Mountain biking at night with lights! Are you mad? Well, that was my first reaction when I noticed that the 1st Jesus Pobre event would be nocturnal. Asking a couple of cyclist friends neither of them had entered such an event before and I really wasn’t sure that it was a good idea, maybe I’ll give this one a miss.
However, another biking friend suggested that the route would be simpler than normal with no real technical sections to worry about as the organisers didn’t want any broken bones, especially on their first event.
Ok so my mind was made up and the research began. Youtube is great for this, watching other people wobble about in the dark with small low powered standard lights had me thinking about the equipment I had. My current cheap Chinese bazaar lights at €1.99 a set wouldn’t cut the mustard so I set about making some better ones, more on this in another article.
Fast forward to race day or should that be night, the bike is sorted, the lights are great and I’m stood in the middle of Jesus Pobre with about 250 like-minded individuals waiting for the obligatory late start. Up the hill we go through the main square, the crowd cheering and wishing us well, a quick road loop later and we are back through the square for the second time in 10 minutes, more cheering and then towards the woods.
Starting at around 21:30 we didn’t really need lights for the off however as soon as we hit the woods all the lights came on, mine surprisingly where some of the brightest. Following a narrow path around trees and over rocks we kept having to stop and wait for the path ahead to clear as we where still a bit bunched. On one of these stops, I managed to put my left leg into a thorn bush which then tried to slice my leg off when restarting. Back around towards the village up and over a large hill and out towards Javea along small lanes and single tracks which were very gravelly in places.
Heading back towards Jesus Pobre my steering started to feel sluggish and eventually I clipped a rock and fell off, left side again, the problem turned out to be a slow puncture, the slime was helping but not stopping the escape. A quick break to blow up the tyre and off we go, through the town square for a drink and down some steps to applause from the crowds.
The route then took us back out of the village covering some of the previous circuit, including the large hill, my poor legs, before a fast downhill section through a wooded single track. The end was in sight, well almost, with about 1-2 km left the front tyre finally gave up pitching me over on my left side again.
This time the pump had no effect no matter how hard I tried, the track was too narrow for any other form of repair so carrying began, 100m or so later at a T junction in the trail I managed to find enough space to turn the bike over and attempt a tube change, hard enough with basic tools, even worse at night. After three minutes I’m on my way again, a few barancas and a couple of small hills later and the music from the town square is ringing in my ears.
It’s over, timing ticket in hand along with a can of Monster energy drink, a commemorative water bottle and T-shirt and I am stood in a queue for refreshments: melon, crisps, sandwiches, beer and coke, what could be better. Finishing 146th overall and 18th in class is probably my best ever position and I had a great time despite the puncture.
The event was well organised by friendly people, plenty of food & drink and a great atmosphere, if you haven’t tried a nocturnal event give this one a try next year, it’s on my to-do list.
Check out the route on Sports Tracker Here.