Monday, March 24, 2008

2008 K-Capital Cup Round 2

They talked of rain. Met Eireann had big snowy clouds sitting over Northern Ireland all week – fortunately, the weekend was dry (but cold) and the racing fast. This was the weekend of the Second Round of the K-Capital Series.

The weekend started with the pre-ride on the Saturday. Mel and I drove the two and a half hours to the course and got three laps in. One slow, one fast, one slow. The course was good. Basically, it felt like 90% singletrack. No big climbs (although there was 150m of climb per lap, it felt like it was mostly from steep kickers) and all that single track didn't really suit me – but it was a lot of fun to ride. There was no letup on the course, there was no section to take it easy and I knew that it was going to be hard on my body – not just my legs.

Course Profile

A birds eye view of the Moneyscalp course

Race morning arrived and we drove back to the race course from Monaghan (a one and a half hour drive). Thankfully, the course remained dry and from watching the sports riders ride by, it looked like it was holding up pretty well. There were a couple of mushy sections around the top of the course but really nothing to write home about. Instead of warming up on the roads, I decided to warm up by a steady lap of the course with a few accelerations – all that went grand.

Just before 1:30 we were called up for the gridding – second row for me so I was pretty happy. The first part of the course was up a steep fireroad then straight into single-track. The field had a little of an International flair with 3 Belgians and 3 riders from Great Britain over for the race. At 1:30 we were off – the start was not too fast but a huge surge right before the single track (which was a pretty technical entry point) meant that already there was a few little gaps formed. Over the course of that single-track section most of the gaps closed again but by the time we hit the fireroad there was a small lead group of 5 slightly ahead. Up the fireroad, I was sitting in 7th. This is were I stayed for most of the race – I could see one of the Belgians ahead of me (Patrick Gaudy) on the straight sections and by the 5th lap I caught and passed him. From that point on I slowly moved away from him eventually finishing up 2:17 later in 6th position.

The race was pretty tough - 6th place is my highest finish in a UCI C2 race but I actually wasn't particularly happy with how I raced. I rode technically pretty well but I didn't feel strong – I didn't feel like I had the legs to push hard – I felt that the maximum I could do was a soft pedal. My max HR was 183 (should be in the 190s...) and average HR was pretty low. That was a bit frustrating but the season is long and the next race is two weeks from now. (No racing for me next week – training and recovery is the name of the game) Another of the positives I guess was that I finished with very little left in the tank. In Kilruddery, I could have kept going for hours at the same pace – not so yesterday.

Mel will have some to say about her race but I'll leave her to talk about it in her blog. Full results of the race can be found here. There are a couple of pictures here and here. There is a report available here.

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