Saturday, 13 July 2013

Testing? On a mountain bike? In the woods?! Yes please!

I've had the Kings Lynn CC mountain bike time trials on my radar for a while. Unfortunately I missed the first race through stupidity, then the rest of the races were either when I was racing other events, or a day before I was heading off for other events. Alas! However, this Saturday, I finally got to give it a try. I had thought the race was Thursday this week, but at the last minute (despite having my bike packed in the car), but I still ended up going there for a recce. Looking at Shouldham Warren on Google Maps, I was starting to get interested.

Thursday nights ride turned into a longer-than-usual evening ride for me, and ended up doing over 2 hours of tempo riding, with a few tear ups. Took quite a bit of effort to find the trails, but eventually I had the basics of a loop together. As it turned out, wasn't quite the loop, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I was feeling pretty good on the bike and enjoyed the trails. They had turned to sand dunes in a few places, but there was always a solid line (except a few descents, but they could be controlled easy enough). The trails were pretty similar to the Brandon Country Park stuff in Thetford Forest, but they had quite a decent bit of gradient.

The TT arrives, and my preparation was a whole 3 hours sleep. Been having a bit of insomnia recently, which is very unusual for me. Got there and had a good chat with Chris from EHF Racing and got started with my warm up. The TT starts on a fireroad climb, then hits some singletrack. The first half of the course was the main part I had trouble locating, so some of it came as a bit of a surprise, but before long, I was settling into my own pace and chugging along. As with mountain biking - every ride has a story! And this morning's story was a bit of a treasure hunt. There were 3 times on the course where I ended up either taking a wrong turn or was really confused about what direction to take. But that wasn't really a major concern - I was just happy to be out pushing a hard effort and enjoying the ridiculously hot sun. For some silly reason my white CycleAid top was unwashed and stinking, so I thought I would wear a black jersey instead. On the hottest day of the year, that wasn't the best decision I have made this week. That will teach me!

Thanks for the organisers for putting on these events. I loved it, and am really looking forward to the next one. There is even talk of holding XC races in the future, and I was pushing them on doing evening night races in the Winter - now that would be ace!

Happy riding!

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