Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Racing against the Big Ring - Rd 2 North East MTB XC League - Ferryhill

Racing on your home ground is always exciting.  This race was a literal two minute ride to the start line and with the course unaltered from last year was promising to be just as fast and furious as last year.  I remember that hard chases from last year and had kept it in my pocket.  I knew about the sharp off camber bend the long fireroad straight and short but steep climb.  In fact I'd practised it for most of the winter.

This was not a course that suited my Single speed.  Fast courses never are, as you have to spin so hard to keep up and when your following a wheel and they shift up into the big ring there is little you can do to answer such speed. But, it was dry and not really technical which meant I wasn't going to loose time there.

Photo with thanks to Paul @ Clarkson Photography Grass Root Sports UK

46 of us started on the start line and we would be soon channelled into a narrowing track before hitting the single track.  It was bound to get messy as people jostled for position trying to make the holeshot, and I found myself blocked in by two riders not holding a very straight line.  Come an early banked corner and some riders were nearly crashing into each other causing me to have to dismount, loosing a couple of places in the process.  After that the lap was a fairly slow procession with little changing in places as the narrow singletrack kept us in position.  It proved to be the slowest lap.  As soon as we got to the fire road to the finish I pushed hard and took some places and tried to bridge the gap which had formed.

The race as it turns was fun but a hard one for me.  I kept a good pace but found it hard to pick and hold onto peoples wheels.  I'd go through the single track no problem even kept pace with the fast guys on the climb, but come the fireroad and the gaps would form.  A small group of us stayed in contact for a couple of laps until two crashed out just as they'd formed a gap on me.  One guy had got a good minute into me at one point and by the end it was down to ten seconds despite my mad effort to go all out in the last lap.  Still it also appeared I was being chased down but had managed to hold the guy off.  Not that I knew much about that at the time.

In the end I finished 25th, which wasn't quite as good as my last race but I figured that's the way it would be.  I was first place Single speed but then there were only two of us!

Photo with thanks to Paul @ Clarkson Photography Grass Root Sports UK

Overall in the series I'm now in 12th place with the aim of making it into the top ten and 4th in the seniors with the aim of making it in the top five.  Oh and I'm first place in the single speed category.

This video was shot of the junior and senior race from the done and gives a little idea of the action from the day. http://vimeo.com/66053010

Special thanks goes to Paul who was there photographing on the day and for letting me freely use the photos he took of me.  You can see more on is own web page by clicking on the link Clarkson Photogrphy



Oh and who likes the new race kit. Shame you can't see the back and the writing on the back of the shorts!

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