Wednesday, March 27, 2013

First Mountain Bike Race in 21 years, a Lovely Man and Wonderful Friends.

The British Cycling National Series Part I was a bit like your average 'cross course.  Snow encrusted,  muddy, single-tracky in places.

I gridded with the vets, eventually - on my own line up because no-one was being disciplined about the start line.  It was a good position from which to avoid the two crashed riders in front of me.

By the treeline I was able to chase someone down but by the first bend they had passed me back and I chomped through the mud, slowly and alone.  The two riders who had crashed soon passed me on  my old-style heavy Specialised Rockhopper.  It was time to start enjoying myself.

I chatted to the marshals and 'had a go' at riding everything.  To my embarrassment  I didn't because I actually hadn't taken the opportunity to recce the course, but I think - given a third lap - I could have done so.

I had so much time on my hands that I stopped to remove my long trousers - which I hadn't dared to take off in the cold until they started to venture into my chain-ring, get destroyed and really start to piss me off.

I could've carried on going for another lap, endurance style.  This race was the one field that let my Forestman training down for this week.  I'm not sure I can claim an 11km MTB race quite equals the training I would have gotten from a 55mile road bike ride but given the skiing on the Saturday, I don't think a 55 mile road ride would have been possible - not in the peak anyway.

Most of all I enjoyed the day because Gen Whitson accompanied me.

She came down from Edinburgh on the train on Saturday and we went to my favourite bike shop - Langsett cycles - to get her bike finished as she was missing some bits!  It's a good job we did because her sponsors got stuck in the snow in Staffordshire and I was able to claim that me and Andrew and the Vanu got Gen to a race when her team didn't.

Gen and I walked home from the bike shop through the snow, hulking gear and flopped out at the house to pasta and gossip and taking the piss out of the cat who responded by demonstrating his manlihood by attacking the carpet.

TSK gave us the space to be girls and swept me off to bed to rest before racetime.  He worked tirelessly to unearth the vanu from its snowy enclave so we could get to the race and was the most lovely team supporter I have, seconded only by Crispin Doyle.

It was great to see Anna Chipullo and her red hair in real life and to cheer for my team mate, Hannah Saville in the girls' race.  I met new people (courtesty of Gen Whitson) in the cafe which means I am officially a groupie.  I also pretended that Gen's superb bike was mine for a little while - by taking it for a spin around the car park.  Unfortunately I couldn't find Nick Craig to show off in front off.  Me don't thinks he would've been impressed though.  Hannah was, momentarily, the brunt of my Tomfoolery but I think even she saw through me.

A day filled with support and laffs with a bit of biking in the snow thrown in for good measure.

I don't believe it gets better than this.

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