I enjoy racing. I'm regrettably rubbish at it, but still find myself enjoying it. Its always the same on the start line, butterflies in my stomach, the knowledge that I won't do well, the hope that I will.
My biggest problem when it comes to racing has often been limited by many factors. It used to be that I didn't drive, then it was more there just weren't any local races nearby. Then I have a family and my time is even more limited. As my children grow older the opportunity to race has increased. There is now a great local little race series were I could compete in four or five races through the spring and summer. One a month is not a great many to big racer types but when substituted with some road racing its enough for me.
I did couple last year when the North East series started (after a ten year absence). It was great fun, sadly I just wasn't prepared enough for off road racing again. It had been many years since my last and I'd spent lots of my riding time on my road bike. Worse still I was supposed to ride Masters Cat, which is a whole mixture of racers who used to ride Elite, Expert and Sport which meant a very varied field. I managed to wangle my way into Sport Cat but even then I got hammered! I ended up about 3/4 of the way up the field. Still at least I wasn't last. My climbing was competitive, its a shame the same couldn't be said for my technical skills!
This year I really want to race again. After a year on I'm itching to start training and race again.
I was looking with interest at the race videos that I posted in a recent blog for turbo training boredom. It features some local US races. I was quite struck by how low key it was but also how bad the courses were to race on. Don't get me wrong, the singletrack looked great fun to ride on but apart from maybe one climb it was ALL singletrack meaning that there was just no overtaking areas. That would just annoy me. You'd just have to hope someone would let you pass.....or they fell off. Also, wheres the spectators? How lonely can a race get out there?
So I thought I'd show some video footage of the last MTB race I did last year. This took place at Dalby Forest which also hosted a World Cup round and is fairly typical of races in the UK
As a last note this is being ridden by pros who make this look fast. In the 3rd video the climb at the beginning is seriously steep. I very rarely engage my granny ring (small ring) even in the steep hills of Scotland but I'd have not managed without. It was a very testing course for that reason!!