15th May 2022
Our first Dirty Reiver
A look into Friends of Masons, Tiggy, and Clives Dirty Reiver ride...
The hills were literally relentless, not so much steep on the whole but sooo long and they just kept on coming, we did the 130km and it was over 8000 feet of climb and the descents were brutal too, rattling about on rough tracks, I was pleased with how brave I was on the descents though (not as brave as Clive). Some of the gravel was very rocky and you had to follow a narrow ‘path’ between the rocks and there was a big boulder field which was not much fun, to be honest. I didn’t want to batter my bike so I (we) went carefully through any rough bits, I chose my lines really carefully too, as I love my Bokeh too much!
I was happy to be at the event at all in truth as we thought we might have to cancel as my back went into spasm 3 days before the event and I had been in agony and hadn’t even been on a bike.
I had to ask Clive to stop at least 4x mid-ride to massage my back to relieve the pain and for me to take more ibuprofen.
It was a little intimidating (for me) at the start I confess as I have unlike Clive, not ‘raced’ and I didn’t like the crowds with all the riders packed in and setting off all together behind the car (neutralisation zone) and I was worried someone might bump my bike (though we purposefully started midway back.)
Also initially it was really packed on the trails which I didn’t really enjoy if I’m honest but after a time it all shook out and settled down as we started going past slower riders and lots of faster riders came past us - it all then quietened down which I much preferred!
I wore the wrong kit as it was sunny and far warmer than expected - so I had to strip off my base layer halfway, then forgot to pull my bib straps back up so they were flapping around my waist for the rest of the ride!!! Oh dear, what a state!!!
The hills were literally relentless, not so much steep on the whole but sooo long and they just kept on coming, we did the 130km and it was over 8000 feet of climb and the descents were brutal too, rattling about on rough tracks, I was pleased with how brave I was on the descents though (not as brave as Clive).
Some of the gravel was very rocky and you had to follow a narrow ‘path’ between the rocks and there was a big boulder field which was not much fun, to be honest. I didn’t want to batter my bike so I (we) went carefully through any rough bits, I chose my lines really carefully too, as I love my Bokeh too much!
We stopped to take quite a few photos as it was really just so beautiful there and seemed a shame not to! Particularly nice was around the lake which looked like a rough sea in the wind but was so pretty. The trails around there were much gentler too!
It’s a lovely isolated and very wild part of the world and there is not even any phone signal or wifi, but boy was it hilly and boy was it windy, c20mph headwinds for a lot of it, I’m sure the wind was behind us at some point but it never really felt like it to me! It nearly blew me off sideways at times. But we were incredibly lucky to have dry trails, sunshine, and warmth!! I can imagine on a cold/wet day it would be really brutal!
The Bokehs were of course brilliant, I felt so safe and I was also pleased with my tyre choice of Terravail Rutland - Clive also went for the same though he said he would have used the WTB Ventures ideally with it being dry but I was very happy with my tyres. We saw literally hundreds of people with punctures, particularly after the big descents.
We had quite a few people admiring the Bokehs including some Dutch guys who were asking all about them. We saw quite a few Bokeh’s out there on the ride too, green, orange, grey, and a Ti, and the owners were all saying hi which was really lovely. Clive saw an ISO too.
We saw one girl riding a bamboo bike, Clive was chatting to her as he had worked with the owner of the company! I didn’t do very much chatting!!
The atmosphere was really amazing with people cheering and ringing cowbells as we passed which was lovely! It really gave such a boost!
After we finished I think it’s fair to say we were pooped, I certainly was, we came back to the campsite and showered and I said I’d go and buy us pizza as we were starving so I walked up the hill back up to the event village to get those which took ages as there was a queue and as I walked back down with the pizzas I spotted Josh but he was chatting in earnest to someone and forgive me but a) I didn’t want to interrupt his conversation and b) our tummies were desperate for (hot) pizza so I’m afraid I didn’t stop to say hello….. ! But it was lovely to see him standing there with his green Bokeh! He is an incredible rider!
The campsite was really good and I was really glad of my hand warmers in my sleeping bag as there was a frost overnight and some people said they were freezing but luckily we were ok, I was in bed both nights by 8pm so wasn’t exactly the life and soul … Clive was more social and stayed up chatting to people!!
Overall it was amazing though I was gutted not to have felt at my best, I’ve been riding really strong in the past 6 months but have struggled just in the last month or so with aches and pains and feeling tired and then with my back….in truth I just wanted to cry at times. I know I’m probably hard on myself, I did tell myself I’m only 3 years off 60 and now a granny but I was disappointed I was not having a good day! But hey ….there is always next year!
Clive said I was 8th in my age category and 25th out of 63 women, he was 7th in his age category, but I held him back heaps, he had to keep waiting for me bless him, though I know I could have done better but as Clive said, it’s not a race and let’s just ‘enjoy’ it!!
He did amazingly and rode so strong as he can only ride at weekends since starting his new job and commuting again so I don’t know how he does it. He was so patient waiting for me all the time!!
He wants us to do the 200km next year, I think IF we do we need to actually do some proper training!! In particular hill training!!
Anyway it was a brilliant weekend away and a fab experience and we both really enjoyed ourselves and I’m so glad we did it!! I would never have been able to do it without my wonderful Bokeh.
I now looking forward to getting my Aspect and getting onto some oh-so-smooth tarmac for a bit! But also looking forward to my usual big days out on my beloved Bokeh, covering the miles but at a more leisurely pace.
Photo credit: Honor Elliott