An enjoyable and successful weekend at the opening round of the British XC MTB Series. It's not very often I race short cross country events but was determined to put on a good show especially after the disappointment of Algarve Bike Challenge. Since that race in early March I've been training really hard including the days before this British XC race so I worried a little about how fatigued the legs would be.
The organisation put on a great course with lots of fun flowing trails and some tricky technical sections which caused plenty of carnage! The technical bits of the track made great viewing for spectators and were easily accessible from the arena so there was a good crowd out on course. On Saturday the course was pretty muddy but by the time us Elites raced Sunday afternoon it had dried up nicely. The new Simplon Cirex was loving the trails.
The early couple of laps were good but I made too many mistakes. I messed up the start missing my pedal twice. Also I got pushed off course by several rivals as I tried to overtake which meant I lost the moment of the lead group and had to waste energy chasing back. The most annoying was the stupid person who cut me off the course and crashed into the person in front of me so we both had to stop and run the next uphill, neither of us made it back to the lead group after that. I guess that's cross country racing. I'll sharpen my elbows before the next race.
I had the full support crew in attendance and plenty more people were cheering my name out on course which helped me keep my focus. Half way through the race I settled into a small group just a few seconds behind the lead group. As much as we tried we couldn't close those few seconds to the leaders.
At the line it wasn't quite the top 5 podium finish I wanted but feel satisfied after being in front group for so long. 7th place, some world ranking points and only a small gap to the winner. Good sensations and excited to start the marathon season next week in France.