The day started of early with up at 5.30am and leaving at 6.30am to arrive at Kielder forest for the NDH* Start Cycle Funduro briefing for my son to find out where he would be marshaling, and for me to find out where I could get some good photographs of the riders. The ride to the forest that time of a morning was nice as the sun rose giving a lovely glow to the sky and as the light arrived the skies looked like they were going to give us good weather, but it was not to last as we got closer to Kielder forest the bright skies were replaced with cloud, light white clouds not the dark your going to get really wet clouds, so one was living with hope of a dry day. We arrived parked up and talked to Karl the organizer only to be told yesterday how he had gotten soaked through within two minutes of stepping out of his van to set up the trails. Undeterred I was still living in the hope of dry weather for the day and said I thought it would stay nice if cloudy all day and everyone I told this to just looked and said it’s going to rain and of course I would say no it’s not, so more and more riders arrived, there was a good turn out for a November day in Kielder Forest but the NDH* events are well organised and popular. So I drive my son to his marshal point and Karl tells me where I can get some good images of the riders so I head down the track from section two, and find myself a nice spot that looks sheltered from the light wind blowing. practice starts and the weather is holding as I knew it wasn’t going to rain how could it after I said and told everybody it was going to just stay cloudy. Ha ha how wrong could I be we survived till about 11am the wind picked up and the rain started and did it rain oh yes it rained and rained and rained and the wind blew hard, I thought I would use my brolly to cover my camera bag and in the quiet parts of the practice and race shelter under the brolly, not to be I waited for a lull in the wind started putting up the brolly and a big gust of wind came from nowhere and turned it inside out and snapped the spines that held the brolly top so that was the end of that plan. Not to be deterred it was woolly hat and coat hood up to combat the driving rain that was luckily coming at me from behind, I did make the mistake of turning round to look down the track and was blasted in the face by wind and driving rain, the hardest part was keeping the rain of the camera lens which started off not to bad, but as my cleaning cloths got more damp they were making the lens worse, eventually I turned to a packet of disposable hankies, clean I may add to try and soak the water off which seemed to work, I also had my camera wrapped in an Asda plastic bag to help keep the water off I have proper camera bags for this sort of thing but find the Asda bag works so much better. The riders came and went only a couple of slips on the rocks just passed me but all made it down safely and all the riders giving a 110% and not one complaint, mountain bikers are made of tough stuff. So that was it time to walk back up to the car I hadn’t realized how wet I was till I started to walk back to the car at the top of the track and everything was clinging to me and the water was running of in streams. The question for me was how many images could I rescue after battling with rain quite a few is the answer some of which are below.
NDH* Northern Downhill