Thetford Round 2...
I prepared for this race exactly the same way as i had for round 1, probably mentioned this before but i am quite superstitious when it comes to racing.. i fear change:)
Training was just 2 turbo trainer sessions during the week and a steady road ride yesterday with Stuart.
On a side note the road ride was awesome... a real fresh winter morning, clear blue skies and some quiet roads..
Sunday morning.. Rain Rain Rain
All the way to the race it poured down..
Got to race 1 hour before start, surprisingly early for me... no signing on again but collection of last rounds prizes, nice selection of energy product, every little helps.
Quick chat with Matthew (Barton) and Paul ( West) before the pre race toliet pit stop.
Got changed into race kit.. in the rain.. and got to start ( not before forgetting my race number and having to go back to car).
New start system being employed at this race with starters for varying races held in different pens.. great idea and worked well.. managed to get myself to second row in 4 hour pen.
Fast.. ridiculously fast start.. i was out the saddle full on sprinting for a fair way... usual suspects at the front with a few new faces.
Billy Joe Wenham ( Marin), Paul Ashby ( Fat Birds cc) and Adrian Scott (Freeride) took an early flyer.. i settled in with Luke Smith ( Whyte racing) and Shaun Hurrell (Glendene cc)... pace was high and going was soft and muddy... best described by Matthew after the race as 'ploughing' not riding.
You know its a quick start when you can taste blood on the first lap.... bike was working really well, Dave at TSW had previously tweaked my forks (again, Think they are past their prime) and set up felt good.
Pace for first few laps continued to be full on... Shaun dropped off my wheel on lap 2 and i manage to bridge the small gap that had formed back onto Luke Smith's wheel... riding with someone aswell known as Luke is a little disheatening as he his known by everyone and gets plenty of support while you are left trying to stay with him.
By mid way on my fourth lap whilst in amongst some backmarkers Luke pulled away from me... i had nothing to respond with suffering my usual mid race lul.. i wasn't worried as i can usually pick up some places later on in race.
Race course was really soft and at time such hard going.. the last race i was in the big ring all the way round.. this time there was a section that i had to shift into the middle.. think this was also partly me paying for the effort at the start.
The second bombhole caused a few issues today.. route was changed a little around lap 3, where a guy in front of me did the perfect 'over the bars' dismount but thankfully he seemed okay.. by the fourth lap they had taken it out completely.
By starting my fifth lap i had been caught up by a couple of racers in the 4 hour race but was content to measure my effort till the end.. after all at this point we had 2 hours left to race and with some calories and energy drink i could put some quick final laps in..
Fifth lap is where my race ended... flowing through 'The Beast' i washed out on small bombhole... first pain was instant cramp in my hamstring.. after standing pain shifted instantly to my right knee... not sure what i landed on but i couldn't walk... i tried to walk it off but had to stop a few times.. decided to call it a day and cut off course..
Gutted.. not in best position and suffering but in hindsight the gaps were big behind me and smaller in front so race wasn't over for me uptill the crash... i think i could have one legged it for better place than what i ended up with...
Everyone who races will understand how depressing it is not being able to finish a race... we spend a large chunk of our lives and income on the sport and it all comes down to race day.. well this has forced me to make some decisions about races.. do i continue with the plan to go Strathpuffer 24 or do i race Thetford rd 3... as with the winter series 3 out of 4 count so i could put this one behind me.. maybe a decision to be made whilst cleaning the ton of crap of my bike tomorrow with a clear head.
Unfortunately the day claimed a few more victims... George Budd ( salsa racing) only managed 4 laps, Anthony White ( extreme Endurance) 3 laps and Shaun Hurrell ( Glendene cc) 2 laps... its is becoming clear that the best riders pick their battles... better to call it a day when its not going well to allow you to get back to training and focusing on the next one.