Last Sunday saw the final round of the 2009 Midlands XC series with my local venue Sherwood Pines playing host in the September sunshine... yes, fast dry and dusty trails were the order of the day!
After over 3 weeks off the bike whilst travelling I was nervous about the race to say the least. A couple of road rides and a quick off-road blast during the week suggested the legs felt ok and I'd been at altitude so that might help too... I hoped!
After catching up with friends and a gentle practice lap around the super-fast and flowy course, 2.30 came all too soon and the race was on. Lined up 5th on the grid thanks to my series position didn't help the nerves but it was too late to worry, the race was on... and some race it was! The flat-out Pines course has never been my favourite for racing as it doesn't exactly favour my climbing preferences but wow was that start and the first lap a shock! It seems that 3 weeks had taken their toll after all and whilst my legs felt strong, the top-end pace I'd found in the last round was gone. Slipping into the teens by the end of the first lap I finally settled down and started to warm up. It wasn't to last though and about halfway through lap 2 I got knocked off-line down a steep dusty chute... thinking I'd held onto it despite being in the bushes, the next thing I knew was sailing over the bars and hearing the hiss of my front tyre as it rapidly lost all its air. Despite a quick fix attempt, it wasn't to be and it was game over!
The day wasn't so bad though with lessons learned & the Series places based on the best 3 results... meaning I finished with a 6th in Sport :)
Also on the AQR front, Kirsty was the team star of the day with a win in her Masters category and 2nd in the series - well done Kirsty!
Photos to follow soon...