That was fun. Really hard and tiring, but fun. This weekend kicked off the 27th year of the FNSS at Borough Hill – a venue that I’ve never raced at before and thoroughly enjoyed. It was nice to see a couple of customers come and race for the first time in a very long time – I even ended up lending one of them my titanium Kingdom hardtail to race on.
It was followed on Sunday with Round 3 of the Midlands XC and the first one I’ve done this year due to the distances. Dry, dusty and a great laugh!
What a massive weekend. Over 300 miles (or over 500km if you’re metrically inclined), 10,000kcal consumed and over 20 hours in the saddle. Thankfully, we did manage to raise a frankly awesome £8000 for charity as a result!
We set off on Saturday morning towards Wales, riding via Cannock Chase and Telford, before stopping for the night in Ludlow. Sunday’s ride included 87 miles of the finest Welsh roads (and the Long Mynd!) before heading back to Ludlow followed by 110 miles back home on Monday. It was a long, 900TSS weekend!
Unfortunately, another race that didn’t go entirely to plan! Having struggled with trying to recover fully after my two crashes at Sherwood, my attendance at this race was really touch and go for a couple of weeks. However, I did make it to Dalby and it seemed to be the bike’s fault this time, rather than my own!
An eventful start to my National series this year, for sure! Two heavy crashes is not the way you want to start a season…
My goals this year aren’t too lofty, last year I took it quite steady. A mixture of a growing family, more responsibility at work and (if I’m being 100% honest) some issues with anxiety and depression meant I needed to take a break from racing seriously. I did a few of the FNSS races but stayed away from Regional races and only did Dalby on the National circuit cos it’s a really fun course. I also started my own coaching company – www.owncoaching.co.uk (Only What’s Necessary and Only When Necessary!) and that’s sucked up a lot of time. It’s really helped me to focus on my own riding goals and help a few others along the way. Do get in touch if you’re interested!
As the FNSS was unfortunately cancelled due to recalcitrant landowners, I decided to do a Mallory road race instead this week. However I’ve been feeling a little flat this week, so I wasn’t expecting miracles. My end goal was the same as the last Mallory race, just to finish in the pack.
Wow, I really think this was the toughest race I’ve ever done! Not only was the course hilly and hard work, the almost continual rain meant it was close to impossible to stay upright too!
I had high hopes for this race going into it as I’ve done very well in Wales before at Nationals and the course sounded pretty good so I felt pretty psyched. I just really wanted the weather man to be wrong as he had forecasted heavy rain. I don’t mind racing in the rain, I’d just read on Singletrackworld that this course was close to being unrideable when it was wet.
Interesting race, only my second 2/3/4 road race I’ve ever done and rather disconcertingly, I got dropped from the first one. This race used the whole circuit, including the hill to the finish line. My whole game plan was simply to not get dropped, and to try and finish in the pack. I wasn’t too interested in competing for the sprint – this was more of an intense training session for me instead. Attacks came and went, but none of them really managed to stick. A few times I felt like I was going to struggle to hang on, but I managed to stay in the bunch. I decided not to try and do any work on the front, but just to hide in the bunch and try to finish well. Coming into the very last corner I found myself on second wheel, and at the base of the climb everyone suddenly went for it! I had a go at competing for the sprint and managed to come in a rather respectable 17th – I was happy enough with that!
This was quite frankly one of the best events I think I’ve ever done! Definitely a Type 1 fun kind of day – the kind of event that makes you realise just how much fun really hard events can really be.
If you’ve never heard of Tough Mudder they organise mud run events throughout the country. Think of a 12 mile cross country run with lots of really fun obstacles and you’re about halfway from the truth. Add in thousands of people who are all in together, a huge sense of camaraderie, an enormous sense of teamwork and several hundred tons of mud and you’re about bang on!
Yesterday was the third round of the British Cycling National XC Series at Dalby Forest. Whilst still being really quite tired from the weekend, I’d first like to say that was just the best race course I’ve raced on in a long time! However, I am paying for it somewhat today in terms of lethargy and aches.
As a Nathan might say, that was definitely Type 2 fun.
In brief, the preparation and the race went well, the only downer was not having a low enough gear to really push it on the climbs! I think the slogan for the weekend would have to be looking fast, slowly….