After a fun week of marathon racing in Europe it was back to the real job of cross country racing today for round 3 of the British Mountain Bike Series. The series up till today hadn’t gone to plan with round 1 ending in disaster as I faded from a possible top 10 position to outside the top 20 in the closing stages of the races, and round 2 was also a day to forget. However today’s Wasing Estate venue suits my strengths and I was hopeful of matching or improving last years 6th place result.
Rain Saturday evening and Sunday morning making the course greasy and further rain was expected during the race so I opted for the intermediate Schwalbe Nobby Nic tyres, these tyres hook up well in the mud but roll almost as well as any dry tyre.
From the start I felt really strong sitting behind the front 5 riders through the first few sections of singletrack, a small mistake though created a gap which proved hard to close. Another rider jumped in front of me but I needed a clear view of the slippery singletrack to have the best chance of catching the leaders so didn’t wait long before making an overtake. At the end of first lap I was just 2 second behind the leading group.
Over the next lap the gap increased slightly but the riders ahead remained in sight, however on the early climbs I could already feel tiredness creeping in. With my current form perhaps I should have known the start pace was unsustainable but top 5 is the target so had to be chased. Paying for the early efforts riders behind began to catch me, each time I tried to hook onto the back of them but couldn’t hold the pace.
Half way through the race the rain clouds emptied upon Wasing turning the greasy top surface into a muddy mess. As further riders slid their way past me I’d moved into survival mode, heart rate levels had dropped and the mission became to salvage the best result I could.
Loosing another 2 places on the penultimate lap was a kick in the back as I dropped outside the top 10 but the end was near and I’d be happy to finish. Over the last 17 minute lap I kept my 12th position and crossed the line relieved to have survived the lovely British summer weather we’d be treated to!
There are no excuses for the poor results this year, I just haven’t found the form I had last year. Its time now to put in the hard work and I’m excited about putting together what will hopefully be a good 4 week block of training starting with a 4 hour recovery tomorrow!