Wednesday 13 August 2008

Summer Racing Summary - Part 1

The lack of posts about racing posts I've done will probably make people believe I haven't been racing.

Well, the news is me and my bike have seen some of the fast action over the summer. Actually the action was, as usual, not as fast as I wanted it, and what's this talk of summer. I'm still waiting for it to come to the UK !

Anyhow, a brief run-down :


After my Alpine break I slowly got back into the swing of things by doing a warm-up competitive event in the shape of the Beastway race at Hainault Country Park. As I'm not really a mountain biker I find these events quite refreshing as given that I'm pretty poor off road I have no pressure or expectations. In fact the last and only other time I did a Beastway race was about 4 years ago on the old Eastway circuit. From the gun I was off the pace, lost in a cloud of dry soil and dust as the herd disappeared away from me. Having been left on my own I had to fathom my way around the course with no one nearby to chase down. Unfortunately, the windy conditions had blown away some of the course tape and when I arrived at a particular crossroads I came to a halt not knowing which way to turn. I quickly plumped for the left hand trail, thinking that was the direction of the course. However, these mountain bike race courses tend to be very convoluted and don't necessary follow the "logical" direction. So within a minute the sight of the herd careering towards me made me realise I'd gone the wrong away.
I was able to duck out of danger. Unfortunately being in the thick of a race does not lend itself to stopping people to ask directions. So I once again I was left just as confused as I was before this incident. And with no marshall nearby, I figured it wasn't worth my while to traipse around losing "precious" time to ask the way. Feeling fed up and hopeless I put me and my bike on the area I felt more at home - on the tarmac, and then rode back to the car. That was my Beastway.

Since those days though, a few seasons of cyclo cross and a few mini mountain bike outings had toughened me up for Beastway races so I decided to give it another go. Fred was there with his club marshalling at the race, so he would be able to point me in the right direction if I got lost again !

Things didn't go too badly in the end. The course wasn't especially technical, there was one energy sapping hill, which played to my advantage given my newly found mountain legs, and most importantly I didn't get lost ! I finished 5th out of 8 women, and this was accompanied by the usual jeers of "how do you expect to do any better on a bike that's had it !" from my London Phoenix mountain bike friends. But hey, it's all good preparation for when I get that all singing all dancing bells and whistles full suss, lightweight dream machine some time............

Run down to be continued.....

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