Started off with a massive climb, just under 2 hours, half of which was on compacted snow. Got to the top for one of the greatest cups of tea ever, and then straight into the first stage of the race. The format was 3 man starts, and I was starting with my buddy Seb who usually posts identical times to myself. The first 5 seconds of the race set up the theme of the day: I took the lead, pedalled hard to get away from the 2 others, slight bend in the road, leaned into the corner, slip, crash, covered in snow. Over the next 10 minutes this happened over and over... Eventually I finished last in my group, soaked and frozen...
Things picked up massively in the second stage, which started lower down the mountain and thus had much shallower snow. I managed to just about stay ahead of Seb (some bad manners required), until half way down when the track was dry and I was able to ride properly and took a reasonable lead in my group.
Pumped up from the second round, I thought things would go great in the third. Sadly this was not the case. The last special was probably the steepest track of the day, and while not under snow, it was covered in mud. No proper excuse, despite 3 years of mud riding 100% of the time back in Cork, I just couldnt hack it on the (seriously) steeper parts and rode very poorly. By the time I got to the dry section of the track I had psyched myself out and couldnt feel my fingers from the cold.
So a pretty terrible performance all-round from myself, ended up with a not quite so terrible 89th with Seb trashing me with a 73rd. Pretty bummed at how poorly I rode anywhere that wasnt either dry or flat. Really well organised event tho, and definitely planning on heading back up there later on in the year.
|About half way up the 1st climb. Levens in the foreground, the sea in the back|
|Tea with a view. Really needed it after 2 hours pedalling/pushing up in the snow|
|New year, new gear, new club...|
|SS1 Start gate|
|Fall number 1|
|Should have pushed him off|
|If this was me, I would be even more sideways, but also more lying in the snow|
|Spot the biker|
Photo credit: Seb, Will from Levens. Thanks