First race of 2011 complete, what a relief! I was pretty nervous last night and definitely over thought the race. The big question was whether my hand would survive. My determination to lead down the first fireroad descent to the drop off paid off as unknown to me carnage prevailed behind with multiple riders on the floor. My block pass to take the lead before the descent was a little risky but had to be done, I did have the inside line.
After taking the lead 10 seconds into the race I kept my nose in front for 2 laps pushing the pace as practise for the rapid Sherwood speed we’ll see next week. The objective was to start as fast as possible and then survive to the end. Pretty quickly it was just Jody Crawforth sat on my coattails with Ade Lansley, Chris Minter, and Scott Forbes following shortly behind.
The gap to the chasers increased and by lap 4 they were out of site, Jody and myself were still together though despite both of our efforts to drop each other with multiple attacks on laps 3 and 4. Going into the last lap the pace increased and Jody got a gap on a small short sharp climb, his 10 second advantage he created at that point was just too much to pull back. The gap stayed the same till very near the end of that lap where I faltered on a slippery climb loosing traction and any chance of taking the win. I cruised the last few minutes to the line accepting and enjoying the emotions of completing my first race of the year.
Today was a real battle and an enjoyable ride. My hand survived although it’s a little sore and swollen now. It makes me excited about the next 28 days of racing that lay ahead this year! Next up is round 1 of the British XC Series in a week’s time. Thanks to everyone who shouted support my way today and a huge thank you to Chris White from Mountain Trax for lending me his amazing bike.