Sunday, 30 April 2017

XCup #1 - Pre-race exhaustion

Bike: BMC Fourstroke 01 XX1 Rocket Ron 2.1 Snakeskin / Thunder Burt 2.0 Snakeskin 1.40 / 1.40 bar. Stans Notubes Valor wheels.

So here we were for the first race of this year's XCup series. This south Swedish cup is the one which all my friends and training partners participate in. It's always fun to race here. There are no age categories or classes.

I have been training quite hard as some important races are approaching. The first big one being Billingeracet in two weeks. This Thursday I had first gone for a hard interval session in the morning, then bike commutes to work, and then, while at work, a friend told me that a group of riders were coming to Genarp in the late afternoon and if I wanted to go for a ride with them. This sounded like a lot of fun to me, but, well, I had already done some hard riding... and, also, I had a race on Saturday (the XCup). But, being the spontaneous (and reckless) person that I am I got on my commuter bike, raced home, changed bikes to my mtb, and went out for 2.5 hours of hard riding with the boys. The next day I was totally nackered! Obviously this did not bode well for the XCup...

Already while warming up for today's XCup my body didn't feel all there... So expectiations were not high... The weather was turning to rain and during the practice lap I noticed that this was all tight and rooty single track, a lot of it newly made, and stones, and roots, and more roots... Which were getting wet.

The start loop is a long climb. We had this kind of start loop already last year and I love a good climb to start the race off. However, today... I was dead going up this first climb. Rider after rider kept going past me and I got into the forest and singletrack perhaps in 30th or 40th place.

I started advancing slowly but it was really hard to overtake. I had Jonas Nilsson, a friend who is usually a very skilled and technical rider, in front of me. But he crashed twice, where I couldn't get around him (he was ok), and we lost time and distance to the riders ahead.

Once I was able to get around him and also Marcus (who got OFF his bike at a rocky stone crossing!) I was able to increase the pace. However when going out onto the second lap, at a short but steep climb, a group of riders just flew past me. Yeah, the legs were just not there today.

I managed to hang onto this group of 4-5 riders that got past me as the terrain got more level and then they started having problems in the technical terrain which ment I got stuck behind them as they slipped and slided on the wet roots and stones. Towards the end of the second lap I had gotten ahead of them and they dropped back.

Going into the third lap I now saw Benny Andersson ahead... He had been the rider who was in front of Jonas Nilsson and Marcus when they held me up at the start of the first lap! Yeah, it had taken me two laps to catch up with him again due to the commotion in the forrest. We ended up having a good battle and switching places a lot. Oscar Persson was also involved and it was a lot of fun.

In the end, during the last couple of kilometers before the finish of the fourth and final lap, I upped the pace and was able to get away from Benny and Oscar. I finished in a disappointing 17th place, one of my worst results ever in XCup. But I got a good training session out of it and I had lots of fun. A top-10 placing was not too far away.

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