Day 1 of the ABR is done and I am sitting here in the bar licking some wounds. The day started out fantastically with gorgeous sun which all us Europeans revelled in (the Irish lads were riding in shorts and t shirts much to the astonishment of our mates freshly over from SA who looked like they were about to depart on a polar expedition. Everyone gathered at the start, we saw Jay and Captain looking very prepared (that was the last time we saw them today - great race guys!). 10am arrived and we all set off. Hundreds of riders all bunched up led on a very slow tour of Cordoba.
Cordoba is beautiful, especially the old town which I unfortunately got a very close look at the tarmac in the first 5km of the ride today. Touched wheels with another rider, big crash, some medics pulled Banksy and I over and insisted on fixing me up before we could continue. Whilst I argued the point at first I am very glad I listened as they patched me up well enough to finish the day in relative comfort.
While I was being fixed up the entire field rode away and Banksy and I had our own personal police escort whilst we rode through town solo to try and latch on the back. We caught up with the other riders about a third of the way up the first big hill and we were back in the chase. That first off road climb was pretty narrow and technical and as we were at the back of the pack we spent a lot of time walking with the back markers as they navigated the route up to the top. There must have been 100+ riders in a long snake line all following each other up the track pushing bikes. I wasn't complaining. It gave me time to lick my wounds.
At the top of the climb the field opened up and then we had a great ride. The tracks were pretty awesome. Some great single track that was quiet fast as well as some pretty steep and hairy stuff. My busted knee was a great excuse for Banksy and I to walk down a couple of those! About half way round we were feeling good and we picked up the pace on a nice long rolling section and caught up with the boys we had set off with in the morning. Banksy found himself surrounded by Saffas as we joined the semi pro team of Garth Allardyce and Dave Wright and our good buddies and also clients of Jay - Michael Robertson and Darrell Peel.
We stuck with the guys then pretty much through until the end and all finished within spitting distance of each other. Not before some awesome downhill tracks though. Great single track through forests, a rocky road of doom which I flew down feeling a little over confident just before being tipped over an almost vertical wall of death which I took one look at and decided discretion was the better part of valour and had a little walk. An easy roll down into the finish after that.
Back at Race HQ the medics re-patched me up and we joined Garth and Dave for a few isotonic beers. All ready to do it all again tomorrow. Although, I may work a little harder on keeping the rubber side down this time!
Stats and pics to follow.