Oh, Dirty Reiver. It was a pleasure to be back. Last weekend, we headed to the middle of nowhere (otherwise known as Kielder Forest) to see all your hungry, happy faces at the sixth edition of the race.
We set up our crack team of volunteers to work on the feed station. Gateshead Manager, Andy, Sonder Rider Rich Seipp, and our Customer Service Heroes Tom and Joe went along. We were based 95k into the race. And the music was blasting. We handed out mountains (big ones!) of food and water to some exhausted riders. Our team didn’t stop all day. Time flew by. Heads down. Snacks re-filled. Water bottles replenished.
Last year, we had a sofa in our van. Just by coincidence. But when we put it out, we realised how much of a treat it went down. So, obviously we had to bring it back! It was such a success story that it induced some serious sleepiness in riders, including one who had a nap on the Sonder Sofa halfway round the course.
Even with tired riders, spirits were still high. The atmosphere was great from the start line to the finish. The first 20 or 30 riders were really racing. In a rush to get through, they spent just a couple of minutes at our feed station. But the rest chilled, chatted and rested in preparation for the next section.
Our Gateshead Store Hero, Paul took part in Dirty Reiver this year. He rode it on his Camino Ti, which was set up perfectly. He rode it with 650mm uber flared Ragley Luxy bars Redshift flexi stem, 700x47mm up front with 43mm at the back - tubeless, of course.
He thought the route was great. Well organised. And a great riding experience. Especially the Sonder feed station! But he lamented the sadistic inclusion of the biggest, steepest hill with just 13 miles to go. Not to mention the loneliness and isolation of mile 83, which seemed to go on. And on. And on.
"It wasn't so much The Dirty Reiver as The Dusty Reiver. It had great weather for this time of year in the far remote North East of England. There's plenty I could say but I could sum it up by asking myself: 'will I enter again next year?'. Yep".