Monday, 23 January 2012

First race, first win! Brass Monkey 22 January 2012

First races of the year are always nervous days, no matter how well your training has gone over the winter there’s still an unknown of how well your body will cope with racing.

It’s only down to the hard work of all 16 sponsors that I made the start line today, last year I didn’t get my race bike until early April so I have to thank all the sponsors for meeting the tight deadlines which I was pursuing. Thanks also to Mountain Trax for getting the bikes built so quickly.

Starting the season at a Brass Monkey race has become a tradition for me over the last 3 years since the race series began. These races have helped me build early season form and I’m convinced racing these events on wet winter days was a huge help towards my success at last years Kielder 100 in those torrential conditions. No such bad weather on Sunday though as patchy blue skies and mild temperatures warmed the race arena.

Having missed the first 2 races of the series opting to train through the winter I wouldn’t be gridded at the start and therefore found myself back on the third or fourth row. Off the start I managed to negotiate my way through the pack and took a wide line around the first left hand 90 degree turn on the fireroad passing loads of people who choose the tight inside line.

By the time we entered the first singletrack I had the leader in my sight and sped past at the first opportunity. From then onwards I kept the tempo high edging out a lead over the chasing riders. My biggest troubles for the remainder of the race were negotiating hundreds of backmarkers and lapped riders which can prove pretty tricky when people are getting tired in a long endurance event.

Over the first 4 laps my lap times were nearly as quick as the 2 hour winner which was good news. The bike was fantastic and worked perfectly, I choose Kenda Slant Six tyres which hooked up well in the dry conditions and rolled really quickly. The race course was fantastic fun with the 29er Hope wheels and Fox F29 forks ironing out the bumps.

It was great to win the first race of the season and I hope it’s the first of many victories this year. Next up I have another hard 2 weeks of training before my next race which is the first round of the Gorrick Spring Series.

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