It was a pretty soft podium but I’ll take it all the same 🙂
The National XC champs were local to me this year, almost within spitting distance, which is incredibly rare for any such race, so thought It’d be rude not to go have a play.
I didn’t play with the big boys on Sunday, I wont even kid myself that I’m anywhere near that level so raced in one of the smaller races on Saturday evening. The race being on the evening I thought I’d stick in a 3hr tempo ride in the morning/early afternoon to make sure I got the most out of the weekend but this left little time to sort stuff and ended up racing on my training bike with big, steel chainrings with a ratio of 28, 38 and 48. Hoping the hills weren’t too steep.
I entered Sport cat. but got put in Open as I didn’t have a racing licence, fair enough, didn’t mind as we went off at the same time and completed the same number of laps.
The lap itself was tough (and steep!) in places and the torrential downpours we had throughout the day only added to the fun. I was riding the course blind on the first lap and like a novice to be honest. Not one to usually ride in muddy conditions the only time I encounter them is during races and it shows. I slid off so many times on the first lap with a number of other ‘arse-back, heart-in-mouth, hope-for-the-best’ occasions. I came around on the first lap leading the open field, which was a surprise but was quickly caught by another Open racer who quickly got past me and sailed off into the distance.
2nd and 3rd lap were pretty good, I was clearing most sections now but still felt pretty sluggish but got around, finished 2nd and got on the box.
The plan was to ride back on Sunday and watch some proper XC people tame the course but my legs had other plans as well as wussing out at the stupidly heavy downpours. Ah well. I’ve got one last weekend were I can get in some big miles and make them count for Sleepless in the Saddle two weeks after. Hope it all pans out.