Race report by David Furlong
NPS RD1 hosted by Team WORC, Djouce, Wicklow, 19th April
Our own Blackstairs XC League (preceded for me and DC by a Winter of CX racing) had us in what we thought was reasonable shape, even better than usual for this time of year. Some especially good showings in the Blackstairs XC by DC and Ross had us hopeful of great things.
Djouce is known as probably the most technically difficult place in Ireland to ride, and that coupled with the fact that the host club is XC legends Robin Seymours club, we were expecting a technical challenge. Robin usually lays out difficult course, with steep off-camber always a feature. So we were praying for a dry week leading up to the race, which we thankfully got. Still there was some trepidation, for me especially, having fractured my knee in a race there in 2008.
So off we set, me DC, Ross and Brian – all in S3 category. We arrived to find an ashen-faced Brian after his practice lap. He described two particularly tricky sections..So we went for a track walk – well worth it. What we saw was typical Djouce – steep technical off-camber singletrack down and steep kickers back up. But it was dry!
Practice lap done, time to line up. Ross and DC got themselves on the front of the grid, Brian and me a few rows back. Gun goes – the usual sprint. But we’ve got used to this now and it’s not the shock that it used to be. The CX racing definitely helps.
Ross layed up with the leaders for 2 laps, going out on the third and final lap in 3rd place. But whilst going well, he’s probably not in peak shape yet and finished 6th. Definitely better things to come. DC also flew out the gate and despite a few small mechanicals got into the top 20 in 18th place.
As for me, I was on my new 29er hardtail,which was great. I was happy with my performance – made a few errors near the start but generally rode well. Myself and Brian basically rode the first 2 1/1 laps together, trading places a few times. But the elixir of youth kicked in then and the whippersnapper pulled away..We finished 22nd and 24th respectively – out of a field of 70 odd
All happy. Ross maybe a little disappointed not to hang on to the podium spot, but that will come. DC in the top 20. Brian and I together just a few mins behind DC.
I guage my performance against guys that I am racing against year in year out – including my own clubmates.The last few years I would normally be a few mins behind Brian and 5 or more behind DC…so I closed that gap a little…and other lads that are usually around my position I had well behind me – so on that basis I’m happy with my performance
The next round is next weekend – but it’s in Delphi Co Mayo which is a bit far for me.
So the next race is Rd 3 at the beginning of June
We’ll try to keep the race shape by doing some of the IMBRC club races on Tuesday nights
lastly – thanks to Jim and Brian for organising the XC league – definitely has us sharper than usual for this time of year…
and thanks to Ross for the driving duties
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