Round 2 of the British Mountain Bike Race Serieswas held in the huge Dalby Forset area of North Yorkshire this weekend. This event was run on the brand new World Cup 2010 bid course, built specifically for this test event and attracted a huge turnout of quality riders.
I had to go up on Sunday morning as Holly had a Greese show on Saturday. The race formed part of my speed training in the build up for the National Trailquest Champs and MTBO selection races on the 16th May.
When I got there I was warned by several people it would be a very good idea not to try and ride the course blind, in fact Mammoth Rider Darrell Upton indicated it would be dangerous. So baggy trousered, looking completely out of place, I set off between races for a quick look see at a couple of the more ‘interesting’ parts of the course. It immediately became apparent that this was a good move, it being the most technical course I have ever ridden, which I suppose it should be being a ‘World Cup’ Course. Right trouser leg tucked into my sock I ended up finding the best lines and practicing some of the drop offs getting more nervous about the race to come. With the thought of doing serious damage to myself the week before a selection race I made the decision there and then to get off and use my running legs on the two bonkers descents- the drop off into Worry Gill and Medusa’s Drop. Although both fairly rideable (although I’m still not sure I’d have the bottle to do the Worry Gill drop off – see You Tube videos below) in race conditions with other riders all around and particularly when tired later in the course, I’m not in the business of risking my neck to save a few seconds.
So starting well towards the back of the grid I had to queue quite a bit at the entrance to the first single track but the race thinned out quite quickly and I got stuck in. I had a huge moment on one drop off where I just recovered by throwing my weight back, and decided on the next lap to run that section as well. With the heart pumping near max, the whole course was really exciting and other than having to pull over to let the leading Vets train pass on the second lap it was just non stop action.
Fellow British MTBO team mate Andy Conn was riding in the vets and I was interested to see how I would perform against him. Starting a couple minutes behind me he caught me on the climb after Medusas drop on the second lap, but it was good too see him wimping out on it and running down as well. I stayed with him up the big climb but he soon pulled away as I started to tire.
My last lap saw a few more mistakes as I grew tired, and was happy to be lapped just before the final section round the 4 cross track, meaning I didn’t have to go out for the 4th lap. My legs wern’t too bad but I was worried about making a technical mistake when tired and hurting myself properly, as I had witnessed some huge crashes during the event. The loopy 4 cross section just before the end of the lap was great and I managed a strong finish to come in 50th in 90 mins about 8 mins down on Andy.
Full report and results available at the British Cycling website, here.