Well that didn’t got to plan. The great tails of the Pippingford course, got me out of my rehab and off to the races. Technical, fast, short hard climbs, everything I love and suits my riding. I was prepped and as the race was only 40 mins away I was at the course in plenty of time to get a practice lap in. Well it was needed, to work out the lines to “run”. Pippingford hadn’t enjoyed the bone dry spell we have only 20 miles south, in Brighton.
May have changed the Racing Ralf to a Rocket Ron but I dont think the Ron would have really been that much better on the exposed clay climbs. I certainly would have made sure my (unused for a long time) granny was working. Over 2,000 ft climbed in an XC race not usual for me.
So to the race, this was the second race in the series so everyone from race one (I wasn’t one of these) was gridded. I line up about 45th, so lots of work to do on lap one. Other than missing my pedal I got a good start and skipped about 20 riders. Over the next half a lap made up more spots getting in to 10th as I crossed the line for lap two. I could hear two riders coming up to me and held them off for the majority of lap two we traded places and I got back in front keeping my position.
Lap three things start to go a bit wrong, build up of crap on the gears leave the front mech rubbing and chain sucking every time I switch gear. I had a plan that running certain sections was quicker than slipping and sliding with the Ralf, this was detrimental to the back twinge. Another slip of the back wheel and a right foot dab sends shock waves through the spine. I loose focus with the nagging pain, 3 crashes later I’m really cheesed off. Perhaps I’ve come back to racing too soon. The final lap was a coast to the finish, at points I was ready to can it and go home but I suffered through and finished the pain fest in 13th. Not to bad as I only dropped an extra spot after duelling for 10th. The final lap was 9 minutes slower than my first. Time to be sensible and get well and strong.
My lesson – recover fully and then train before racing. Otherwise it will be a longer road.
Thanks to the team, Euan and Mike for pictures and the shouts