My national mountain bike champs weekend.
I’m just taking a break from the unpacking/ repacking that’s going on here at the moment. Tomorrow I direct the car north in the direction of Shropshire where TORQ HQ is located for lactic and power testing; comparisons to my results in November will be very interesting. I'm unpacking from today’s National MTB Championships where cyclists battled for their category’s stripy champion’s jersey and title of being the best in the UK. For all serious racers this is a huge yearly goal, massive amounts of preparation are put into being at their best for this event.
The weekend began on Friday with a video shoot with the BBC London news, the report was about the national champs and future stars that had a chance of winning a title at the race today. Steven James and myself met with the BBC and Henry Turgoose from the race organisation for an interview session out on the trails. The results of a few hours work were broadcast to about a million views during the 6.30 bulletin.
On Saturday I did 2 slow laps of the Pippingford track and 1 tempo lap. The 4.6 mile course was hard work and a real power rider’s course. There was a large amount of singletrack which required constant concentration. It was also really bumpy on the hardtail bike. After a bit of pre race bike maintenance I was off home to watch the tour de france whilst relaxing on the sofa. I was super confident going into the race and although I knew there was a clear favourite I planned to be in a position where I could grab first place should David Fletcher make a mistake.
Off the start line on Sunday I failed to get into the top 3 of David Fletcher, Billy Joe Whenman and Seb Batchelor, this trio quickly created a gap over us chasers, I knew I had to react fast and therefore attacked on the first fireroad climb. By half way round the lap I was with the top 3, however just after I bridged the gap David Fletcher made his race winning move which I couldn’t follow. Going onto the 2nd lap he had already opened a decent gap, Seb had dropped off the back unable to handle the pace. Billy was suffering as well and unable to make any contribution to the pace, I steadily upped the speed until he couldn’t keep up any longer.
On the 3rd lap David had some kind of mechanical allowing me to take the lead, I was unaware of this until he chased me down and then attacked away from me on the same climb he’d used to escape on lap 1. The race was really tough and on the 4th lap I was suffering, John Pybus got pretty close to me going onto the last lap but I quickly put the throttle down and edged out a more comfortable gap.
By the finish I was completely ruined and rolled across the finish line to take the silver medal behind Fletcher who took the gold, and Pybus who took the Bronze. 2nd place in the race is a satisfactory result, Fletcher was on superb form today and could have got a medal in the senior race. Looking at the lap times if I could have held on for another lap I could have taken a top 5 finish in the seniors. As well as collecting the silver medal the result comes with a nifty 60 UCI world ranking points which will hopefully fire me well up the world standings into the top 300.