This is a venue that I had not raced at before so I was quite excited to see what all the fuss was about after it was voted as the 2014 Southern XC course of the year.

I had just returned from a week in Wales on the RAF MTB Summer training camp at Afan, and after spending the week riding on rock it was a surprise to be back riding on soft loamy mud!!!

As usual I headed out on my practice laps full of confidence from the work I had been doing on my technical riding, especially on my weakest point which was drop offs. For the first time this year I was able to ride every A-line without hesitation or the need to stop, look and panic!!


Race time came along and I lined up on the front row. I got a good start and slipped in behind the fast guys, the aim was to stick to the back of their wheels for as long as possible. Disaster struck when someone from behind tried to overtake in a gap that did not exist and I went over the handle bars, I was quickly rushed back to my feet by an Army Cycling lad. I jumped back on the bike and started to hammer after the back of a group of riders. By the end of the lap I had made some places back up but was on my own I just put my head down and kept pushing. I had made a mess of my leg in the crash and was in some discomfort and not riding 100%. By the end of the lap I found myself caught by a small group. As we crossed the line to start lap three we realised the race had been stopped.    

A rider had gone down in a very technical and sketchy part of the course and needed to be removed by ambulance. After a twenty minute wait we were back underway starting in groups of ten in the order we had crossed the line. My group went hard from the start and we made progress on catching the group ahead. Unfortunately it a tight twisty section I got held up by the rider ahead when they moved offline and as I avoided hitting him I went down again. On the last lap I was in the lead of a group and was feeling strong however the tape marking the course had been removed at a section and the whole group ending up going down the wrong path... by the time we had realised we were several hundred metres the wrong way and as we turned around I was then at the back. With half a lap to go I had a fight on my hands to make up places. All was in vein unfortunately because with 300m to go I dropped the chain and lost all the places I made up, I eventually crossed the line in 16th places. The only consolation was that I was the highest placed service person.

Not the race I was hoping for and I was disappointed when I found out that on lap three I was running in eight place. The positives are that I am sitting in sixth place in the overall standings with one race to go and that apart from going down twice I am riding technically the best I ever have.




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