Just back from the first round of the Scottish MTB series at Kirroughtree, Dumfries. Looking back, this venue was probably where I scored my best result all season last year, with a 2nd place finish behind UK pro Paul Oldham. I was getting the whole pre-race jitters feeling all week about the race and felt confident of my fitness, so was looking forward to getting back onto the MTB race circuit.
Unfortunately, the weekend didn't go quite to plan. On saturday during practice, I did 2 laps pre-ride of the course. I felt good on the bike fitness wise, although perhaps a bit rusty on the technical sections. My confidence grew as on the 2nd lap things were flowing very nicely, so I thought I was on for a good result. However, come race day, I warmed up with fellow racer Dave Henderson and could tell straight away I wasn't feeling so great. Off the start, I decided to pace things out and hold back. I rode with seasoned racer James Fraser Moodie for the first 3 laps, as we sat in around 10th place in a fairly high quality field of riders.
With very little snap in the legs, I was simply struggling to sustain any effort, so decided it wasn't going to be my day and backed off to use the race to hone my bike skills by spinning the climbs and flats and attacking the technical sections (which it was great for - awesome course!). I enjoyed the encouragement from spectators giving shouts of "well ridden" and cheering as I did so, which picked up morale!
I eventually finished in 11th place, which certainly wasn't the result I had hoped for, given the fact i've been going better than ever in training, and putting out the best wattages on the Kurt Kinetic i've ever seen. Admittedly, I haven't been putting in the hours on the Mountain bike as much as i'd have liked, but for me to be that far off the pace was a bit of a suprise. However, although it wasn't my day, I enjoyed the race, and the course was really top class and fun to ride. I'm planning on racing again in 2 weeks time, this time on the road at a Scottish TLI 56mile Road event so it will be interesting to see how that goes.
Over and out!