Tough going in the forest

Nothing – not even hours of rain – could dampen the enthusiasm of riders at the Marin Dusk 'til Dawn 12 hour night mountain bike race.

Rain, mud, determination and perseverance were the big factors in play. Rain falling was bad enough, rain ceasing proved almost worse.

After hours of downpours competitors found they could splash through sloppy mud, but when the rain stopped and the course started to dry, mud stuck to bikes like glue. Running, hauling a bike with a substantial bit of the landscape attached, became the order of the day.

Misfortunes hit almost every team at some stage – the trick was to realise that your rivals were probably just as badly off. The Wymondham-based Salsa Factory Team (Phil Buick/Nick Owen/ James Dalton/ Christian Achute) took 90 minutes for one lap after punctures and pump failure – compared to a best of 46 minutes – but still recovered to win the race for teams of four.

Salsa also had the fastest female team, Anna and Imogen Buick, Sara Flatt and Faith Addison, while Thetford MTB (Danny and Helen Coote, Mike Jones and Michael Mallett) were second among the mixed teams.

Fastest of all was the best team of three – the Fenboy Slackers, namely Paul, Shane and James Ashby, the only team to fit in 12 laps of the 10.3 miles circuit based at High Lodge in Thetford Forest. Second among the trios were Extreme Sports Therapy/CCN's Andrew Manning, Jason Smith and David Elliman.

Local riders who were highly placed among the 138 who set out to ride the 12 hours solo included sixth placed Stuart Goodwin (VC Norwich), Richard Dunnett (Diss & District, 12th) and Dean Pointer (Cycle Aid, 17th).

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A blaze of fireworks celebrated the start of this the 10th edition of the D2D. Around 1,000 riders took part, enjoying the hospitality of the magnificent Forestry Commission barn at High Lodge.

Full results can be seen at

• The Norwich Amateur Bicycle Club 10 and 25 mile time trials in the Waveney Valley neatly missed the rain. The Saturday afternoon 10 was won by Gary Empson (API/Metrow) in 20:41, just seven seconds ahead of Liam Gentry (VC Baracchi).

Next morning riders found, somewhat to their surprise, what third placed Guy Stevens (East Anglian CC) described as a 'half-reasonable morning' There was a strong crosswind, but winner Gary Rushmore (King's Lynn CC, 56:14) was only nine seconds off Gentry's course record. Jon Surtees (VC St Raphael) was second in 57:16 and Norwich rider Stevens third in 58:45.

With the help of tri-athlete Kevin Graves (1:00:18), riding a standard road bike, and John Howling (1:2:48) Rushmore led the King's Lynn CC to the team win, while North Norfolk Wheeler Brian Platts (1:3:37) was best veteran on standard.

• Junior Hugo Robinson (XRT/Elmy Cycles) led the senior race at the third round of the Eastern Cyclo-Cross League at Baldock from start to finish. Behind, Andy Waterman (Dulwich Paragon) and Shaun Aldous (Extreme Sports Therapy) emerged from a chasing group to take the next two places. Norwich under-12 competitor Zak Coleman (Great Yarmouth CC) maintained his good start to the season with third place in his race, in which Matthew Baker (City Of Norwich) was fifth.

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