Wednesday, 19 June 2013

3rd at British Universities MTB

Last weekend was the British University MTB Champs (BUCS), held once again on Birchall, an area just outside Sheffield. Last year it had rained solidly for a few weeks before, creating a mudfest rivalling Mountain Mayhem. I thought I'd pulled off a good race to finish 4th more due to my running ability than my biking skills...

3rd in the individual and 2nd team!
However, this was probably the last time I'll race a BUCS race and I still had one target to achieve. I'd won BUCS medals (and even a BUSA medal I think - yes I've been at Uni long enough for them to change the name of the sports association) as part of a team, but I'd never quite made it onto the podium in the individual race, so I was going to have to give it a go!

On a preride I was very pleased to see they'd removed the killer grassy grind up from the start, inserting an even steeper singletrack one. I'm not joking, this was much more fun! The course was also dry! YES! No hike a bike this time :-).
The start of each lap had a section of field to hammer it across, then you hit a rutted track before you entered the forest. Straight into the singletrack and up a steep hill (with one 'unridable' for me section) then the rest was a whole lot of swooping fun. They'd also kept my favourite bit of the course in, an excellent bit of downhill with a good speedy burm followed by a steep drop/jump.

So I set off with my new race tactic for this year, race at the front until you can't anymore! Well...that was approximately 100m, thanks Helen Clayton for that steaming pace off the line!

Andy chasing me down!

My lungs were burning entereing the forest, this is the first properly fast effort I've put in since being prescribed drugs that seem to work for my asthma. Turns out they do work, I didn't actually have to stop, but it did take 1.5laps (30mins) for my lungs to warm up properly...hmmm think I might need to change my warm up in future if I'm going to race for less than 5hours...

Trying to put as many guys between me and 4th

 The first lap was spent changing position, 4th - 5th - 4th. The first 3 disappeared after I almost lost it on some roots. I pulled away from 5th but I really didn't think I stood a chance of catching them again. Then we hit the finish/start field and there was 3rd! I caught her half way through lap 2, just as my lungs started operating properly but just as we went from open field to singletrack. I decided to stick on her wheel for a bit.

Too fast for the camera. My favourite bit of the race, downhill!
 Mistake! She used the best tactic available in the girls race, namely putting guys moving slower than you between you and your opposition. We'd started 5mins behind the mens race so spent most of the race catching and overtaking guys - both good in terms of having a target and bad in terms of getting stuck...
Team Sheffield!
No need to panic though, once on the field again I reeled her back in and overtook, putting the hammer down and trying to employ the same tactics in reverse for the last 2 laps.

It was such a fun race, the route was much better than last year through just a few tweeks, less soggy grass sections, some logs in the uncrossable wheel eating trench....

I managed to stay ahead, finishing 3rd and getting that elusive individual medal! As a bonus, Becky Bright had an ace ride to finish 8th, meaning we won silver in the team competition as well! The guys team had a good day at the office getting the silver medal in the team competition. So I had to squeeze a quick celebratory drink in before heading off to a great evening of dancing at my friends wedding!

No comments:

Post a Comment