The emphasis was all on mud at the second round of the Mud, Sweat and Gears MTB series at Hylands Park, Chelmsford, with riders unrecognisable after half a lap.

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“Hideous slog,” said Norwich veteran Patrick Stokes, although he went on to say, “I enjoyed the last lap” when, the rain having stopped, conditions became stickier.

Young Thetford rider Ian Mockett mostly used his bottle to squirt water on his gears in the hope of keeping them working. Glenn Stanford from Forncett was troubled by mud in the eyes, but was still top Team CCN finisher – fourth in the Masters. A small crud-catcher on his down-tube certainly paid off for young Norwich rider Lewis Grimes – his Iceni Velo racing vest was one of the few still recognisable at the finish.

Generally there was lots of excitement on the streamside sections in this Repton-designed country house park. Water was several inches deep in the grass – harder work and less interesting than the stream-crossing where the water level was over bottom brackets.

The electronic timing had to cope with the weather, but amended results should be on www.timelaps.co.uk. But it is clear that local winners include Phil Buick (Iceni Velo) in the Grand Masters, Nigel Scott in the Masters and Paul Ashby (Fat Birds) in the Veterans – the latter praising his 29-inch wheels as an aid to keeping straight.

Great Yarmouth CC members had an epic visit to the Sportive following the course of the Rutland Classic road (and partly off-road) race.

After 44 wet, hilly miles the majority decided discretion was the better part of valour, but four brave members completed the full 100 miles – salute Larry Colby, Paul Anderson, Mark Drake and Rob Anderson.

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