Wednesday, April 20, 2011

British NPS Round 2, Dalby Forest, UK

This post just isn't going to write itself.... sigh

Anyhow, I made it over to the UK for the 2nd round of the British XC Series, held in Dalby Forest. It's a Class 1 race and basically on the same course as the World Cup that will be held later on in May. I've raced this course twice last year: as part of the British Series (where I had a great 2nd place) and as a World Cup (coming 56th). I like the course and find it rides really well. It actually quite suits me. There's a few tough technical sections in there that a lot of people lose their heads about, specifically a drop called "Worry Gill" that actually looks more scary than it rides and a section called "Medusa's Drop", a fairly technical steep and rooty descent that requires good bike handling skills and a cool head. There's also nice and flowy wide singletrack, a few wooden bridges, a few technically challenging and interesting climbs, and a looong steep straight up fireroad climb. I never get bored on this course, there's so much happening!

Well, the weather was nice and I had a (very) quick warm-up. I had miscalculated the time it would take me to get ready in the morning and was already cutting it short. I make the mistake that my estimated times only ever work if everything goes by plan and don't allow for any leeway..... or maybe I'm just still getting used to the fact that Ryan isn't there any more to stop me faffing around in the mornings.....

Then I thought I had time for a quick last nervous pee and vanished into the bushes - just then I heard my name being called up for the gridding! Since I missed my slot I had to start in last position. It's not so bad with only 3 rows of women, but since my starts aren't the greatest, I need my slot in the first line to get into the singletrack in a reasonable position! I think I entered the singletrack last.... It's quite hard to overtake people on the fast descents, so only when we went back uphill I managed to make up places and worked my way up into 5th place by the end of the loooong steep climb, overtaking Mel Alexander on the top of the steep climb.

And that was going to be my finishing place for the day. I had Craigie Lee in my sights every time I went into the feedzone area and knew both Lee and Lily weren't that far ahead, but again for some reason I couldn't push myself harder to close down the distance. Again I felt I wasted the chance for a 3rd place. So from a racing perspective I didn't do so well, but on the other hand I really enjoyed going round the course - it's just too much fun sometimes than to go so hard that you're going cross-eyed. I do know that I need to get into race mode more, but at least I hope this means I've got more matches to burn later in the season.

While I was riding in my own little nomansland, Annie and Julie battled it out in front, with Julie winning by a narrow margin to Annie.

Would things have been different if I had not missed my gridding and been on Lee's or Lily's tail from the start? Or maybe then I would have gone too hard at the start and blown? I don't know, but I know I really need to stop my pre-race faffing!

(I'm embarrassed to admit that not only did I miss my gridding, but also the price presentation (it's a 5 people podium)....).

Thanks to Conor McManus for his perfect bottling support!

Women's results:
1 Julie Bresset (Fra) 1:39:57
2 Annie Last (GBr) 0:00:13
3 Lily Matthews (GBr) 0:09:03
4 Lee Craigie (GBr) 0:09:42
5 Melanie Spath (Ger) 0:10:59
6 Melanie Alexander (GBr) 0:15:32
7 Ciara Mcmanus (Irl) 0:16:44
8 Maxine Filby (GBr) 0:17:42
9 Elliot Caitlin (Irl) 0:18:06
10 Lesley Ingram (GBr) 0:22:30
11 Gabriella Day (GBr) 0:26:31
12 Jo Munden (GBr)

13 Carla Haines (GBr)

14 Natasha Barry (GBr)

15 Emma Bradley (GBr)

DNF Jessica Roberts (GBr)

DNF Jane Cumming (GBr)

DNF Rachel Fenton (GBr)

DNF Maddie Horton (GBr)

DNS Danielle Rider (GBr)

Cyclingnews results.

Report on IrishCycling.

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