Won a race once. AND DON'T YOU EVER FORGET IT

  • No mud

    With me still picking dried mud out of the corners of my eyes from Hit the North (I imagine I’ll be doing that until the next one…) I set my sights on the last few races before (and this sounds scary) getting into prep mode ofr the next CX season
    First up was a hilly TT. Sadly the course had to be shortened due to roadworks, which cut out some of the hillier bits (where I tend to make up time on the those with full TT bikes), but I did OK, ending up 6th. I felt pretty strong right the way through, though I nearly froze to death wearing just the skimpy skinsuit, riding past people scraping the ice off the windscreens of their cars. Brr!

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    Next up was one of my favourite events, Battle on the Beach. I’d headed down to South Wales a few days early (in order to get officially old…) and had spent the week before the races eating too much, but I was still very much ‘up for it’ while standing in with the Seeded Riders. My legs felt fresh, the sun was shining, the bike set up was (to my mind) spot on and prior knowledge of what was about to happen saw me full of hope of a great result.
    Annoyingly, my hopes lasted less time than the starting hooter. The bloke next to me tried to set off on his bike, rather than running (hard to do due to the super soft sand), he got anout 2 pedal strokes in, ran out of power and flopped over to his left, still clipped in, landing flat on top of my bike as I tried to run past, pinning it on the ground underneath him as he flailed about.
    I glanced up at the front end of the race hurtling away down the beach as I tried to wrestle the bike from under him. Race over. Balls.
    Eventually I managed to prise my bike out from under him and spent the rest of the race working my way up through hundreds of riders. I obviously had good form as I was able to fight my way back up into the top 50 before running out of laps, while still making up places. Shame, but a great workout and still a fantastic course to race on. I’ll be back for number 7 next year!

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    Finally, another trip up to ride the Dirty Reiver. To me it’s almost the opposite of Battle on the Beach, with wide, solid tracks stretching for miles, instead of swoopy narrow singletrack with soft sand to keep you on your toes. It’s usually bloody cold as well, where Battle on the Beach somehow manages to steal a bit of summer, despite being earlier in the year. One thing that both events manage to have in bucket loads is a great, fun atmosphere. Thousands of like minded riders buzzing about the trials to come. Brilliant stuff!
    Once again, it was bloody freezing on the startline, though thankfully(!) I got to spend the final few minutes before the race stealing a bottle cage off the bike of one of the organisers (thankyouthankyouthankyouTHANKYOU!), after mine shattered in the cold. Not the kind of warm up you’d imagine would be good for your body, but at least it kept me occupied!
    I got everything sorted just as the riders started to stream through the startline. Phew! I worked my way up through the enormous peloton to the ‘pointy end’ in time to cross the official “timed” beginning of the course with the fast lads.
    What followed was 7 and a bit hours of utterly fantastic remoteness. Phil and I sat with the lead group for about 60 miles. I felt utterly fine at the pace that was being set. I accidentally rode off the front of the group after about 45 miles and, feeling so strong, contemplated putting my head down, getting some power out and really making a go of it, but chose discretion rather than heroics and let everyone ride back up to me. Maybe next time…

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    This pic from Stephen Smith’s album on Facebook – some great pictures of the event!

    By the 2nd feed station the group had broken up, with Phil and I sat in around 8th place, comfortably in line to finish within the “top tier” 7 and a half hours, but as is always a risk, a couple of punctures late on (and stopping to assist other riders who’d run out of spare tubes – always be nice to people when riding!) meant we missed out on that target by less than two minutes. A shame, but it was still a fantastic day out. I felt amazingly comfortable all the way round, even when sat riding into a surprisingly strong headwind for mile after mile, in fact I don’t think I’ve ever crossed the finish line feeling so fresh! Can’t wait to go back and do it again (though maybe next time I’ll sort some heating out for the campervan, as it was damn cold overnight!)

     

    11:05 am on April 16, 2019 | Comments Off on No mud | # |