But you’ve got to get back on it after falling off (or, in my case, just sort of crawling off and being ill next to the race course).
So I did.
Still feeling miserable after dropping out fo the UK24 champs on Sunday, I went out for a ride on the Monday I’d already taken off work (meant for chilling out, recovering and unpacking after the race) and tried to cheer myself up by hammering my way over to Cragg Quarry for a couple of laps of the uber-swoopy new trai there. It kind of worked, in the whole “feel happier” scheme of things, though I did forget to apply and suncream and ended upwith lobster arms/legs afterwards.
More cheer-myself-up rides followed during the week, over Darwen tower after work with Angela on Tuesday, followed by some ace exploring of local woods (and up onto the moors near Darwen tower for good measure) with Wayne on Thursday, topped off with the shortest ride I’ve done in ages on Saturday morning. 1.5hrs with an average heart rate of 171bpm (that’s dead high for me) and a new max heart rate for the year of 205bpm. Lovely. It was most uncomfortable.
Sunday was designated a big ride day – my original plan to drive over to Lee Quarry for the Brownbacks XC race was altered due to not tiring myself out at the National Champs – and it was ace! The ride over to the race itself was lovely and quiet…and FAST, due to some crazy tailwinds. I set of half an hour later than I intended but still arrived in time to sign on and get (most of) a practice lap of the course before thundering back down to the start line just in time to catch the end of the rider briefing, turn round so I was facing the right way and sprint off back up the hill as the word “Go” was shouted.
After a few seconds of confusion I realised I was leading, though that soon changed as 3 of us pulled clear over the first couple of laps, each trading places with the other through the newly built singletrack.
For the vast majority of the race I sat in a comfortable 2nd place, but got a bit complacent/wasn’t in the mood to barge past slower riders in the narrow stuff/was already planning my route home afterwards on the last lap and ended up coming in 4th. I knew that if I’d wanted to I could have speeded up at any point though, so wasn’t to upset about not finishing ‘on the podium’ (I’ll do that next time…).
The ride home was bloody windy, I was reduced to riding up the climb from Belmont to the masts at Rivington in 32×32 but, apart from a couple of short stops to gobble Haribo at the side of the trail, I felt good and got home 104miles later, much happier than at the same point the week before.