Wednesday, March 31, 2010

2010 BMBS Round 1 - Sherwood Pines

After spending the guts of a month traveling and racing (and working) abroad Mel and I came home pretty shattered from it all. The week I returned I also took part in two road races, a race on St. Patricks day and the following weekend, the first round of the Irish Road Classics Series held up in Donegal – The John Deere Classic (Finished 11th, ended up TTing alone for the final hour holding off the main group). Something wasn't right though – during training, and even racing my heart rate was not rising – I use my power meter (and perceived effort) to judge efforts in training and racing but the heart rate is a good gage of how things are running – things were not running well. I performed a threshold interval (400Ws for 15 minutes) and my HR average was 161... 10 less than it would be normally for such an interval and about 18 less than it would be if I was racing.

Stunning in Donegall - from Marian Lamb

This attack on a 10 minute climb blew the field - I'm 4th in green, 7 of us broke off

The following week I took it very easy, some sessions were cut short when I couldn't turn the pedals and I felt very very tired all the time – not since I started training as an Elite have I felt like this.

The first round of the British National Series (BMBS) was being held in Sherwood Pines the following weekend – a race that I swore the previous year I would not return to. Obviously for a BMBS, organization, atmosphere and competition are all top notch but I really disliked the course. Fast, flat singletrack through trees that I didn't feel flowed very well (with a few sections that were the exception). Anyway, with the cancelation of some Bundasiliga races, Mel decided that she will have another go at the BMBS series (she finished 3rd in 2008, her first Elite year, and 2nd last year) – I guess my mind was made up for me, I'll go and race as Mel is going anyway.

The race was a quick out and back, we flew out on Saturday morning and home on Sunday evening. With bikes already packed from our return from Israel, preparation was stress free and when we arrived at the airport in East Midlands we found that our rental Ford Fiesta was upgraded to a Mercerdes AMG estate – wow :)

After some fun playing with the gadgets on our new car we arrived in Sherwood – the day was nice but the course was still a little wet and boggy in places. If the weather stayed the same it would be very fast again for race day. I was happy to find on the preride that the course was changed a lot from last year with some technical sections added and even a little climb (although there was still only 700 meters of climb over the 50km Elite race distance).

Race morning arrived and I was gridded on the front. “Some time in the next 15 seconds” - BANG, and we were off. I really really need to work on starts, I was moving backwards. Up the long drag to the first singletrack I was sitting in around 25th place when I sensed a rider trying to barge through on my right, he rode straight into me and tangled my bars – F**K, I really don't want a crash at 40kph with a bunch of riders around me. He knocked me off my bike but I kept things upright (I was sitting on the top tube, chain was dropped feet skidding on the ground) but he came off considerable worse as I saw him tumble into the bushes – please, ejits, learn to ride a freaking bike and do not take other folks out of it – it is not like we don't have a job to go to on Monday morning!

Anyway, after that, I entered the singletrack almost last (55 starters in my race). The course is almost all singletrack and passing is a real difficulty. With my troubles over the last week, and even not knowing if I would race until the morning I took this setback as a nice challenge to move up as much as I can and enjoy riding my bike at race speed. I started pulling back people from the start but congestion in the trails meant that my first last was almost the slowest of the race, my last almost the fastest (data from the Garmin). Over the laps I rode past more and more riders, passing on the fireroad linker sections and then dropping them on the singletrack. Towards the end of the race, my legs even started to feel good – on the climbs I felt I could attack strong but wished I had been dicing more towards the front of the race. After a little over two hours I rode in for 21st position.

It is funny looking at the results, in Israel (Man'nit) I beat Dave Fletcher on a flatish race and diced with him the following day on the European Champs course finishing a few seconds back while in the BMBS he rode to a great 3rd position while I was in 21st. I classed this race as a 'C' race and I guess that shows somewhat – roll on the hillier, more mountain bikey races in the UK :)

A really well run race and highly attended (all races were full - 650 riders!) - good job!

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