This was the first season that I have raced after coming off medication so was determined to give it my best shot, I had trained hard and had used a set of rollers for the first time in training. I felt good going to the first race at Avenham Park in Preston, a bit of a trek for me but it was part of a cross weekend so justified. I left home on the Wednesday for the Saturday race but was basing myself in Dumfries so wasn't too bad a journey. I had checked everything before I left but checked everything again on the Friday afternoon. BANG, a tub had perished and when getting blown up again blew out. Jings, thats annoying I thought, but never mind I had taken a spare set of clincher wheels just in case of this eventuality but I thought I could maybe pick up a tub at the race for Sundays race.
I arrived in plenty of time for the race and got the new bike ready, a Sabbath prototype, and got my kit on. I then met one of the guys from Sabbath and got talking to him for a while, its amazing going to a race you have never been to and folk just talk away, brilliant. My clubmate, Hans arrived next and we had a pedal round together discussing lines etc.
Lining up I knew I was too far back at the start but hoped I could make it up, BANG and off we went, first corner after a few overtaking maouvers and I felt ok then my chain came off in the first climb. Oh dear, fired it back on and then realised I was last, behind the cagoule, training shoes wearing brigade, this made me fired up and off I set after the main field. I was going great again when the chain came off, this was the ritual for most of the race, I overtake the cagoules and then the chain comes off, back go the cagoules, nothing for it, outside ring and leave it there and go for it. This works for a while and I am climbing back up the standings and see a couple of slower riders in front, bell lap, go for it. Brilliant, things coming together and get past and try and put a big dig in to give me some clear space when I manage to catch a lip of concrete and get a snakebite puncture. Jings, thats unlucky says I as I run the last half lap, stayed ahead of the cagoule brigade so there was some positives.
Driving back up the M6 I reflected on the race, not too bad speed in the legs when things got going so besides some dreadful mechanicals I was reasonably pleased. Back in Dumfries, fettling bike was number one priority in time for the next days race at Kendal. Down the M6 with coffee in the mug I was looking forward to this one to try and get yesterdays downer exorcised.
Hans was also doing the 'cross weekend so we met up again and then saw Maddy from VC Moulin who was down visiting her folks. This was a more rugged, farm type of course. I was more assertive at the start and was in the main bunch into the first corner, from there the race went really well with me putting in dig after dig and was actualy enjoying it, I started taking chances and was sitting in a reasonable top 20 position going into the last lap, tiredness started to creep in tho and I managed to clip a gatepost and ripped my skinsuit, drat. Still a top twenty, I was really happy with that, ther bike had worked perfectly and I had no mechanicals, I maybe had all my seasons mechanicals in one day! The drive back up the M6 was great and the curry to celebrate that night was especially sweet. I felt good and was looking forward to the Scottish series starting in a fortnights time. I hadn't raced for 3 and a half months so it was good to see where I was in relation to others, one of the joys of working so hard in the Summer.
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