RACE REPORT: Chesterfield XCE

I have to admit to being a bit lax here – ever since I finished my PGCE my brain has kind of just switched off. I’m not saying I haven’t been busy. I’ve been riding, racing and doing numerous household jobs (like building rabbit hutches, putting together a new workbench and looking after my daughter whilst Lizzie goes back to work).

Anyway, updates! Had a few events since the last update, but as I haven’t been feeling on top form I have just been concentrating on smaller races and trying to get myself in some kind of form ready for SSUK15.

Training has been a bit hit and miss this year with regards to doing my PGCE, looking after my daughter and keeping the wife happy. I have to thank Melissa over at Potential Energy and Training with regards to this and for coaching me this year, it is so much easier when time crunched to know that someone is helping you to make the absolute best use of your time and energy. As a result so I have been concentrating more on smaller grassroots racing and taking the opportunity to do races and events I wouldn’t normally do. The FNSS this year has been great – previously I’d only done one or two, specifically those at Mallory Park. This year I’ve had the opportunity to race a bit of a broader spectrum, heading down to Milton Keynes to race at the Bowl, Kenilworth at the golf course, Hicks Lodge and Mallory.

The Bowl was an unusual race – we turned up just minutes before the race, so only had time to get in a very quick scouting lap and as we decided not to take it too seriously, Nathan dared me to race in my (very baggy) shorts. So I did. For a lap. Then they annoyed me so much I stopped beside the finish line, took them off (I had bibshorts on underneath!) and carried on. How do people race in baggies?! It was horrendous!

The course was pretty fun regardless, very very dusty though. Really taught me to just concentrate on loading the front wheel and not to race in baggies…
Kenilworth was quite simply racing on the paths around the golf course. The actual course was very dull, but the racing was fun as Tom from EHF/Velopro really kept me on my toes throughout. Cheers for that…!

Hicks Lodge and Mallory were both great courses on the other hand. Hicks Lodge used all my favourite sections of the trail centre with a sloggy grassy climb to the finish line whilst Mallory kept to the MX track and had a lot of tight hairpin corners and some properly technical sections. I did quite well in both races, finishing 5th, meaning I have moved up to 5th overall in the standings. I’ve been really pleased with racing the FNSS this year. I love the fact that you can have never raced an MTB before yet line up next to Elite riders and race for an hour all out for just a tenner. And the fact that it is so laid back that the atmosphere is welcoming and you can always find someone to ride with.

Unfortunately, in comparison the Chesterfield round of the XCE was just disappointing. Last years race seemed to have a lot less waiting around in between heats, it actually had a semifinal and a final race which gave the day a bit more purpose and a lot more fun. I’m well aware that these races are hosted by volunteers and that it was only £8.00 to race, but it just seemed like a bit of a flop. On the positive side the course was good, I just wished I could have had more races and less waiting around. I haven’t really been doing the Midlands series this year, apart from the Champs where I picked up my SS title, so I had planned to do the XCE as I enjoyed it so much. It just seems like such a shame it couldn’t quite live up to expectations.

I do have one or two events left before my big goal of the year – the SSUK Championships! I also have a couple of reviews to post up too, watch this space…

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