Friday, October 09, 2009

2009 K-Capital Challenge Round 3

After the Newnham races I officially went into "off-season" mode, or as some like to call it, "non-competitive" season. For me, I guess it is the off-season as the following week I took part in the final round of the K-Capital Challenge series.

Unfortunately, due to other commitments I missed the first two rounds. The events are a little different from the standard XC races as they are mass start for all categories and based on either one or two laps with the winning Elite rider finishing after 1.5-2 hours.

The final event was being held in the beautiful surroundings of Kippure House, home to the 2008 Marathon Championships. Luke Manning (and a bunch of others) put together some amazing new singletrack on the western Dublin mountains, an area of the Dublin and Wicklow mountains that I severely ignore (not any more!).

James McClusky

At 12pm, 140 riders left Kippure house for our 28 kilometer route. We kept the pace neutralized until we finished an initial road section and headed into a fireroad climb. Almost immediately, Matthew Adair attacked - I jumped onto his wheel and towards the top when he started to slow, I jumped onto the front to push the pace. I entered into the virgin singletrack in the lead but made a few mistakes and watched Robin Seymour and shortly afterwards, Joe McCall, ride by. As I rode the singletrack, I forgot I was in a race and simply enjoyed riding my bike in the woods. After lots of amazing trails, Joe and I were riding together and I judged Robin to be about 30 seconds up. After a very steep (but short) climb, I kept the head down to bridge over to Robin - half way up the main road climb I made it to him and we crested the hill together. I let a gap open on a rocky descent and followed that up with a few poor line choices (all new trails to me) and by the time we hit the final long climb, I was again around 30 seconds back. The head went down and I pushed to the top of the climb entering the final singletrack ahead. As soon as I entered though, I made a wrong turn (oh, I wish we had multiple laps of this course) and Robin passed me for the final time. I tried to stay with him but a gap opened. Half way down, I took a wrong turn (in this case, lots of people did - the only ambiguous place on the complete loop). Knowing that Joey was a couple of minutes back I took the time to enjoy the final section and finished a little over a minute behind Robin.

The event was ran to perfection on great trails - I would love to see a marathon even held there over a couple of laps of that course.

Results are available here.

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