Friday, 21 August 2009

SITS.. Awful.. Thetford.. Awesome..

In place of this blog post should have been a great write up of how I went to SITS race… I had a great ride and I took away a good result… there was no reason on my part why this shouldn’t have happened.. I was feeling great.. no bullshit I have been feeling strong and fit and not afraid to have the confidence to say this… after Europe and Selkirk I have really started to feel good on the bike... my bike was running well too… set up is now near perfect and I feel like I can ride this bike forever..a real credit to James at Genesis how great this bike has turned out.

The reality was the race started…. We ran a short 800m lap to our bikes.. my ankle was still dodgy so I took it easy on it.. start was good I climbed strongly passed a lot of people and held the wheel of some good riders relatively comfortably but after only 4 laps I was bored… really bored… there was nothing on this course which really tested.. no hint of a cheeky bombhole or fast flowing descent… there was a slippery short descent which was pot luck over skill to get down. At the start of the 5th lap I had to put my ipod on.. I usually reserve this treat for the night.. even with music the lap was draggy and horribly dull.. the weather was fantastic but this meant the usually muddy ground was now a spongy grassy field.

At the end of the 5th lap Leavsley was waiting for me and after a bit of banter about how awful the course was and the prospect of riding it for 24 hours the talk turned to the more serious note of actually calling it a day.. after a mid lap meeting on the top of the course we decided this was the way to go… if you are not enjoying what you are doing what is the point in doing it.. yes this is a hard format of racing but some enjoyment can usually be drawn from some element of the course where this course was soulless… race over at 6 laps a little over 5 hours in.
After this race I headed to south wales for a family holiday with Grace’s family… near milford haven I had a good few days of long walks.. taking lots of pics and generally relaxing.

A plan however had already been hatched to get the scent of SITS out of my nostrils and get back to a race I enjoyed… Thetford… I have always liked racing there in the winter and have had limited success but more importantly I knew the racing would be fast and the course challenging singletrack through trees.. luckily this year for the first time a summer series has been run.
A long drive from Wales to north London to stay with West… noodles were consumed and bikes set up.

Sunday, race day, weather was great… I opted for the first time ever to opt for a shorter distance than the maximum offer.. instead of the 6 hour I opted for the 4 hour to allow me to leave for the Genesis bikes photoshoot in the peak district late evening.

The start was fast… I was out the saddle and sprinting bmx style… straight up into 4th place… I was great through the fast singletrack until after a long drag we turned to an equally long slight downhill and they changed up gears and I spun out my singlespeed…

The rest of the race went well.. I kept what felt like a consistent pace… used the now tried and tested West nutrional plan which left me nothing to worry about other than the pedalling the bike.. I had planned on completing 8 laps which looked to be easily achievable … a 7.2mile lap which we were lapping in around 30 minutes…

At the end of the 7th lap they announced the rider I was catching in the start finish area as 3rd place.. I had passed him earlier in the lap and he had retook me on a long straight fast descent where again I spun my gear out.. with a podium within reach I gave it all.. he slowed in the feed zone to take a bottle and I opted that I had just enough to finish the lap so gunned it as hard as I could…

I wasn’t turning my usual smooth circles I was smashing the pedals into the ground.. swearing at myself when I went offline by an inch.. it looked like I had opened a gap and I began to think he may have been done but flowing through a section of singletrack I heard the sound of a flapping derailleur.. the sign of a rider closing on your back wheel… 2 hour riders were done..we were faster than the 6 hour riders so it must be him.. I took an uncharacteristic glance back and saw him 5m off my back wheel.. I pressed on harder but he had hooked up into my back wheel and I was gonna struggle to lose him…

Through the final sections of singletrack I smashed my body and bike through.. everything flexing horribly as I soaked up the rolling bumps and tried to smash the bike through as quick as I could… to no avail… this left a long straight… a tight turn.. then a long straight descent into the final bombhole and singletrack.. I knew if I wasn’t in the lead in the last section of singletrack I was done for as I knew I would spin out on the long descent… he made his move on the straight before the turn and I grabbed his wheel… he was riding full suspension.. me fully rigid and I must have been riding mm’s off his back wheel to get sucked along praying he wouldn’t ride straight over a rut or similar that would have snapped me in two.. at the tight turn I made my move down the inside and washed out!! On the floor I swore loudly.. immediately having to apologise to all near me… straight back on the bike I hammered again but to no avail I was 4th by 10 seconds.


This was racing though…. Great course… super fast… tyre to tyre chasing through tight singletrack.. podium or no podium my faith was restored and I am ready.. very ready for the next number to get tied to my bars.. Kielder 100… I can’t wait.

4 comments:

Red Bike said...

Congratulations on Thetford and the best of luck for the K100.

Paul.e said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul.e said...

Thanks..

Feeling very motivated on the bike at the moment which is always half the battle... hoping for some 'biblical' weather conditions for Kielder:)

James @ Genesis said...

A late post but gotta say i can't blame you on SITS, it's a great event but not really an epic ride, at least not for you two