2 weeks and 2 very different races

Monday 24th May 2010

by MikeC

Cross country Mountain Bike racing is really picking up steam across the whole UK, after quite a few years of low interest and limited events to take part in. This past weekend saw 4 regional races taking place and it’s been a long, long time since that happened. With road racing struggling for events to keep running and an increasing demand for races it would seem that fat tyre racing is the way to go (Dan, Mike, Chris, Rob etc etc :☺). Even Catherine was at the Nutcracker Race this weekend for her first venture into the world of Mountain Biking.

Last week I ventured up to Fort William for a 13 hour round trip to a 10 hour Mountain Bike Race by the name of 10 Under the Ben. I was a guest rider for a local Mountain Bike Team and we entered in the Senior Male Trio Category with Richard and Nick as my team mates. Simple format, 10 hours, the team that rides the most laps in 10 hours wins. A Le Mans start was used to thin the field out and I was given the task of first lap and soon found myself in a group of 4 at the front of the race. We hammered round as fast as we could to hand the timing chip onto our team mates. 5 minutes before the end of my lap the heavens opened and Nick was out next, not looking too happy I might ad. The race went without too many hitches apart from my rear suspension feeling rather loose with the rear triangle nearly falling off my bike. Richard was nice enough to let me use his bike for my last lap but it was a little bit small and cramps soon started to tell me to stop pedalling. In the end we finished 2nd in our category and celebrated with a few beers before falling asleep completely spent! Credit to the organisers as it is definitely one of the best events I have ever done, the atmosphere was great and everyone was having a really good time.

This past weekend was Round 2 of the North East Nutcraker MTB XC series near Richmond. Saturdays temperatures reached about 24 degrees and Sunday dawned much the same. I must admit I’m a lover of the nice warm weather so me Nick and Jason headed over early in anticipation. A practice lap highlighted a course that was half farmland and half woodland singletrack, not fantastic considering the riding we have in the area but ok. I caught up with a few friends milling around the event and got ready for my race. The Elite/Expert/Junior and Sport categories were rather small and we set off at a good pace headed by the Elite Hope rider Paul Oldham. Myself, Niall (another expert) and Jo (Junior) managed to hold onto the pace before the steep hill when the elite’s rode away. Niall and myself raced together for 4 and a half laps taking turns leading at the front of the expert race. At the start of the last lap I decided to just push as hard as I could and see what happened. I knew Niall was really strong as he took 2nd in a National Points expert race a couple of weeks previously. I managed to open a gap on the second section of singletrack and kept pushing to open it further to take the win by a margin of about 30 seconds. It felt great to take my first expert win and to be on the podium for the second week in a row. I had some great support from my friends with encouragement around the whole course. In the afternoon race Jason took 4th (again) in the veteran’s race just missing out on a podium. It’s great to have cross-country racing back on the North East calendar and I look forward to the next round at Dalby Forest on the World Cup course. Now that the Arthur Caygill Road race at Richmond has been cancelled I need to find another race to do.

One Response to “2 weeks and 2 very different races”

  1. Richard williamson Says:

    Great post mike cheers.

    Great result as well, good to see some MTb action in the area again.

    Keep up the good work!

    Richard.

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