didn’t realise I had and enjoyed every minute!
Super proud of us for getting 2nd and being prepared for any circumstances.
Aelwen: I was very much looking forward to meeting up with the full team. This was my first endurance race and first team relay. With teammate Becca, we got off to a strong start and I think we were leading after our first lap each. But on my second time out, my gears started skipping and I couldn’t put any power down, so had to nurse my bike back to the pits.
Unfortunately, my bike was not right thereafter in spite of everyone’s best efforts, leaving Becca to ride six laps compared to my one strong and two limping laps.
Bad luck is all part of bicycle racing which you try to learn from.
Bring on the R1 of the Nationals in a few weeks’ time.
- Despite all of that, Aelwen and Becca came 2nd in the 6 hours female pairs category.
Daphne and Harriette Taylor
The Dirty Nocka was my first time doing this type of endurance relay event so Harriett and I wanted to make sure that we got our pacing right.
We managed to get pacing pretty spot on with me doing 6 laps and Harriet doing 4. That led to us winning our category which I was super happy with. I just really enjoyed the day and will definitely hope to try and do some endurance style events in the future. We had one or two mishaps along the way but apart from that we had a pretty smooth race.
All the RR23 girls rode amazingly and showed incredible grit and determination when things didn’t quite go as planned.
Looking at Harriette’s Instagram, @1person2wheels4life, she also had a great day out.
Daphne and Harriette took first in in the 6 hours female pairs category.
- Which neatly meant the entire podium for that category was crammed with the RR23 team. An amazing day out despite the several challenges along the way. Lots of things to ponder about and learn from – it all makes us stronger as we head to the first National XC round very shortly.
All images courtesy of Man Down Media.