Sunday, 30 August 2020

And We Are Racing Again! (first post-Corona races)

Yeah! That's right! It's on again! The last race I did, previous to this weekend, was in March.

This weekend had two races:

  • Saturday: Short local X-Cup race.
  • Sunday: Outdoor Sydfyn marathon in Denmark

Saturday - X-Cup

The X-Cup race turned out to be a wet affair. It had been raining all night prior to the race. I was pondering about changing from Conti Raceking tires to Crossking, which are more knobbly, but decided to go with Raceking anyway. It turned out to be the right decision as even though the ground was wet and there were puddles the trails never got very muddy.

Due to the Corona restriction in Sweden (max 50 people on the track at one time) instead of a 'normal' race we had a time trial. The racers started 30 seconds apart and the course was 2 laps around an 8 km course. The course was very quick and the average speed was almost 30km/h. I didn't feel very fired up and so ended up with quite a low heart rate but decent watts. My final placing was 15th overall (no categories in this race).

Sunday - Outdoor Sydfyn

I really love this Danish race and this is the fourth year that I take part in it. It has a great course with tight and twisty built singletrack and steep climbs and descents. Last year I placed third in the M40 category.

My good friend Linda joined me in travelling to this race as it's quite a bit of a drive from my home. She's always happy and that makes her great company.

Normally we start in the town of Faaborg and there's a quck road section on asphalt and gravel before you get to the actual course which you do three laps of. But as this is the year of Corona this race was also affected by the restrictions. So no start in Faaborg. Instead we start directly at the course and we do five loops instead of three. 50 km in all. This fact actually made the race much more difficult as it meant no easy riding at all, it was pretty much ALL on singletrack or on the steep climbs/descents. Now the climbing I like, as you know, but the steep twisty singletrack is not one of my strong points, even though I do enjoy it greatly.

This time around I did go with the knobbly Conti Crossmax tires. My reasoning here was that this race was so much longer and a bunch of us were going to do a lot of laps on tight singletrack and so muddy conditions were a risk. Funnily enough we also had an enormous downpour of rain just an hour before the start of the race, just as we were arriving at the location. But it stopped in a few minutes and the tracks turned out to be perfectly dry throughout the race. So I ended up making a safe choice, although not an optimal one, with the tires. 

The race went well anyway and each time I came around to the twisty section of the lap I went a little quicker as I both started to relax more and more and started to learn the track.

I finished the race in 3rd place in the M50 category. Not a spectacular result but I was happy with it under the circumstances.

The 50 km of this course took 3 hours to complete. Compare that with the previous day's X-Cup which was 15km and took about 30 minutes. 16 km/h average speed in Outdoor Sydfyn and 28 km/h in X-Cup. That says everything about the complexity of the courses.

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