Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Southern XC Round 4 Crow Hill

Having 5 races on back to back weekends is a tough ask both physically and mentally. How do you plan your training around this kind of schedule, how do you maintain your form, can you recover quickly enough, and can you have the mental strength to push your body to its extreme each weekend. In previous years I’ve struggled with this kind of race scheduling but when the season is as compressed as it is this year it’s a problem that’s hard to avoid. I cracked mentally the week after National Marathon Champs, being the 4th best marathon racer in the country is a great achievement but I’d gone to Scotland to win a medal, driving home without one hurt. I couldn’t get my head back before last weekends National XC race which meant a none finish, my head just wasn’t in it from the start. The only way to resolve the issue was to have some fun on my bike and enjoying riding again forgetting the tough training regime of intervals and zones elite riders religiously follow.

Last week I enjoying riding some awesome dusty dry trails and logging in some good miles, just what the doctor ordered. On Saturday after a fun 4 hours mountain biking I was repacking the race bag for another race, the Southern XC Series round 4. It had been about 3 years since I last raced at Crow Hill but I had fond memories of the circuit, it’s a tough one with plenty of short sharp climbs, loamy loose corners and bone shaking roots.

Off the start I jumped into second place following Ade Lansley into the first singletrack, Mike Cotty took over second place for a couple of minutes but I was keen to keep the rear wheel of Ade in sight. A lapped rider in a different category then came between us on a tight bit of singletrack with Ade managing to jump in front of him at the last opportunity. By the time we exited the trail Ade has a gap which I failed to shut down quick enough.

The gap opened slowly over the remainder of the race with me happy enough to take things steady and not risk loosing second. Ben Sumner caught me at the end of lap 2 and took over the pace making. At the start of lap 4 I attacked on the early climbs where I felt stronger than my rival, the gap developed to over a minute by the end of the 5 lap race. Ade took the win, I was second, and Ben Sumner took the final step on the podium.

Thanks to John from Vermont Images for doing my bottles and taking photos

My legs weren’t particularly fresh having trained hard during the days leading into the race, it would have been good to have challenged Ade for the win but I was happy to be back on the podium and secure some decent series points. That’s 2 second places in the last 2 Southern XC events; I’ll be hoping to take the win at the series final in a few weeks time.

On Tuesday 12th of June I fly to the Czech Republic for my next race, the European Marathon Championships!

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