The Gut Buster, Garston to Bannockburn Mountain Bike Ride

The Gut Buster is a Mountain bike ride/race from Garston to Branockburn, 75 km long, held annually the last weekend in November.

One of my mates did it last year and was going it again this year and suggested that I come along and do it as well
As I have done event before I thought yea no worries, if he can do so can I. I’m 10 years younger than him and I’m reasonably fit. I entered and went for a 4 hour training ride with him two weeks before over hilly terrain. Had no problems.
I had meant to do a couple more mountain bike ride before the race. But it never happened.
Race day
I loaded up me bike and all the gear I needed and drove the hour and a half. Just as arrive it starts pouring down. But that passes and I meet up with my mates Shane, Stu and Link. Got myself ready and put my spare gear in their vehicle.
They were giving me a bit of stick about my 19 year old bike and the fact that I didn’t have bananas and all the other supplements. I new better, I had done these sorts of events before. (last event was 10 years ago)
The Gut Buster started and off we went a couple of kms or so on the flat, then we hit the first hill 12 km with a 1:14 gradient. No worries down a few gears then down some more and ops oh shit I can’t go down any more cause I in my lowest. This is harder than I thought. I keep going. need more air. legs starting to hurt. Oh well time to stop catch my breathe. Hey I ‘m a wee way up now can’t be to far till the top. I look up oh no there are people way up there. Maybe I’m not even half way up the first hill yet. I start walking , people are still going past me but I’m not loosing a lot of ground walking and I’m sure as hell not going back down. My mates (Shane and Link)come past “You all right?” they ask. “Yea just ran out of gears” I reply.  
 I push on walk a bit ride a bit, next bend next post just keep going. My mates support vehicle is at the top if I can get there i can catch a ride to the finish. I keep going getting higher nearer the top. The wind picks up, its cold. I do up my jacket that I had undone further down the hill. Just got to make it to the top, but still can’t see it. 
Oh whoow this view is spectacular. Stop take a picture chance for a break.phonecamera 273
Keep going, the legs are hurting, starting to get a bit of cramp.
I finally get to the top, taken just over an hour an a half. Where the support vehicle? ah maybe it’s a little past the top. I keep going but still no vehicle. Oh well not so bad it’s down hill now, it’s easier. This is great I love the down hills. Don’t know what it is but I seem to be faster than others down hill. phonecamera 275
It then turns to undulating flat slightly down with quite a few fords. That means wet, cold feet but I keep going. How the heck am I going to make it up the last 8 km long hill. “don’t think about that” I tell myself. Just keep going
“Aaah shit” I have cramp in both legs. I get off my bike, stagger and collapse on the bank beside the track. I munch on some chocolate and think I’ll wait for the tail end Charley to pick me up. Other go past “Are you all right mate” they ask. “Yea just got cramp” I reply. 
After a few minutes it eases. I could be waiting for ages to catch a ride outa here. So off I go again. 
The cramp come and goes a bit but I push on.
Then I came to a guy with his bike upside down, he had broken his chain. There were a few  people standing round. One guy had the tools and a joiner link.  “Does anyone know how to fix this” he asks “Yea I can” I reply . So I stopped and fixed it for him. A good excuse for a rest. 
We carried on more undulation and more fords. Feet are still freezing. Past an old mining camp with stone cottages. 
Through another ford up a bit of a rise, cramp hits again, I push on a couple a hundred metre to the check point.
Most riders call out their number and keep going. Not me or the rest of the group that stopped for the broken chain. It’s another chance for a break, get some more water. And to my surprise they had a bbq so had a couple of sausages and a cup of coffee and a bit of a chat and got to find out a bit about the hill to come.
Only about 20 something km to go but eight was up hill. I was dreading that. So I push on 2 km and then we’re into it the eight km climb. Ride a little, walk a lot, then stop and stretch and repeat. The bonus was those that were riding were’t going much faster than me walking. Then a support vehicle came along. The lady stop and had a chat. I mentioned I was getting cramp. So she gave me some spray bottle stuff to spray under my tongue I can’t hurt to try it. It worked I reversed the trend. I was now walking a little and riding a lot. 
A little further up the hill me mate’s, who had the broken chain. brakes were rubbing, making a her of a noise not to mention making it harder to ride, so I adjusted that for him and we carried on. The potion was working a treat
I finally got to the top. Now the good part the down hill. It was amazing, the view was spectacular as well so stopped and got a picture  then carried on.phonecamera 276
Once at the bottom it was only a few kms to the finish with a couple of hundred metre climb up into Bannockburn and the finish YAY. 5 hours 55 minutes very knacker and glad I made it to the end.
Shane, Link, and Stu all congratulate on getting to the finish. Stu finished an hour quicker and Shane and Link 50 minutes quicker than me.
What Have I Learnt From This?
Training is very important.
Never give up. 
It is amazing what you can achieve when you put your mind to it
Make sure your prepare properly.
These lesson can be applied to anything you do or want to do
Will I do it again? If you had asked me during it the answer would have been NO! But I probably will do it again but I will take on board the lessons learnt.



The Gut Buster, Garston to Bannockburn Mountain Bike Ride

About Robbie van't Wout

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