Proper Cross After a few sunny/warm early season dirt crits it was finally time to …
All’s well that ends well
If someone had told me in April I’d be 15th in the Scottish Championships I’d have laughed at them, but a concerted effort over the summer to get some fitness back, meant that off the back of Blairadam, and the huge boost of winning at Balloch, I arrived at Forfar relaxed and with some form in my legs.
After a chilled drive up with fellow META coached athlete Craig Owen we went for a spin around the course. Last year it was one of my favourite courses, but this year’s version was even better, the entire lap (even the brutal first climb) I had a grin on my face and was really looking forward to the race.
Once the gun went it was a mad dash to the narrow gap in the stone wall that lead out of the park and onto the first climb, the incredibly tough climb to the war memorial. I settled into a rhythm on the climb and started to peg back and reel in the guys that had gone hard form the gun. At the top of the climb we dropped into the playground that was the old slate quarry, with the bomb holes and short sharp climbs, brilliant fun.
From there another climb and a traverse across the top of the hill before dropping down a long rooted decent before crossing the bridge back into the park. Rinse and repeat 4 times.
Big thanks to Gary Johnston & Craig (after double flatting) for helping out with bottles for me, it’s the first time that I’ve concentrated on drinking and eating efficiently during a race and I felt a lot better for it.
One thing that I need to concentrate on more is being consistent in my lap times, I did a great lap on lap 1, but was 2 minutes slower on lap 2 another minute on lap 4 and 45 seconds on lap 4. The aim is to try and reduce the gaps between laps and be stronger at the end of races. I think I’ve probably got the ability to go faster, but as the race spreads out and the incentive of riders in front disappears mentally I switch off a bit.
If I’d avoided the severe drop offs in lap times I’d have finished in 11th place. with a group of guys all within 4 mins of me at the finish.
A big positive was my handling on the descents, something that’s always been an area I want to improve on and core strength is something James will be pushing me hard on through the winter in the gym.
So the end of a short 4x race MTB season, that finished pretty much where I finished a year ago. So not the progress I wanted at the end of last year, but I’ve learned probably more this year in terms of mental strength and understanding the whole process or training much better.
Now to see if I can transfer some of this fitness into the cross season and carry the motivation through to January and building for 2017.