We got to Carver Barracks, and it instantly reminded me of the Secret Niclear Bunker. Tony and I both had a really good race there, so we were feeling pretty positive. After parking up, going for a quick toilet break, and signing on we got out to do some practise laps.
I immediately noticed that the start was start was quite open, and would be a good place to attack; the only problem was it was covered in rocks which meant the bike was skating around quite a bit when trying to put the power down. I could of done with some Racing Ralph's really! Until at least is hit the next grassy area where the Thunder Burt's really came into thier own! There were one or two little tricky bits that could catch you out if you weren't concentrating, but nothing major, until of course the drop and the gap jump...
On my way to registration I'd spoken to Liam (New Dales) who warned me about the jump "just roll the drop and commit to the jump and you'll be fine" he said. Sounds easy right? But when you're peering down the roll in, which looks vertical standing at the top of it, it's a very different kettle of fish. I was definitely having second thoughts, that was until Joel (EHF) stepped up and showed me how to ride it! Within a few minutes I was hiring it no problem, getting more and more air everytime. I must of done it five or six times, I wanted to get used to it for the race, but mostly because it was just fun!
This is one of the things I love about mountain biking. It's a very inclusive sport, we want you to come ride with us, we don't care what you ride, or how you ride it, we just want to ride with you. Joel is, or will be one of my rivals once I'm back up to speed, he didn't have to stop and help me out, but he did, and without him I probably wouldn't of hit it! So thanks mate! On that subject, I have to admit, I was impressed with all of the EHF riders I've come across. All are friendly and polite, when over taking they communicate with you etc; They're a credit to the sport, and a good example to us all. That is of course, until I beat Joel, and he turns (EHF) green with berserker rage! Any ways, we finished our practise lap, headed back to the van for some pre-race nutrition and sat around talking about bikes until it was time for gridding!
|Getting some air on the jump!|
I was able to claw a few places back over the course of the first lap. There was a bit of confusion in the feed zone when another rider came in between me and Kirsty whilst she was trying to hand me a bottle, which left her with a nasty bruise! I'm not sure what happened exactly, or who was at fault. I guess he was just carrying more speed than me out of the corner and wasn't paying attention or something. I caught up with him and we exchanged pleasantries coming into the next corner. If you're reading this, I apologise for shouting at you, but you did kinda deserve it. Always remember, if you're over taking someone, whether they're in your race or not, it's up to you to pass safely! That's the bottom line.
|Coasting round on the last lap, just trying to make it to the end!|
I finally came across the line, I felt like if been riding all day. I would normally warm down properly, but instead I found the nearest patch of grass and just crashed. I was a very broken man, but is finished the race in one piece, and that is what I set out to do.'