Report: Marin Dusk Til Dawn 2009

Home » Mountain Bike (MTB)

Report: Marin Dusk Til Dawn 2009

Bookmark and Share

Posted October 5 2009
Words And Photography By Joolze Dymond

Joolze Dymond was at the Dusk til Dawn enduro for us and encountered conditions somewhat unfamiliar for the event. Her full report and rider feedback are below the slideshow of her images.

Joolze Dymond's Images (More from Joolze, including images sales, on

Report: Marin Dusk til Dawn

........or after this year's race the event will now be known affectionately as Dust til Dawn!

After last year's near wash out, where the riders crested a wave of mud each lap as the rain poured incessantly from the sky, all eyes were firmly glued on the weather maps as we headed for year 9 of this incredible popular ‘end of season' enduro.

Ever since its inception at the turn of the century, this home-grown festival of cycling in the dark has attracted a loyal band of followers who love the friendly banter, the fast flowing trails and the incredible atmosphere. Despite boasting a field of well over a 1,000 riders, D2D once more lived up to it's reputation as the most laid back event on the calendar.

So, did the rain rear its ugly head? As riders pitched up at the arena their main worries were the gale force winds intent on flattening all the tents. They would have made riding in the woods entertaining to say the least... However as the start time edge ever nearer, the gusts died down to a mere puff, though as the riders gathered for the rider briefing a sudden sense of déjà vu spread rapidly around as a sharp burst of heavy rain exploded from the skies.

We all sighed and thoughts returned to '08, where wet suits and canoes might have been more suitable. Fortunately this cloudburst was short lived and as the minute hand edge ever nearer to the stroke of 8, the rain cleared up. Crowds of spectators, nearly 3 deep in places gathered for the off, and the start line was ablaze with millions of wattages of lights, as eager riders waited to get stuck into the dry Thetford trails. Ahead lay typical unrelenting Thetford single-track weaving effortlessly through the tall pines: a hard 9.8-mile circuit popping in and out of no less than 6 bomb holes along the way, keeping everyone on their toes.

With a flourish of theatrical fireworks the race was on and a magical river of light delivering hundreds of riders to 12 hours of dark, dusty fun. From the outset the racing was fierce, especially with the top end of each category, while the rest of the riders fought their own battles and gremlins along the way.

Rickie Cotter and Carla Haines teamed up for Ducati Corse Women's team and rode 14 consistent laps to ride away with the women's pairs taking the win with one lap to spare over the London Phoenix/team Crazy pairing.

The men's pairs was a bit closer but Streetlife Cycles / Extreme Sports Therapy held off the low flying RAF boys to pick up the win, with a bit of close formation play off they cruised to 16 laps and a cushion of 13 minutes.

In the mixed pairs the racing was even closer with the top 6 teams all racking up an impressive 14 laps. But it was Charlie Eustace and partner Irene who managed to dig deep, fending off the advance of the Fig Rolls and another attack by the RAF. Just over 4 minutes separated 1st from 3rd in the end with some nail biting action all the way.

This was a scenario that was repeated time and time again as teams and soloists constantly vied for position. Malin Tindberg riding her first 12hr solo was unprepared for the overwhelming need for sleep. After leading for the majority of the race, she found herself drifting off to sleep as she rode and woke up more than once in a heap. This enabled seasoned enduro rider Lorraine Staley to steal a march and take the lead. With just two laps remaining it looked like it was all over for Tindberg, but her competitiveness kicked in and with a burst of caffeine she set off in pursuit of the win. Over the last few laps she closed in for the kill, regaining the lead and extending it to a 10 min advantage to secure the win, with Staley coming in for 2nd.

It was a close run race too for the men's solo race with Andrew Cockburn fending off singlespeeding wonder boy, Steve Webb. However after 15 laps the gears won out with Cockburn racing up the win over 38 mins ahead of Webb. More edge of the seat racing could be seen in the men's team of 3, in a race that could only be described as a cat and mouse affair as the teams constantly changed position. In the end the Revel Outdoors team just pipped the Thetford MTB crew to the line a mere 14 secs the difference after 15 laps, with 3rd placed Basildon Timber a further 86 secs adrift.

The familiar face of Paul Ashby, who had won the team of 3 last year with the help of his two boys was back in the mix but this time as a team of 4. With one youngster defecting to a rival team, Ashby was aided and abetted by Adi Scott and Gavin Rumbles and they took their race by storm, though they were bemused that they defeated a strong looking TORQ team along the way as well as Ashby juniors' new team. While Team Fatbirds/PhilCorley/Luton CC took the win with ease, just 10 sec divided 2nd and 3rd, with a puncture in the closing stages putting TORQ on the back step, leaving Extreme Sports Therapy/Ccn to scoop 2nd.

Xcracer scooped a top win in the Mixed team of 4 as Hollie Bettles, James Hampshire, Phil Morris and guest rider Paul Robertson took on the might of Whyte Racing and came out triumphant 16 laps later.

