Swell Times at the Scott

Psyched for the final laps. L-R: Rosie Barnes, Nick Both, Andy Blair, some other pinner.

The Swell Design camp area at the Scott 24 oozes everything I love about these events.  Happy people, sweet bikes, snazzy threads, and an overwhelming attitude of “really happy to be here.” Only I’ve never been there, with them, at least not until last weekend.

As one part of four teams of six, I found myself enjoying the Scott in a whole new way as a member of a large team of 24.  White boards kept track of who was doing what, conversation flowed between riders, ring-ins and friends, and completed laps were announced with long skids and grins the size of the planet. Coffee was consumed in the early hours, and beer in the (slightly) later hours. Everything more or less worked like clockwork and culminated in the large group gathering together to bite nails and give great big man hugs after the final lap.

The quick kids in the Swell Redshift team took out the mixed-six in tight battle that made their victory even sweeter.  The rest of us rode to our own victories, although looking at results from the night laps, you’d be mistaken for thinking we all rode as one long freight train, the times were that well-matched.

Rolling transitions became gated high-fives.

Out on the race track I felt like I was flying. The morning rides I’ve been doing with the Bicycle Garage map so well onto mountain bike tracks that I was thanking the crew all the way to the top of the hill. My lines on the descents were about five years out of date, so that made for some surprising near misses on the first lap, but things just got better from there. My bike was spot on and handled beautifully, and a double dose of Radical Lights meant my first night lap was almost as quick as one in daylight.  And to top it off, I finished my PhD thesis on the Friday morning and left the study room shaking on the hillside. Summer is going to be excellent!

After such a great team experience with the Radical Lights crew at the Mont 24 in April this year, I had wondered if anything would ever top it.  This one was equally good, and enjoyably different.  I left the event with that sleepy smile that is characteristic of a great 24 and am already anticipating what new experiences the teams racing will offer up next. Hopefully there’ll be some fun social rides in between as well.

Big, big thanks to Anne and Geoff Bicknell for the images and for coming out to see the action.