Sunday, October 04, 2009

2009 Scottish XC Round 7 - UCI C2

This was going to be the second time Mel and I raced in Drumlanrig. Last year we took part in the second round of the British NPS Series. The course is rooty, rocky and technical and both of us really liked it. Unfortunately last year, I crashed on the first lap and tacoed my front brake rotor - I didn't have spare wheels to change so soldiered on with the wheel barely spinning - still, I really enjoyed the race.

This year, like last year, Mel and I took the ferry over to the race - I really love any race that I can drive to (even with a ferry connection) - it is just so much less stress setting up for - pile everything into the car and go.

Saturday was the preride and the course was mostly the same as last year, mostly technical twisty singletrack with the only fireroad being the obligatory climbs. The course was tricker than last year with more roots exposed and a slimy wet coating. There was going to be no more rain before the race and with a race or two held on the course before us, I knew it would dry up.

The race started at the leisurely hour of 2pm. The pace was pretty fast up the start loop that lead us onto the course and I entered 4th wheel. After the first section of singletrack I moved to 3rd. For the next couple of laps Ben Thomas, Oliver Holmes and I rode around in 3rd, 4th and 5th position. There would be slight gaps from time to time but we mostly stayed together. The course had dried out a lot from the previous day and course lap times had dropped a lot.

Midway through the penultimate lap, Oliver dropped off the pace a little and Ben and I upped the pace on one of the climbs to distance him. Happy to use the draft I stayed on the wheel and the gap grew. On the next climb, I attacked myself and put some distance into Ben. For the last lap I gave it everything and a few minutes into it, while lapping another rider he told me that 2nd place was only 20 seconds ahead. I now had a target and pushed at every opportunity. I caught Dave Henderson on the second last climb but it was the last steep switchback climb that I got to make my move. After passing, I kept my speed high with the hope of catching the lead but finished 30 seconds back. I pulled a minute back on first on the last lap.

Both Mel and I enjoyed the race - she won the women's race while I came second in mine - my first podium in a UCI C2 race.

As I mentioned earlier, the race was run on a fantastic course and the organization of the race was exceptional - congrats to SXC for a fine finish to their series - like last year, it was a great end to the season.

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