Monday, 18 June 2012

A day at the races

It's probably not the kind of races you were thinking of.  The Boy spent Friday an Saturday at Innerleithen pracitising for the IXS World Cup.  That means downhill mountain biking.  We had torrential rain both days so The Boy phoned on Saturday to suggest that I might want to try and buy myself a pair of wellies for coming to watch him in Sunday's race.  I managed to find these ones, specially chosen for their extra wide legs, so that I could tuck my trousers into them:

On Sunday we got up early and drove to Innerleithen.  The normal car park was closed and competitors were being directed to a field down the road.  This is what the car like after driving 200 metres across the field to park:

There were more practice runs in the morning so The Boy prepared his bike and got kitted up ready for the practice.  I got my shiny, clean, new wellies on ready to go and watch.  The Boy, ready to go:

I teamed up with his friend's girlfriend, and the beasts - Z'ed, Odin and Sura to go in search of a place to watch the boys practicing.
Short dog hair was definitely the best option as the mud didn't stick to it in quite same way as it did to the long hair.  I didn't envy their owner the job of cleaning them afterwards.  We took a walk past the other car park and headed up the hill.  Eventually the path was blocked with coloured tape, a sure sign we'd reached part of the race track, so we stopped to watch for a while.  Just next to where we stopped was a stream that had to be crossed by the racers, with a very muddy, slippery looking bank at the other side.  A few poor riders came acropper there, one poor soul landing upside down in the water, still attached to his bike.  Eventually, we moved further up the hill to a spot next to a corner and a steep drop-off.  I think we managed to miss the boys while we were changing our viewing position. When we were sure we'd missed them, we headed down towards the finishing line and ploughed through the ankle deep mud at the entrance to the field.  We found the boys jet-washing their bikes.  I noticed The Boy had a graze on his cheek.  It turned out he'd misjudged the jump at the end of the track, just before the finish line and this happened:

 I missed it, of course, but a lovely Swedish lady who was photographing the Swedish downhill team caught it.  Apparently the handlebars hit him in the face at some point during this tumble. Here's the cleaned up version of the wound:

 Yes, that is his face after cleaning it.  Somehow he seems to have avoided a full-on black eye.  He had a puncture to repair before the actual race so he busied himself with that and checked his bike over before the main event:

My wellies were faring slightly better than The Boy's clothes at this point, but only just:

While we waited for the main event to start, the dogs got bored.  That's when Odin managed to roll in one of the plentiful cow pats and got unmentionable stuff all over that lovely long hair.  Z'ed decided to walk through the cow pats then jump up on me.  Thank goodness for waterproof trousers and baby wipes.

We ploughed through the ankle deep mud again to find a decent vantage point to watch the boys racing.  A marshall suggested a good place to watch it from and gave us directions to get there.  Unfortunately he neglected to mention that the route involved negotiating a very steep hill that seemed to go on forever.  Tiny Z'ed was extremely enthusiastic and did his best to haul me up the hill.  It was still hard work though.  I thought my face was going to explode with the effort.  Eventually we got there, just in time to see The Boy fly past.  I hadn't quite got to grips with how to set 'Action Mode' on my camera so that I could just press the button and the shutter would keep on taking photos.  So this is my feeble attempt at catching him in action:

Yes, his shoulder and elbow were all I caught before he disappeared out of view, down the hill.  At least they were in focus.   I played with my camera a bit more, got no shots that were worth the effort and went back to the finish line to find the boys again.  We 'walked' back down the Gold Run.  Anyone who has been to Innerleithen will know what that is.  It's a very steep, narrow trail with lots of roots and bumps and was a challenge for someone as clumsy as me, especially with a very enthusiastic Z'ed on the end of his leash bounding down in front of me. We all made it in one piece and, eventually, found the boys.  My washing machine is going to be hard at work trying to clean all the clothes.  Look at the state my wellies and I were in by the end of the day:

Now I'm off to take advantage of the sunshine and get the clothes hung out to dry.


  1. Seems you manage to get wet whatever the pursuit Maggie although I suspect you're not as mucky after diving! Looked like great fun!

  2. Yes, Pat, diving is usually much cleaner.