[Report by David Conway]
There’s always great banter and camaraderie on the start line of an XC mountain bike race. The riders line up, there’s a little argy bargy over position but it’s all good natured. Everyone is friendly, the craic is good, we’re all in it together. It was probably the same for the gladiators just before they ran out into the Colosseum to fight each other to the death.
The starter calls 10 seconds to go. No more chat. All you hear is the clicking of cleats into pedals and the beeping of Garmins, then BANG! Suddenly it’s all panting and grunting and mashing of gears and tyres crunching gravel. The anaerobic dash to the first singletrack funnel is on. Banter and camaraderie me ar$e, team mates me ar$e, showtime!
That’s just how it was on Sunday when David Furlong, Ross Moorhead and I lined out in Ballyhoura for the 5th and final round of the Munster XC series.
DF did the driving once again. Joy had put the foot down so no fancy new car this week, we had to make do with the elderly Laguna. We made the best of it and it only took us a few minutes to straighten up after the long journey.
Pre-race routine is always pretty much the same. First sign on. (These Munster races have only 2 senior male categories, “Male” and “Elites”. We entered the Elite race. Sounds good doesn’t it?) Then tog out, practice lap, bite to eat, visit the portaloo, head for the start. All went smoothly and before we knew it we were having the craic with all the other gladiators on the start line. Then BANG! The red mist came down.
As always I started way too hard and was under pressure almost immediately. Still, I managed to keep the momentum and put in a decent first lap. The course was a well balanced mix of fire road climbs, trail centre descents and a few stretches of homespun natural singletrack. Nothing too technical on it but you were always flat out.
Ross was well away and out of sight after the first lap. DF was somewhere behind me. I suffered a bit on lap 2 so I wasn’t surprised when DF passed me early in the 3rd and final lap. I managed to stay in touch and then found a second wind towards the end of the last long climb. I decided to attack – if I could make it to the next singletrack section before DF I reckoned I’d have a good chance of staying ahead. As I passed by he muttered something about blowing a gasket. Excellent news I thought so I pushed harder, opened a gap and made it stick. I continued to push hard all the way to the finish line where I was pipped in a sprint for 9th by a cute tactician from Killarney!
Ross was already home in 4th place, I managed 10th with DF not far behind in 11th.
Then it was post race analysis all the way home. Thanks to my fellow travellers for a great day out and well done to organisers ULMTB & LMTB, it was a well organised event, no fuss, no faffing, no hassle, just great racing.
PS. Thanks also to Lynn Hayden who dropped by to spectate and support us!
Filed under: MTB Race Reports |