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Dirty Reiver 2019

By Alpkit
14, Apr, 2019

The 2019 edition of the Dirty Reiver has come and gone. As well as the usual Alpkit feed station we had 3 staff and an Alpkiteer riding the event, here's what happened and how they all got on.

The 2019 edition of the Dirty Reiver by our friends at Focal Events featured an all new course from the previous 3 editions. 

But a few things were unchanged, the great bike expo at the castle was buzzing with riders comparing set ups, talking tyres, drooling over new kit from the great sponsors and catching up with friends. 

Some riders were more relaxed, enjoying a few beers and vast portions of pasta whilst others retired for an early night ready for an early start on saturday morning.

Saturday morning dawned cold (-4) and crisp with bright sunshine breaking through, riders were well layered up and excitement built whilst riders congragated in the start area, ready for the mass start and 3km neutralised start.

We had photograher Matt, equipment designer Rowan and Sonder bike guru Liam riding the event this year. All riding Sonder Bikes Caminos - see their set ups here

Alpkiteer Scott Swalling was also riding on his Sonder Broken Road mountain bike set up singlespeed (32:18), all of them were setting out to ride the 200k route. 

Talyn and Dan were also there in the AlpVan ready to set up the Alpkit feed station at the 100k distance for riders on the 130 and 200k routes. 

The early stages of the ride saw a big group of riders for the first hour or so riding very close together and tackling the tough early climbs and trying to get warmth into legs and extremities. 

Rowan wasnt keen on riding so close in such big groups but roadie Matt was relishing the close elbow-to-elbow formation, eventually the field thinned and riders started to spread out over the first few hours.

At the 100k mark the Alpkit team, ably assisted by Shimano tech support Pete and Dan from Focal and some fantastic volunteers were set up with our event shelters housing rider drop bags, water refills and the Reiver feed stop. We got the teepee up, the fire was lit and the comfy bean bags were placed around the fire ready for riders to take a rest. Talyn got the sound system going and the sunshine and seating leant a bit of a festival atmosphere to proceedings.

The first riders came through after around 3 and half hours with a small group of 3 leading the field. The next hour or so saw small groups of riders coming through with feed station staff running around fillng bottles, filling jersey pockets, making cheese and crisp sandwiches and dealing with an errant water heater. The bulk of riders started to arrive after 4-5 hours and the atmosphere waas great, some took advantage of the warmth of the teepee and firepit to warm up and others used the seats and bean bags to rest weary legs, all commented on how the new route, cold weather and wind had contibuted to a tough first 100k of the event. 

(the lead riders came through looking for a fast changeover, bottles were refilled and food bags grabbed in record time)

Riders continued to come through for some time, with some making themselves very much at home in the teepee - perhaps for longer than they should... 

From Alpkit feed 2 the course set out along some fast and roling trails along the shore of Kielder Water with some tight technocal corners before the course split on the 130 and 200k routes. 

The 200k course headed back out into the forest for a long loop before heading back towards the water and the dam wall to join the remaining 130 riders and start the punishing (and long) timed sector in the Lauf sponsored time trial with several big hills and rough descents.

The final few kms followed the shore of Kielder water on some good fast trails before looping round and back towards the castle and the short, sharp climb to the finish.

At the finish riders were greeted by volunteers and organsiers handing over a meal ticket for some great food and a well earned (alcohol-free) beer... 

The new course for this year seemed to be well received by riders but many said it was tougher than the previous course - particularly on the day with cold and wndy conditions. 

For the team from Alpkit/Sonder on the 200k course:

Matt came in at 9hrs on the dot and really enjoyed the course, feeling strong to the finish - those road miles he's been putting in obviouly paid off. 

Rowan came in next after having early trouble with punctures on his 650b tyres, he rode the 200k in 11hrs 8 minutes. 

Liam had a long day out, finishing in 12 hours 15mins having given his all to get round the course.

All 3 rode Sonder Bike Camino's - their set ups are here

Alpkiteer Scott Swalling finished in 10hours 27mins on his singlespeed Broken Road... he had a great day with the bonus of being able to use his legs for the drive home on Sunday morning. 

The Dirty Reiver continues to be a great event in a remote and beautiful part of the world, it was great to see so many Sonder bikes and Alpkit clothing and equipment at the event. 

Well done to all who rode on a tough day and we cant wait to see more of you there next year. 

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