The mixed team of 3 Autobahn took top spot with 13 laps denying yet another RAF team top spot. Finally the 3 woman salsa team took a convincing win racking up 14 laps 2 clear of nearest rivals Velo Club Rutland, despite the shock of discovering they were to be a 3 woman team, with Sara Flatt having to bale because of other commitments. Still the girls did her proud!

Oh and not forgetting those creative lads at Bocking MTB, who walked away with yet another best-dressed campsite with their spooky Halloween theme...

As night faded smoothly into day, and the gentle autumnal sun cast a warm fuzzy glow on the closing stages, riders battled through fatigue to squeeze out those last few remaining laps. Riders found a burst of speed as the entered the arena and competition was as hot at the end despite the long night as it was all those hours ago. Now they were racing for that well earned bacon sarnie and hot cuppa before plunging into the deepest and most rewarding sleep of the year.

So, D2D was finally over, the weather gods had played ball and all the riders could talk about now was the sand drifts on the hard baked trails and how much fun you can have with a 1,000 other mountain bikers through the night! Next year finds D2D celebrating a decade of enduro fun - make sure you pencil in the date now and come along to enjoy the fun and find out what delights the organisers will have in store for you then! The date to remember is 2nd- 3rd October 2010. For more info visit

Riders' Comments

XCRacer - Mixed 4 team: Really good race, really good battle with the Whyte team through the night. We kinda decided that we'd all driven so far to get here we had to get on the podium, so that was our aim and we achieved it, top step too! A great end to the season for the team. A great fun course really flowed well, Hollie/Phil/James/paul Robertson

Revel Outdoors 1 - 3-man team: That was an extremely close race all the way through, we finished with just 14 secs to spare over 2nd place. We hadn't had the lead all the way; we kept swapping throughout the night with the Thetford MTB boys, great race and great team!

Fat Birds /Corley Cycles/Luton MTB - 4 man team: I rode in the 3-man team with my boys last year and won it, Adie didn't want to ride solo this year and one of my boys jumped ship to another team, so we joined forces and did the 4 man. I didn't think we were going to win at all I thought the TORQ team would wipe the floor with us. If you see their riders on paper they are the top 15 elite riders so we did well. We were lucky with perfect conditions and we just rode hard all through the night. We were also lucky to have no mechanicals, a few crashes but nothing to talk about, but yeah a good race and Adie reckons he might even give solo another go next year.

Salsa Factory Racing - 3-woman team: We weren't meant to be a 3-woman team, but mum had to be elsewhere this weekend, which meant both the Salsa and Thetford MTB teams were down to 3, so we didn't get any sleep, which was very tough. You're buzzing when you come back from your lap then the lights go out but all too soon you have to be up and out there again and ready to go which is so difficult. We enjoyed it though, the first lap was frustrating as it was so slow stuck in traffic, but after that it just cleared up and the course really flowed and was fantastic.

Streetlife Cycles / Extreme Sports Therapy - Men's Pairs: We set out quite fast to try and stay with the fast boys in the 4 man teams and managed to get a margin, which we kept all through the race. It got a bit tiring early in the morning but it all came together and was great. Oh yeah I have to mention my partner in crime is just 15 and I'm 23. He won the summer series so got special dispensation from the organiser to ride this. Being young we mixed it up and did longer stints so that Josh could get a bit more rest. Epic course, few bomholes, lots of people cheering everyone on, great fun.

Malin Tindberg - Solo woman winner: That was so tough and really close towards the end, I had a really bad lap, and Lorraine (Staley) caught me, but I managed to turn it around a build up a 10 min lead over the last two laps, so I'm really pleased with that. I was leading all the way round but this coupled with a really hard week meant I was falling asleep on the bike! I'm normally a short course girl, XC all the way, but I don't know I fancied giving this a go. It feels like a good achievement, as I've been struggling a bit in the XC and I'm really competitive so it's been frustrating, so this was a great outlet for me. Though I might not ever do this again! You should never say never though! I did enjoy it, especially now I've finished!

Andrew Cockburn - solo winner: Yeah pleased with that, I last rode this as a soloist in 2005, where I came second and then decided I was going to concentrate on XC instead as enduros are too hard. Though obviously I'd forgotten how hard and here I am again! The break must have done me some good as I won it this time, so I've done it now, I don't have to do it again at least not for another 4 years anyway! It was a tough race; Steve was just a handful of minutes behind me at one point, until he had a crash. I went off hard as Steve started hard and I wanted to stay with him, which I did until he crashed, then I pressed on for bit but then eased off during the night as I was feeling a bit rough had a gel and started back up again building up the gap. I've no idea how people do 24hrs, the idea that you're only half way after 12hrs is beyond me, that was just enough! Great weekend, but I don't have to do this now for at least another 4 years!

Ducati Corsa Womens Racing - Women's pairs: Brilliant fun, really good but very tiring. Caffeine gels kept me afloat though. We wouldn't have chosen to do 1 lap on one lap off ourselves but in the end it was the best decision. We worked well together, usually on your own you just plod around but knowing that you're in a team and you don't want to let them down can freak you out a bit but it worked out alright in the end. It was a straightforward course with nothing too severe out there. We had a really good start, we had a clear run and worked out well, being consistent we made up the time and obviously consistency is king!