A heavy fall of snow gave an added treacherous twist to the end of the 2012 edition of Hit the North. After several days of freezing weather the course frozen hard and without its trademark mud. A fine ride by Ian Taylor (Craven Energy) secured a second win in two years as over 250 riders slogged it out around a freezing Philips Park in Whitefield.
In the first for the event, the youth race was well attended with a range of the local regular cross racers up against youth cross country riders and first time racers.
Kicking off at 9.00am with the youth race the weather was cold and clear with a warm sun just about peaking above the trees. Unfortunately the weather didn’t improve as the day went on and the temperature began to drop as the250 riders piled into the start area.
Chaos ensued as 250 riders all attempted to get though a regularly sized gate and get a decent start up the first long gravel climb. The first lap was a continuous stream of riders wheel to wheel, and there was a lot of braking, sliding an falling off to amuse the watching spectators.
The race soon settled down into a familiar pattern of miniature personal battles, falling off, overtaking and, for quite a number of those not usually found on a race track, taking a breather.
The course was definitely a challenging one and as usual it was hard, regardless of which bike you had decided to ride. As last year there was the Field of Despair, closely followed by the MTFU hill. Although it was disappointing to see that after achieving corporate sponsorship (from Buff) there was a distinct lack of MTFUing and more advertising banners.
Musically we were again treated to Radcliffe Brass Band, a selection of banging house tunes and, for the hardy souls ascending MTFU hill, there was a drum band providing noisy accompaniment and encouragement in equal measure.
As the event drew to a close after 1r and 45mins of racing the snow that had been forecast finally arrived. Within minutes there was an inch of snow on the ground and the course became a slippery and slidey nightmare for those riders completing their final laps. There weren’t many takers for sprinting to escape the time cut, and there was a rapid exodus to cars and vans to defrost once the event finished.
As the snow continued to fall many people unlucky to own only two wheel drive cars found themselves somewhat stuck at the bottom of a very snowy, rather steep hill….