First off a big thank you to everyone in VCM- a mystery package appeared the other day, inside was a trophy for 'Most Combatant Rider'. Cool trophy, cheers.
10 at Kirroughtree, apologies for the time it's taken to get this post on the blog.
Despite a self imposed rest from racing my mtb this year I couldn't help but have a shot at No Fuss' 10 At Kirroughtree. Having ridden the event twice before (as a pair with Andy) I knew the course would be well worth the drive North. Unfortunately Andy was busy so I spent a month or more humming and ahhhing over whether to give it a go solo. The thought of a ten hour race does not really, on the face of it, inspire me too much BUT the Kirroughtree course does. I don't think there are many race courses in the UK I could ride round for 10 hours in the rain and honestly enjoy every lap. A big shout must go to Frazer and the rest of the No Fuss team for having the balls to put on a challenging and fun 'enduro' course. The course had a bit of everything from rooty singletrack to flowing bermed trails and some fire road too- useful for getting in some food and drink!
The race started nice and steady for me- I deliberately hung back and took the first few laps nice 'n easy. This also gave me a chance to say hello to a few old friends. The nature of the course combined with the weather suggested it would be a tough day so no point being a hero in the first few hours! This strategy seemed to pay off as the rain stayed most of the day in varying degrees of severity. I think the rain was worse for those in the pits though as on the bike I didn't really notice it much. A HUGE thank you to my girlfriend Emma who stayed out in the rain all day and every lap had food and drink ready along with water for washing the bike- an awesome job! Thanks also to my Dad and sister for cheering me on in the rain- those shouts definitely helped when the legs were feelin' it!
Buoyed by riding at Kirroughtree I decided to enter my first XC race of the year. August is a touch late to be starting your XC season but this was more for the fun of racing than for searching out ranking points or winning championships. Midlands XC round 3 was within a days drive so seemed worth a shot. Surprisingly the course was a cracker- the first km or so based around a golf course- nothing special- but upon leaving this area the course ducked into some woodland taking in some pretty nice singletrack. Nothing too steep or edgy but some fun trails and a super steep climb, which was a good challenge to clear, had me almost track-standing with a single 39t front chainring. The race went well, not too crazy off the line, settling into about 8th position. Keeping a good pace and entering the final of five laps in fifth place it was a case of give-it-everything for the last lap. I caught the fourth placed rider on the last descent then gave it 100% on a short climb to get well clear by the finish. It's always good to finish a race strongly but crossing the line to find I was only 40sec off third was a touch annoying. Good race though and all laps were within 1min so the endurance is there- just need to up the speed a few clicks.
Since these races training has been going well with things beginning to focus towards the Three Peaks. A quick run up the Old Man of Coniston gave me confidence the fell legs are in reasonable shape. Why is running downhill so bloody painful though? New cross bike is build and ready for the peaks- complete with flat bars and V-brakes (sorry purists!). This set-up seems good if a little alien to begin with; the V's should be just the job on the descents though. This weeks job is to get another set of tub wheels built (34mm Tufo specials) and then equipment should be all ready for the big day.
Training things that seem to be working this month- staying off the caffeine 'till race day then necking a few caffeine gels mid race- BOOM!
If only I can shake the cold and it stops raining all should be grandJ