One of the many little drops (Photo from Shane Lavelle)
The course is unlike any other XC race I've done. It's flat over black earth and loose gravel, along dusty paths, some shrubbery and up and down old and steep earth movements and derelict buildings reminiscent of quarry activity. There was some tight singletrack with some steep furrows and a good few fast bombhole descents and a few nasty kicker climbs, but any pain was usually over in less than 10 seconds. With the course being so open some of the sections required tucking in tightly against the head wind and only the lukewarm water of that murky river crossing gave a bit of respite from the hot midday sun burning down on us (this is Ireland that I am talking about).
We had to do four laps and set off leaving only a dust cloud, following the Juniors who were started with us. My plan was to go out front and get away. It's nice when something works to plan. I got to the front and steadily increased my lead, mostly racing on my own, passing the occasional rider and being occasionally passed. The course was very fast and it took a while for the other categories to catch up when I rode with some Masters and Vet riders. On the last lap I got a bit of a stomach cramp but there was no danger from behind, so I could ease off a little bit until I reached the finish in first place with Cait in second and Valerie in third.
Thanks to Aine for being my feed zone angel.
Results available here.