Thursday, 8 May 2014

A different class

It's taken me a few days to write up my report from the BCXC Series Round 2 at Wheal Maid Valley, near Redruth, Cornwall.  I wasn't going to bother blogging about this round at all, as I simply wasn't happy with my result, but there are still positives to take away from it and the course was so good I feel I have to rave about it!

After my disappointment with the course at the first BCXC round at Codham Park, Wheal Maid more than made up for it with a rough, rocky "proper" mountain bike course.  Tough, loose climbs, fast flowing descents, steep technical sections . . . it actually felt quite Scottish despite my distance from home!  I loved it!  I sessioned the technical sections a few times on the Saturday practice and got 3 laps in.  I felt the course really suited me and with a higher gridding this time and having learned from my lessons at the last BCXC round, I was feeling good . . . 

. . . but that is definitely not how I felt at the end!  Despite working hard on my starts recently, I just didn't get away fast enough.  I got caught up as we entered the first singletrack section and basically had to stop and queue to get going again!  By this time, the lead pack was away in the distance.  I must have lost about 5 places just from the start line loop and then this didn't help.  I managed to make up some places on a couple of climbs again but lost one again on the second lap.

I ended up on my own for a while with nobody immediately in front to chase.  Perhaps this led me to not push myself as hard as I usually do, but on analysing my heart rate data afterwards, I averaged my lactate threshold heart rate for the whole race so my body was definitely trying hard!  But on looking at the lap times afterwards, this leads me onto explain the title of this blog post . . .

I ended up 22nd and while that's better than my 31st place at the first round, there were fewer riders, so it's about the same as a percentage.  I'm therefore pretty disappointed and to go from winning the last round of the SXC to being 22nd at the BCXC, it left me wondering if I'm really cut out for this at the British level.  On looking at the lap times afterwards, most of the top 10 to 15 riders in my Masters category are lapping in the same kind of times as half of the Elite field and most of the Expert field!  Hence, a different class!

Those who follow me on Twitter will have noticed my tweet afterwards considering dropping to the Sport category.  I've got the option to do that in the British series and had I been in Sport at the weekend I'd have been 10th out of about 30 riders.  But I've thought long and hard about it and why take the easier option?  Yes, I do feel that more of the top Masters riders should be forced up to Expert and it's pretty unfair on the rest of us, but it gives me something to aim for and to really push myself.  If I can even get in the top 20 this year in the British Masters category I'll be over the moon.  So I just need to keep on trying my best in that and keep my focus on the Scottish Series, which is absolutely my priority.

Well, I was trying to keep that a bit shorter than my usual long posts but it's maybe only a bit shorter!  I've been back doing some base endurance training over the past 3 weeks since Cathkin and that's building towards the British MTB Marathon Championships in Selkirk this Saturday.  It's back to the type of event I used to focus on (as opposed to shorter XC races) but I'm considering this a C priority this year as I'm focussing on XC racing instead.  However, I'm still really looking forward to it as the course was fantastic last year and, despite the weather forecast (rain!), it'll be great fun and I plan to experiment a bit with my race strategy, nutrition and so on, in preparation for a few of the longer endurance events I'm doing later in the season.  Full report on Selkirk to follow next week!


  1. Chin up and keep at it, its good to post the bad times too as its a nice wee reminder of what you went through ;)

  2. Bigger picture Dezzy, that's not 22nd out of a group of mates mucking about on the trails, this is the BRITISH CXC and I think that's a bloody good result so well done! You think how far you've come in such a short time and look how well you're doing, it's amazing!!