So 3 more races done and dusted with varying degrees of success. First up was Rd2 of the national series @ Wasing nr Reading. I was looking forward to this as I had raced the course a few weeks earlier at the southern xc and felt it had potential to be a cracking course. Rain all week and during the drive up meant I turned up expecting a muddy course and so put some grippy Ignitor tyres on, bad move number 1! The course was somehow bone dry and dusty and these just dragged like a bugger all day! The race was pretty awful for me, as soon as we started I didn’t feel right and was losing places far too easily, I felt detached from the racing and unable to get my body to respond as normal. 2nd lap in and my rear shock blew leaving me with no damping and a very bouncy back end. I was close to pulling out but I hate seeing a DNF so decided to continue and salvage what I could, not much is the answer as I ended up 38th. At first I was confused at how I could feel so bad so I went through my pre race build up with someone else and they shed some light on some basic errors to improve on, it helps sometimes to get another opinion on a problem and so this proved.
With this new advice in my ears I headed to Rd2 of the southern XC series @ Pippingford park in East Sussex. Having ridden here before I knew what to expect, hills! This coupled with the hottest day of the year meant it was going to be hard! Due to traffic heading to the coast an hour 15 journey took over 2 hours so my warm up was riding to the line, far from ideal as I would be racing ‘cold’ and pretty much blind into what I was told was a pretty technical start to the lap, great! As it turned out the lap was pretty cool lots of singletrack which was very rough a few steep drops and of course lots of climbing. Lap 1 went without incident apart from brushing a tree (see pic!)
Lap 2 and I flatted in the first piece of singletrack, tube thrown in and I was away again pretty certain I was last and just hoping to get some points by finishing. By the last lap I was pretty spent and was having to spin the climbs however other people were suffering too and I managed to pick up a place on the penultimate climb and hold it to the finish, 10th out of 15 not great but a step in the right direction and a goal of top 10 ticked of the list.
Moving on to Round 3 of the British XC series at Margham park in S wales, I was looking forward to this one as I’ve always enjoyed the big hills and technical drops here. Pre riding the course friday in fantastic sunshine I was in heaven lots of tricky, rocky descents and lots of hard climbing. The legs felt good as did the bike, roll on race day. However waking up to rain and cloud so low it encased the top of the climbs was not what I was expecting, nor was I expecting the course to get cut up soooo bad. The first lap I spent most of the time running up climbs and sliding out of control back down. I got caught behind so many crashes it was carnage! With my bike clogged with mud, gears skipping and the rain coming down again my head fell off a bit and I pulled out, as I said above I HATE dnf’ing but sometimes it really isn’t worth it.
Next up I concentrate on the southern xc series before the national champs in July where I get to race the Elite boys, Oh joy!!
See you at a race soon.