First race of the season. Make mine a double please.
Sickness had conspired to keep me out of any early season races this year. Mentally I had written off any chances of coming close to my result in the Irish CX Nationals of last year. I knew if I was going to pull anything from the season I just had to get on with getting un-sick (??) then getting on the racing wagon.
Supercross Cup Round 3 - Corcaigh Park
A race I have never done well in, one that mentally I loose before I start, a real fast mans course. Terrible gridding at the start as I had no points. Worked my ass off for the first lap to try and get myself up near the top 10. Made it up into 15th then tried to settle in. 5 laps in and things were getting greasy. Rhinos were doing there job more than my fitness and I was making a time back in technical bits from all the fitness sections where I lost it.
Sadly lap 5 was also where I rolled. A poorly glued rear popped off on a clumsy remount at the boards. Popped it back on, twiddle my way back to the pits and swap bikes. 15th -35th in only a minute off the bike. Racing is now so tight in the elite race that you just cannot afford to come down or get a mechanical. Mentally the race was over. I clawed it back up to 31st over the next 4 laps but knew deep down that I needed to work on things tomorrow.
Ulster Cyclocross - Moire
New venue. New motive. Second day to try to see if I could do it all over again. I've raced doubles in the past and historically I've raced much better the second day. Normally though I'd not be coming off a 1 race total for the season. A 2 hour drive up to the race site in Northern Ireland. Bit of banter with the locals then a pre-ride of the course. The MTB race was shredding the course, we were going to do much worse. Another day for the Rhinos with Fango's on the spare.
Another terrible gridding. Another start with people un-familiar to me. What wheel to follow? Who to stay away from? I decided for 'no-one and everyone'. Got to an edge slot and smashed it from the whistle. By the first corner I was 10th wheel, by the 4th corner 2nd wheel. Best start of my life. Drilled it for the first lap but had no chance to get onto Roger Aitken (ex national champ) who is having the season of his life and went on to win two from two this weekend.
Got in a nice fast group and worked wel until they dropped me. I then promptly dropped myself on a flat section and lost my 4th place and ended up in 12th ish with a messed up derauiller and one gear. Pit. New bike. Work like a SOAB to get back in the game. 4 laps later, a few places but no idea how I finished. Form is there, latent, waiting to come back, ready. It just needs a chance to shine.