Well I jumped back on the horse this weekend and knocked out a short course XC race. Bloody hell it was hard! The race was out at Adare as part of a great series called the Wild West Series on a course that is best described as sandy on the flats and rocky on the steeps. While the course wasn't long it had heaps of fun bits in it and the challenge of trying to keep up with riders that are much quicker than me kept me well and truly entertained.
I have never really been fast as a mountain biker, or in any sport I played really. When a short course race happens it is all hands to the oars right from the gun. Just to add a little humor to my story I left my race number in the van and had to bolt back to get it before the race. I got back to the line as my category was lining up with my heart already racing and at the back of the pack. As the race started I got caught in the back markers and had a very slow start. A few times some of the less skilled riders were walking over obstacles which created a traffic jam of epic proportions. Serves me right really. The traffic eased on my second lap a bit and I got into a group of similarly paced riders and we traded places for a while. It was really great to actually feel like I was racing even if it was at the back of the pack.
I dropped the chain a couple of times. Again my own stupid fault as I had realised I needed to adjust the front mech before the race. There is nothing quite so demoralising as working to pass a group of riders and dropping a chain then watching them all ride past again. Oh well, live and learn.
Lap three was fun. I had a bit of clear track and I had a guy trying really hard to catch me. I got a little rush of adrenaline as I went around a corner and caught a glimpse of him. There was one last steep climb before a descent into the finish line and boy was he hauling to get to me. I ran up the last bit of the climb and then pinned it back to the finish. A great way to finish a fun race.
I should mention the likes of Jared Graves and Ben Forbes, both of whom passed me on my last lap like I was standing still. At least now I know I should be racing B grade.....