11 December 2011

My first cross country race

So I went to my first cross country mountainbike race yesterday. I've ridden mountainbikes for about 12 years, but have never been too much into racing. I have only ridden a few handfulls of downhill races and some BMX.

I got geared up and right away almost got disqualified because of my dropbars. They thought I rode a cross bike. They told me I could ride, but couldn't win. So I had to explain to them what a mountainbike is (not that I'm sure) and it was okay.

Is it a mountainbike?

This race is part of a winter race series of six events. The course was pretty uninteresting. Tamed down to suit entry level riders too. There were some pretty steep hills though. My legs aren't in top shape... I don't really train, I just ride often and sometimes I can't be bothered with climbs. I'm more into the technical aspects or just getting out and about.

I'm jumping back and forth in this banter, but oh well. The first round was pretty unenjoyable. Kept visualising myself stopping after that round, not bothering with it. It started with me in the middle of the mass start. That was okay as the first 1.5 km section is all flat, so I couldn't keep up with one gear. After this came the first climb. Pretty steep gravel section on loose gravel. The hill was packed with riders dropping into their smallest gears. I had to keep going at my own pace and must have blewn past 10-20 riders. Zig-zagging, amost elbow wrestling and bar banging. It was pretty fun.

After this there was a looooong stretch of fireroads that were all about legs. To my luck there was also a short muddy singletrack section ending in a technical descent. People stood still on the singletrack with no room to overtake, but I was able to blow past a few riders on the descent.

Towards the end of round one, I could almost taste blood. After crossing the finishline I had to take it a bit easy... almost tourist speed on the flat section. Forcing myself to go slow enough to be able to breathe through my nose. Before the first climb again, I pulled over and took a break next to a bench for a minute or so. Some riders passed me, looking at me as to see what was wrong. After this I felt pretty fresh again and continued up the hill. I decided to walk twice, because it was just as fast as riding and at less effort. I caught back up with the guys who had just passed me and had a chat with one of them.

Before the first climb.

After this it's all just repitition from round one until reaching the singletrack on round three, where I was able to get past a few people. Then I knew the finishline was only about 2.5 km away, so I was going in for the sprint. I was able to pass a couple of guys despite it was all fireroads. Going inside on turns always works.

The last 500 meters were all flat, but I was able to spin away ahead of the guys behind me. I ended up placing 34 out of 119. I'm pretty satisfied with that, not that it really matters.

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