So yesterday I rolled up to my first race of the season, which was the first round of the NutcrackerXC series at Gandale. I’m pretty sure I still had the big ride from Tuesday in my legs and with no high-intensity training so far this year I knew I was in for a world of pain. Awesome.
Got there nice and early, so early in fact I was able to get in a practice lap, which is a new one for me. The lap itself was great; undulating over fast bridleways, wickedly steep climbs, sheep tracks, super rooty forest bit and a killer rocky river bed. A proper body beater. My back wasn’t too keen on it mind so went back to the car for a bit of stretching before heading to the starting line at the bottom of the final steep climb. I got there just in time to see the elites, juniors and experts blast off and now it was our turn. The field was of a decent size, 25 or so with a couple of quick looking people but I came in with no real expectations so I just made sure I was in a decent gear ready for the rolling start.
Got off pretty well, inside the top ten ready for the usual swapping of places on the first lap while everyone kills themselves to try and move up. I was in a group of 6 with 3 or so out front and was blowing out my arse to be honest but from previous experience I knew this feeling would pass and I’d settle down. Going through the river bed on the first lap it appeared the lead rider of the group had found a smooth, ninja line around part of it and the rest of us followed suit, there was a nagging feeling that this technically wasn’t the course but no tape and no shouting from the marshal convinced me otherwise. The group splintered soon after this.
The next lap I’d settled down, caught a rider or two, dropped by a few others and used the ninja line again around part of the river bed. The 3rd lap was similar apart from getting to the river bed the ninja line had been taped off! Looks like it wasn’t aloud after all! Bugger, felt guilty now. Ah well. Pushed on. Going into the finial lap my legs were screaming on every one of the many steep, sharp climbs but there was still a rider in sight that I thought I might be able to catch. I pushed as hard a I could but didn’t appear to going any faster due to the build up of pesky lactic acid. I reckon I was just about closing the gap but it wasn’t enough to make any sort of inroads into him sadly.
Crossed the line completely rinsed but pleased with how it went and how the bike and body felt. Got back to the car and had a quick natter to the blokes in the car next to us (one of whom turned out to be Mike Hall who is one of the top 24hr racers in the country), packed up the car and shot off for other Easter Sunday errands.
Quick check of the results today showed I finished 7th. Pretty happy with that, not spectacular but not bad either, about what I expected and so as I sit here eating another cream egg I cant help but feel content (but mainly tired).