After the bad luck struck at National XC Champs in July I began to focus on my next big target the Kielder 100, this meant longer rides and less intervals so I wasn’t sure how the final National XC Series round would go. The course was a fast 6km circuit with short sharp uphill climbs and tight twisty singletrack.
Having only completed one National XC round this year I was gridded back on the 4th row. Off the start riders ahead made a slow start meaning I soon found myself at the back of the field. The open wide climb allowed for overtaking and suited my strengths so I quickly began to make up places. Lap by lap I passed a few more riders until I was inside the top 10, by now I was racing riders selected for the World XC Champs and most are full time cyclists. My third lap was the quickest of all the elite riders and my fourth lap was the second quickest.
Once in a group with brothers Seb and Hamish Batchelor I wasn’t sure how I’d outwit the pair and escape without pacing them but the course naturally split up groups as the climbs were so tough ridden at speed. After a lap I made my move escaping with Paul Oldham who was riding well, Paul gapped me toward the end of lap 5 as my chain slipped on a worn chainring. The worn chainring slowed me down slightly on that lap but kept my pace steady as I was forced to ride smoothly to avoid damaging the bike.
After loosing all my world ranking points this year it felt so good to be back in the points and the money! A strong finish to the series is just what I needed and hopefully next year I can get back on the podium at a National race. To have finished on the podium would have been a fantastic way to say thanks to my sponsors but there’s still time this year with the Kielder 100 and a couple of races in France in October!
Special thanks to my sponsors John from Vermont Images and Chris from Mountain Trax for their fantastic support providing technical and feed support at events.
Thanks for reading.
None of this would be possible without the help of my sponsors
Mountain Trax www.mountain-trax.com
Santa Cruz Bikes www.santacruzbikes.co.uk
Fox Suspension www.mojo.co.uk
Rapid Racer Products www.rapidracerproducts.com
Vermont Images www.vermont-images.co.uk
Kenda Tires www.kendausa.com
Phenix Metabolic www.phxmet.com
Crank Brothers www.crankbrothers.com
Clif Bar www.clifbar.com
Scott UK www.scott-sports.com