British Mountain Bike Series round 3-4th, Aske estate, 14/5/17.

Started off the weekend by looking at the promising weather, which was great as camping in a field in the countryside can be very miserable in the rain .

Once we had arrived I got ready to ride the course, I had a chat to some of the lads about it and their reply was “it’s hilly”. Whilst riding the course I knew that they weren’t lying, as it was full steepish climbs of a decent length. The descents on the other hand, were quite featureless and had little steep drops . This made for a real tough course as the course felt like it was primarily up and up and up. I think the course was a good fitness test as well, with punchy climbs which will grind people down, and many attacking opportunities.

After a good nights sleep, we woke up to the sound of tires being worn away by rollers. I joined them shortly afterwards and started warming up. After my warm up we were gridded and started. My start was much stronger this time, because I had considered the 3 phases of a good start (standing sprint, seated but still accelerating, attacking out of the saddle). On the first descent I found myself behind a nervous descender, who eventually fell off and held the group up allowing 2nd and 3rd to make a gap. As we went on the gap got larger before I found a space to pass, I leaped on the opportunity and began my chase for a podium. I caught 3rd and 2nd coming into the arena on the first lap, but I wasn’t welcome as they began a series of accelerations to unlatch me from the group. They were successful, but I continued to fight to get back on , and the unrelenting attacks continued to weaken me throughout the race. These left me with a disadvantage in the sprint finish leaving me with a consistent 4th position.

I’ve learnt from this race that I must be up there from the beginning, and that is where I lost time and energy in this race. Since I was going faster than them to catch them up, when it came to staying with the pair I didn’t have the legs. This only occurred because of my position at the beginning of the race.

All in all I have learnt some valuable lessons, and have come away knowing that I have what it takes to get a podium.

(Painful racing )