Monday, 14 March 2016

Slushcup #6 - 80% good, 20% really bad

Result: 4th place

Bike: BMC Teamelite 01 XX1 Fast Trak 2.2 / Bontrager XR2 1.4 bar. Medium MTT damping

The last race of this winter's Slushcup was a marathon of 2h15m + the lap. I was really looking forward to this race as it was the first marathon of this year. I like marathons and this is just the first of many.

The weather was looking good, at least as far as rain was concerned: No rainfall during the week and a dry race day. However it turned out to be quite a bit colder than the forecast. But the trails were mostly nice and dry!

I was going to put the race wheels on the Teamelite but there just was no time during the week (brake discs have to be changed and rear tyre tubeless-prepared). I had a hectic work week and just no time left for bike mechanics. Actually the first plan was to race the Fourstroke but after shortening the cable guides I had not put it together yet.

Result: Slushcup #6

A quick test run of the track ahead of the race showed that it was nice and quick. Some roots but mostly in placed where one could fly over them quickly. Not many really slow and twisty sections. Some short climbs but not all that many. A lot of single track!

I probably had one of the best starts that I've had in a long time. I was off really nicely in perhaps fourth of fifth place. After a few kilometers I let the quick elite boys go, perhaps four or five of them went ahead. We formed a group of some 7-8 riders. Johan Malmsten, Thomas Kyrum-Stein and Henrik Söeberg were in the group. The pace was quick but I was feeling really strong and I felt I didn't have to strain myself too much to stay in the group. I was mostly riding near the head of the group. Our group had the front runners of the M40 category.

After the first lap Henrik stopped with a puncture. Into the second lap there were five riders left. The way things were looking with lap times we were in for a five lap race. The group stuck together for the second and third laps.

On the fourth of the lap I went to the head of the group before a single track section where I wanted to be in front. I ended up leading the group through the whole lap, which wasn't my intention. However, when we approached the end of the lap I noticed a rather quick and sudden change: I was becomming REALLY tired. And then it happened: In a tight turn, just a few hundred meters before lapping and going out on the last lap, my wheels slipped and I went down. Not hard, but enough that it took me a few seconds to get back up and I saw my group disappear in the distance.

Getting back on the bike I lost some motivation and realized that the last lap was going to be really rough. I knew I was still in thrid place in M40 but that it was going to be hard to keep other riders from catching up with me. I struggled through the lap, watching my heart rate drop as I became ever more tired. I got passed by three riders and I suspected at least one of them to be a M40 rider.

With my last strength I passed the finish line, in fourth place. My best result of this year's Slush cup.

In retrospect I find it hard how I can go from feeling strong and being quick to getting so tired so quickly. Obviously I shouldn't led the group through all of the penultimate lap. I should've conserved my strength instead. This is something I really need to work on!

In the total standings for the year I finished in fifth place. A long way off last year's first place finish. The opposition was a lot tougher this year... Here's a link to the total standings

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