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

  • The end of the beginning in the middle

    Final round of the National Trophy for this season is done and dusted. (Well, eventually the mud will dry enough to be classed as dust). My first season of “bothering” with it – as in dragging myself around the country to do enough rounds to qualify for a final placing, instead of just doing one or two rounds that sound like fun – and it’s been quite an eye opener.

    I knew I’d miss the Crawley round, which meant that, as there were only 6 races with 5 finishes needed to get in the league, I’d have no room for error. Sadly errors had already been made (by me) in the previous rounds. I’d never really hit my potential, as I drove to the final round in York. I wasn’t going to get a finishing place in the standings the (to my mind) reflected how strong I’d felt and how much support I’d had, but nonetheless I had to race at York to get a final place at all, I owed it to everyone that’s been helping me as much as to myself, if not more. In some ways it took the pressure off and i lined up at the start with little stress and the hope of a good race.

    What I got, rather than the simple “race hard and stay smooth” plan I;d hoped for, was a series of issues that properly tested my attitude!

    A sub-par start has me stuck in the middle of the pack as we hurtled round the road circuit used for the start straight – mildly terrifying being in the melee trying to lean round the hairpin bend on low pressured, mud encrusted tyres – but I stayed upright and tried to limit my losses as we hit the first running section.
    Somehow, while dropping the bike down so I could remount I managed to catch the course tape in the drivechain and had to stop to untangle it. 2 minutes in and boom! I was out the back of the race faffing at the side of the course. Any hopes of a last round brilliant finish were pretty much scuppered.
    I reminded myself that there was no point being dejected at this point in the series, remounted and set about riding back up through the field (oh what a joy it is to have the strength and fitness to do that at National level!). I was in no way smooth or controlled to start with as the grumpy adrenaline from the stop subsided, but I made up a good few places before, for the first time in ages, the chain came off.
    Only a handful of seconds were spent reattaching everything, but once again, place after place was lost at the side of the course. I took deep breath and set about riding back up through the field. Again.

    A quick change of bikes, in case the dropped chain was as a result of mud/grass clogging something up (big thanks to Angela here, for solo pitting like a pro!), and I really started to get stuck in. I regained about 10 places in quick succession before a second dropped chain halted my progress, albeit briefly. I swapped back to the 1st bike on the next lap and noticed that there was a group of about 5 riders all stuck together a few hundred yards ahead of me.

    York National Trophy
    Pic courtesy of Richard Howes

    I rode up to them and made the decision to not get caught up in the tussle they were having (I also spotted that the group consisted mainly of NW riders who were all fighting for top 15 places, which is pretty awesome 🙂 ) – i would just hammer past as quickly as possible and get through the group in one go, then push on to get a gap as quickly as possible.
    We were in full view of the pits as I put the effort in to go through – loads of encouraging noise emanated from the pit area as I got to the front of the group. Nw riders have a great mid race battle, cheered on by the NW contingent supporting them. Ace.
    OR, rather, it would have been ace if I’d not almost immediately got my line over a tussocky lump wrong and binned it. Still in full view of the pits. Arse. The cheering turned to (fully deserved) mild sarcasm and I had to grin to myself about the whole thing as I extricated the bike from the course tape and sheepishly got back on to try and close the gap once again.

    I didn’t realise we were on the last lap and, with only a few corners left, I didn’t quite get back on terms with the group, eventually finishing in a somewhat disappointing (for the amount of effort I’d put in) 16th. Ho hum. Good job the course was enormous fun to race on, or I’d have been in a mood!

    And that was that. Not sure where’ll finish on the overall standings, all I know is that, with 5 CX races left of the season the National series is over. For now. Unfinished business with it you see. Next time round I’ll do better!

    A couple more NW league races over the festive period, followed by the National Championships are what’s on the cards now. Lots to play for and lots of great racing to come, hopefully with all the bad luck, mechanicals and other such issues already out of the way!

     

    12:46 pm on December 16, 2019 | Comments Off on The end of the beginning in the middle | # |