9th place, you know, just saying, 9th place like…
OK the ‘interesting’ conditions did reduce the field somewhat but hey 🙂 This Sundays Gorrick round only just went ahead thanks to the nice drop of snow we recieved on Saturday. Thankfully (I think) not even the Artic conditions could put them off and they assured us that the course would be amended and that racing would go ahead on Sunday.
Checking out some of the people that were coming back from races when I arrived at the snowy site it quickly became apparant that a) it was a bit nippy and b) it was a bit sloppy, so I prepared for the worst…
Taking to the start line after a bit of a warm up it also showed that the conditions may have put some people off (can’t imagine why) as the field was about half the size of the last race I did with around forty people turning up. The prize holiday from Saddle Skedaddle was being drawn among the Vets class this week but sadly the reduced odds didn’t act in my favour this time. Some wag at the back shouted ‘Is it to somewhere warmer?’
Tramlines through sloppy, peaty, soil. Polished roots, off camber corners, a touch of running water plus some of the usual woodsy singletrack. Climbing on this course was mainly in short, steep, sections with nothing really dragging on.
The best bit came when I clocked the first lap at just over 17min – Yes! They’d taken mercy on us and shortened the course to miss out some of the sections that handn’t been draning so well(!).
The course conditions meant the chances of a ‘clean’ lap with no dabbing was pretty remote and places were swapped fairly regularly as the slop took your wheels away. Having settled into a fairly good rhythm by lap three I did feel the presence of someone on my back wheel. Noticing that he was a little slower on the climbs I turned my lungs inside out on the final stages to try and escape far enough up the road that I wouldn’t give him a target to home in on.
Emerging from the last climb, gasping like a guppy out of water, I just had enough in left in the tank to keep the guy behind at bay and tottered over the finish line. In my oxygen starved state I thought I heard the announcer saying that I’d finished in 9th place – which sounded a bit strange, I thought loads more people escaped up the road in front of me at the start…
Thankfully the conditions must have claimed a few victims, I really was 9th! My highest ever placing in a race, even if it was in a field of 29 finishers 😉 Roll on sloppy sub zero courses that make people stay at home I say. I’ve even scored some series points now!
Like the other Sunday riders I found out the mud had frozen to my bike in a solid, crunchy coating, luckily a nice warm car journey saw to that and it was good and sloppy again by the time I’d got home. I had to get the bucket and brush out on it though as the garden hose had frozen solid 🙂
Any road up – April 7th in a few weeks time sees the series finish just over the road from this Sunday’s race in Frith Hill. Fingers crossed for some more ‘Spring’ like conditions to keep the competition at bay 😉