Thursday, September 01, 2011

2011 Lakeland Warrier 100km MTB Marathon

It was Sunday morning – so the final day of our three day, three race, three discipline weekend. Today it was the Lakeland Warrior 100km MTB Marathon.

I had not raced an MTB Marathon since I won the National Championships last September, indeed, I had not spent more that 2.5 hours on an MTB since then but I did look forward to the race - I really love racing MTB marathons - my major problem with XC racing is that it is continually becoming shorter and shorter races around shorter and shorter tracks - not my style... not real mountain biking. Unlike most Irish off-road marathons, this one was not going to be 50% filled with slow technical riding, it was basically all fireroads and gravel roads. It may not have had much singletrack, but it was still tricky navigating around loose rocky corners at 50kmph!

We arrived at the race venue with typical Irish summers weather – sun, rain, wind, cloud... all in equal portions but for random durations making kit choice difficult (I wore a base layer, two jerseys and a gilet). At 100km (and I was guessing around 4 hrs) – I didn't want to push the pace at the start and was happy to follow others for the first while. After about 15 kilometers, there was 4 of us in the front group and we rode a good steady tempo as a group. At the midway point, the organizers had setup the feed station at a stunning viewpoint over Lower Lough Erne – the sun was out, the wind still and you could see the rolling hills around the lake for miles. I took my time at the transition to really take in the view and wished I took my camera with me.

We continued riding as a group until we had raced 65km when I turned on the pressure on a gravelly climb – I got a gap and simply rode tempo to the finish taking it easy on some of the mud iced farm lanes. I won in 4 hours, with an average speed for 25.4kmph – 101.8km, 1,800m of climb.

The race was a great event, different from most other Irish marathons – the race was tough in that it was long and there was seldom a flat section of road. Thanks to the organizers, 26extreme, for putting on the race – both Mel and I got a lot from it.

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