The 5th and therefore confusingly-named Hit the North 2.5 took place on Saturday 12th February and according to all who took part, it was another big success.
The unique ‘mountain bikes mixing it with cyclocross bikes’ format for two hours on a very varied four mile course is now becoming a firm favourite, with many of the riders taking part saying that it was the ‘best ever’ and vowing to return next year. As ever, riders are drawn to Hit the North by the great atmosphere of the event, with the rather large Radcliffe Brass Band, home-cooked catering and support from British Cycling, The Forestry Commission, Bury Council, Ragley Bikes, JMC IT, Great Rock, Edmond DT, Cookson Cycles, Marmalades B&B and many others.
Almost 200 riders lined up in the sunshine for the mass start and battled through tough conditions following the persistent rain of the previous week – unrideable climbs favouring the cyclocross racers and steep downhills and fast, bermed Forestry Commission-built MTB trails favouring those riding mountain bikes.
The race was won by a cyclocross racer and recent 3rd place 3 Peaks Cyclocross finisher Ian Taylor (Craven Energy Tri), followed by another renowned cyclocross racer and 3 Peaks stalwart Dave Haygarth (Wheelbase.co.uk / Cannondale). Chris Purt (Revolution Bikes), riding a mountain bike, claimed 3rd place, narrowly beating Dave Powell (Team JMC / Ragley) who finished 4th.
Amy Baron-Hall (Cookson Cycles) won the ladies event with Emma Peasland (unattached) and Pauline Griffin (Manchester Tri) claiming 2nd and 3rd places on the ‘two wooden pallets and the spare wheel from the van’ podium.
Profits from the race (once all the bills have been paid) will be donated to Stand Pre-School Nursery for outdoor play equipment.
Planning for the next HTN will start in the autumn. Watch this space www.hitthenorth.net