Tuesday, October 07, 2008

2008 Irish NPS Round 6 - Castlewellan

The final race of the Irish NPS was being held in Castlewellan park this weekend after the earlier date had to be cancelled due to extreme weather conditions. The Castlewellan course is one that I really like but for some reason I wasn't really able to get mentally prepared for the race. For me, a huge part of doing well at a race is having my mind in the right place leading up to it – I guess 26 races into the season I was feeling a bit raced out and I was more focused on the Marathon World Cup the following weekend. To tell you the truth, if Mel was not going I probably would have trained at home hoping to better my performance at the World Cup instead.

The race started with Robin Seymour, Peter Buggle and I cresting the major climb (about 10 minutes in) together, at this point, my lack of time on the mountain bike recently showed and I allowed a gap to develop on the technical singletrack. I have raced on the course 5 times now and I think this was easily the most technical version. As I mentioned earlier, I was not really in the right mindset for the race so I changed focus a little and deciding to take the race relatively easy and focus on riding the singletrack smoothly (hopefully getting in a good training session for the following weeks big race). I didn't push very hard but ended up enjoying the course a lot – I simply made sure I did enough that no one caught me but as I wasn't in the race for an overall placing (despite my two earlier wins in the NPS, I missed too many races due to races abroad for me to be in the running in the 6 race series) I wasn't focusing on a higher position.

After 5 laps and a little under 2 hours I finished up in 3rd to find Mel had a bad crash in her race but yet pushed through to finish. Upon chatting to her we decided to head straight home (she wasn't in a great condition) so unfortunately we were not able to hang around and chat before the prize giving.

As usual, the course was amazing, it's just such a pity the NPS has to be spread out over near 5 months...

Race and series results are available here. There is also a questionnaire with regards to XC racing in Ireland (for both racers and non racers) - if you have not filled it out yet, please do so. The link is here.

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