Wednesday, June 09, 2010

2010 Irish XC NPS Round 5 - Killaloe

Although it had been a week since the end of the RAS, I really wasn't ready for another race – especially one as demanding as a cross country race. Anyway, I found myself down in Killaloe riding a pre-lap of their course under sunny conditions. Those sunny conditions where not a feature just a few hours earlier where torrential rain covered the country – this left the technical rooty singletrack in a very challenging state. The course was one I like – it started with a long fireroad climb and when you have been doing that for almost 6 minutes you start to hit steep singletrack climbs before you eventually enter the downhill singletrack. The singletrack weaved it's way around trees and over roots back to the start with a good smattering of technical kicker climbs thrown in to make sure you don't recover too much.

After the preride, I still wasn't in the right mental place to race, I contemplated sitting it out and taking photos and videos – being a good spectator – but with the drive down, thought that that would be a little bit of a waste. At 1:30, I toed the line (well, at the back of the grid as this was my first Irish NPS of the year) and we started up the hill. There was a good elite crowd here for the race, with Robin Seymour, Peter Buggle, Joe McCall and Canadian, Mike Garrigan as well as the usual suspects – with the super techy descents, Robin was always going to be the man to watch – that guy just floats over that stuff that the rest of us mere mortals have to slog through!

Mel says that I look like a spider here :)

The pace up the first long climb was pretty steady, and I entered the singletrack in around 5th position – my plan was to ride a fun race and get a workout in – if there wasn't a smile on my face, I was pushing too hard! I rode steady for the first few laps trying to clear the techy singletrack – it was very tricky as if you make one slight mistake, the next 30 seconds of riding was just about trying to get into a rythm again. From the 3rd lap (of 6) we started to lap riders and that was noticable in all of our laptimes. Although everyone was super about letting us through, the break in rythm on such a course greatly affected the speed we rode the sections. Coming into the final lap (after some jostling for 2nd to 4th position), I came through in 4th position with Joe and Peter in sight 15-20 seconds up the road. I hadn't planned on trying to catch them (still riding with a smile) but by the top of the main fireroad climb I was on their tail. I thought to myself, well, I'm here, I may as well attack. I put in a good attack on the steep climbs and lost my companions as I entered the singletrack descent. Towards the bottom of the singletrack, Peter had caught onto me again (probably lots to do with the fact that I was riding like a squirrel) – with a few kicker climbs left, I attacked on each and rode through the start finish in 2nd position behind Robin.

Elite Podium, Me, Robin and Peter

The course was good (wish it had stayed bone dry, but VERY glad it didn't rain more) and sitting around the lake afterwards in the sun with the rest of the competitors was great. Results are up here, and many thanks for Aine for being the feed support angel and Conor for the photos.

1 comment:

Darragh said...

You should be boosting it for air over the spider jump - for shame!