It's been a hectic last few weeks for me, with the race season starting and other work and day to day stuff getting in the way, so haven't had a chance to post! Ok, so i'm just a lazy bugger really, but i'll use that as an excuse anyway. On a more positive note, it looks like my winter training has worked very well, as I managed to take 2nd Elite at the first round of the Scottish XC series at Kirroughtree - yeah!!
Being the first time i've ever raced at Kirroughtree, I didn't know what to expect. On saturday practice, I instantly enjoyed the course, and knew it would make for some good racing. After a crazy fast start with adrenaline filled younger riders such as Hamish Creber and Kenta Gallager lining up the start line, I settled into a decent spot around 4th-5th, sitting just behind the lead group. After a couple of laps, I was up with them, and decided to sit pretty to find some recovery. Meanwhile, UK pro Paul Oldham had shot off up front (no suprises there!). So, I pushed on with the group behind, and was soon setting the pace at the front. I decided to put a few digs in on the climbs, and as the laps dwindled down, Hamish and the Irish (?) rider fell back, so it was soon just me and young Kenta Gallagher. On the 2nd last lap, I pulled a small gap, and unfortunately he punctured so all I had to do was push on and 2nd spot was mine. I had caught glimpses of James Fraser Moodie behind, so didn't want to back off too much, knowing he can be strong at the end of a race. Thankfully, all went well and I took the credible 2nd spot - what a great start to the season! :-)
The weekend after, I was heading on down to Nottingham for the 1st Round of the British XC. Having recovered pretty well after SXC1, I was looking forward to racing with top UK pro and Elite riders. Now first of all, let me just say that this wasn't your typical Scottish XC race course. It was FLAT. Like pan flat! So I didn't fancy my chances being of a smaller build, but it should make for some fast racing (or so I thought).
With 50 riders lined up to start, I was gridded 2nd or 3rd row from the back. Unfortunately, after a frantic paced start, another rider came into me, took me down along with a few others and there was instant carnage and bikes flying everywhere. I took a rather nasty blow to the head, breaking the rear of my helment which caused me to black out for a moment. I was kneeled down, when the ambulance crew came running over, but I decided to get up and try and continue. By that time, I was dead last by quite a margin, but managed to claw back 4 places on lap 1. Realising I was hurting from the crash, things kind of just went downhill from there. My lower leg was swollen and sore, with that and some bike mechanical issues on lap 5, my race came to an end. Bugger! That's racing for you!
Once back home, I realised the crash had taken more out of me than expected. I should have really gone to get checked over, but just wanted to get going (as you do when things don't go well). Having decided a few days off the bike would be best, I delved into a state of complete exhaustion for the whole week, sleeping 10-12 hours each night. Also, I had this terrible headache that wouldn't shift. However, the cuts and scrapes healed up quickly, and by the weekend, things were looking up and I ventured out for some easy spinning. Right now i'm feeling back to my usual self thank goodness, which is just as well as I have a race next weekend, which is SXC round 2 at Aberfoyle - bring it on!
Anyhow, enough for now. The photo above is from SXC round 1, just after I caught the front bunch. Great race. For now - turbo for some interval work before the caffiene kick wears off ;-)