Mud, Sweat and Gears Series ( Eastern XC Series ) Race Report by Adam Hinchcliffe
Following on from my opening blog; it was my first race of the season a couple of weeks ago down in London at the Olympic Park for the Eastern XC series set up by the Mud, Sweat and Gears gang!
Nerves we’re already setting in prior to the race at least two/three weeks before he kick off as I was wondering on how many possible outcomes of the race were there going to be? Not only with these thoughts but also with dark thought on, am I going to be fit enough? Am I going to be on form? etc. etc.
I have done a few of these events set up by the MSG guys and what a day they put on!
For most of the races below Birmingham (usually generally I class anything below Sheffield as the South or southerners!), I tend to go down the night before to get myself fully prepared before the event; I know there are some guys who do the one shot hit, but for me it suits to head down the day before. I can usually pre ride the course familiarise myself, and set myself up for the following day. I have always believed in the four P’s! ( Poor Planning = Poor Performance).
We arrived the night before nice and relaxed, recce’d the course and completed basic admin tasks, and then settled for dinner in London with friends before a nice night’s sleep.
The course was fantastic, man-made but great! A fast flowing single track course with many opportunities to overtake and take the lead! Not amazingly technical which suited me, but nonetheless exciting! We had a number of rock gardens to contest with nice following berms which when perfectly dry can gain some speed out of!
Race day came along too quickly! Before knew it, we were up and having breakfast and away to the event!
Once parked up I went through my normal routine firstly signing on followed by checking bike, checking gear, preparing pre-race, race and post-race fuel and getting my post-race clothes ready!
I started off with my warm up and gently jogged for ten/fifteen minutes followed by a couple of warm up laps to gauge myself against the others, I met up with a couple of guys form my previous season racing who I went around with which helped relax my nerves.
The start was soon approaching…
I was on the start line right at the front in prime position to take the first corner.
The claxon went and we were off! I flew out of the start line like a bullet; I shocked myself. I hit the corner flat out straight onto flat open single track where I powered down. I focused purely on keeping myself out at the front; it was short lived!
The first lap went really quickly and I was nicely placed in the front group, with the 2nd group following closely. I stuck with the guys as long as I could, but unfortunately my handling skills let me down a few times in the corners and I started losing time. 5seconds here 5seconds there!
The second group swallowed me up quick but I was in a good position.
I was happy, It beat being at the back! Laps three, four and five went quickly. The aim for me was to stick in with this second group. It was a great battle taking the lead, dropping back but great in terms of finding out where my skills were, where and what I needed to practice and concentrate on for the future
Lap six came along and my energy started to dwindle. I held on as long as could to the finish.
I came in at 9th in the Elite/Expert category. Probably the best result I have ever had!
It was a positive for me; I learnt a lot but also had shown and proved that my fitness and skills were better than the previous season, and that my training hadn’t been to waste!
Roll on the 19th for the Midlands XC series opener at Sherwood Pines!Author: Tony Booth