Many folk will be puzzling about the title. About half way round it, I was certainly puzzling why I had entered it. Just up the hill from Abernethy in Pitmedden forest a mountain bike event had been organised by Aaron (a village local) and very appropriately he had titled it “Muckmedden”.
I am probably being biased but in my opinion the forest is one of the best unmarked biking areas anywhere. Therefore having a race on my doorstep and getting to run my favourite trails was certainly an event not to be missed and so I signed up and bought the T-shirt. We all know what the weather was like through most of April, (wet) and therefore by the time of the race it was a fairly muddy cycle.
I’d signed up to be a “mental” mucker which involved doing 2 complete circuits of the course ("mad" muckers only had to do it once). The start was a little crazy with everyone heading off at the same time down the forest track but within the first couple of kilometres it was clear who were the serious riders and who drank too often in the Crees. To add to my slow start I had a “technical” and jammed my chain through over eagerness to be in the right gear for the first serious climb. So I had the pleasure of stopping and watching the few folk I had beaten to the climb pedal by while I fixed things. This did have the advantage that I could now play catch up with folk and gradually I did.
A lot of the non-locals on the hill that day had never been biking on surfaces that are not all maintained perfectly, meaning they were struggling on the climbs. That being said, due to the wetness, climbs I had happily got up a few weeks before I was struggling on and as a consequence I walked quite a few sections.
The route through the forest was brilliant and took in a large part of the area of Pitmedden taking us round all the different areas. Aaron and his team had put in a few entertaining drops and these were a great test of ability and a few times mine was clearly lacking.
Three hours and a few minutes after I had set off I completed my second lap and I was well and truly exhausted but had a grin underneath a thick coat of mud. In the end I was almost an hour off the winning time but that didn't matter.
Also going on in the forest that day were a series of other events including a kids’ race. Brilliant to watch local kids showing their impressive skills and doing stuff the adults chickened out of. It was the local kids who deserve the mention for taking on such a tough event, so well done to Callum and Euan Reid, Claire and Andrew McGhie, Alexander Kinnear, Tommy Adams, Craig Simmers and James Mair (if I missed anyone - sorry.)
Most of all, a big thanks to Aaron and his team who put together such a brilliant, fun and professionally run event.