Sunday, 18 March 2012

Southern XC Round 1 Checkendon 2012

Following Andalucia Bike Race I was super motivated to jump back into training but the morning I was due to fly back home from Spain I started to feel ill, just a little groggy to start with but by the time we’d got to the airport the headaches had started. Sitting on the aeroplane I started to ache all over and my head was thumping. After a rather uncomfortable flight and drive home I was straight to bed and didn’t really get out of bed for about 5 days. I could cope with the flu type symptoms but the headaches were unbearable even strong painkillers didn’t really help, on more than one occasion I consider going to hospital. This virus kept me off the bike for a week, this past week I was able to do some short rides again but my lungs and throat were still really tight causing me to wheeze when putting in any kind of effort. It wasn’t until a couple of days ago I started to feel well enough to start training again.

The long recovery time used up 2 weeks of crucial training leading into this first block of racing and put me into a bad position going into this weekends Southern XC series opener. However after a couple of days training my hopes of a decent finish were back and I was motivated going into the race.

Off the start the pace felt high and my breathing immediately became wheezy, after half a lap I had no choice but to back off the pace letting a group of 4 riders speed off ahead. Riding on my own wasn’t too much fun as the winds on the open farm track around the course were strong and I was wasting energy. Tim Dunford caught me on the 3rd lap, it wasn’t easy but I managed to latch onto his wheel for a lap and a half.

Mid way through the penultimate lap on one of the climb Tim appeared to be slowing, having eased off the gas over the last lap my breathing was now under control and I felt strong enough to gap Tim. The distance between us didn’t really change for the next lap and I rolled over the line in 4th place.

The result is a disappointment but it does gain me valuable series points and a better gridding for round 2 in a month’s time. Now I look forward to my next race which is the 8 day stage race the Cape Epic in South Africa which starts next weekend! Look out for updates on the twitter feed @benthomas88

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