The past weekend was the first round of the British Mountain Bike Series at Sherwood Pines. Its a course I know i can go well on, its fast flat nature means there is plenty of opportunity to get the power down and no rest bite from pedaling... perfect for an enduro rider! After finishing 9th last year I would have been disappointed not to be inside the top 5 but secretly i was gunning for the podium.
Sunday arrived and I found myself lining up for my 9th race in 4 weeks! A fast start is essential in Sherwood to avoid bottle necks and to get into the front group. I was pleased to be gridded on the second row so was feeling optimistic. Then the gun went off and, as usual, I cocked it up! I managed to miss my pedal and go from the front of the grid to 4th from last exiting the arena. I do seem to make life difficult for myself. The first lap was spend trying to move up the field without upsetting too many people, but i will admit i was getting a bit cheeky with the overtaking!
Heading into the second lap I caught a Metaltech rider and we worked together nicely for the next 2 laps gradually bring back riders who had gone out too hard. After a while he gapped me accelerating onto a fire road section and i didn't have the zipp in my legs to close the gap so i rode the last part of the race solo.
All the while i could see the lead group on the fire road sections, frustratingly dangling just out of reach. Coming into the final lap my endurance started to pay off and i gradually clawed the gap back. The front group split but entering the final km I caught my Torq team mate Ben Price. I jumped him into the final single track section and managed to hold him off to the line. I finished 5th which was my goal but i am still very annoyed with myself. I saw the top 4 in front of me entering the arena and was a handful of seconds off the podium. If only I hadn't screwed up my start... I cant help feeling that I lost a potential podium in the first 5 seconds of the race!
Check out my race video...
Thats my xc season over for this year. Now the real racing begins starting with a 75km Spanish Cup Marathon in 2 weeks... bring it on!