Monday, June 08, 2015

2015 Beskidy MTB Trophy - Stage 4

Stages four and five (the trip back to Ireland) - I don't know which was more tough! The final stage of the Beskidy MTB Trophy saw us go up and down more steep climbs. Billed as being the most difficult stage, although the climbing was tough I found the descending and technical riding to be easier than the previous days (maybe I have finally left my roadie awkwardness behind) and although it was almost as hot as the previous days my body felt good and the heat didn't bother me.

As the other days, at 9am we rolled out on a few gentle kilometres of tarmac until we hit the real climbing. In the central part of the race they packed in almost 3,000m of climb across 60km so it really was either steep up or steep down. Like the previous day, on the first properly steep and loose section Ben and Torsten gapped me but on the descents I would get back closer. There were a few riders around me for the first hour or two but after I fixed my puncture (the only one I had in the race - an achievement on a hardtail (Thanks Stan’s Valor wheels and Schwalbe tires)!) I started to make progress to the boys ahead. 

At the base of the longest climb I was five minutes back but by the top I had pulled it back to three - averaging a pretty constant 12% all the way up it was more towards the steepness I liked. After the climb we were treated to some of the most fun descending in the whole race, super fast burmey single track - all the memories of how to pump the ground for free speed came back and I was hop skipping over roots and rocks with them barely touching my tires - I could have done this for ever. 

Like the other days as I got closer to the end I was approaching the front of the race - I got time checks of 1-2 minutes in the remaining kilometres but ran out of road finishing 1:40 behind the two leaders. Enough for 3rd on the stage and 2nd overall on GC (first in GC in my category).

One of the many wide rocky descents

I have raced many places around the world, and on most continents but I have to admit that the last 5 days (including the day before riding around) has been some of the most fun, challenging and beautiful racing I have done. The unseasonably perfect (well, maybe TOO hot) weather just added to it all. 

I wanted to wait until I got back home to Ireland safely before I said this, but from leaving on Tuesday to the race and returning on Sunday it was an almost perfect 5-6 days. Everything from the race organisers, track, general hospitality and our accommodation ( could barely be improved. As I sit back getting into a normal work day I really do have post stage race blues.

Thanks for reading and see you at the Sudety MTB Challenge??? 

1 comment:

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