Hebridean Cycle Club

Paul at Swordale


Race Report
Steve represents Heb Cycling Club in Final Round of SXC 2011

31 July 2011

After a quiet year preparing for the cross season, I entered the final SXC race of the season on the day on Sunday the 31st of July. After getting acquainted with the lovely chemical toilets synonymous with the SXC series I headed out for a practice lap with Gordy Bathgate (fellow Square Wheeler). The course was a bit deceptive with a sprint start for the first 3-4mins, followed by a couple of steep single track climbs, followed by the best old school dirt decent I’ve ridden since the 1980’s bmx scene in Parkham!

This lulled me into a feeling of this isn’t so bad etc, which should sound alarm bells – but as usual I’m not a fast learner, and I was confronted with a long and slow single track/grassy climb which lasted for a good 6-9mins. The course then combined sweet singletrack and small climbs with a couple of wet patch’s thrown in for photo opportunities. This was all surveyed with my winter jacket with wallet, phone, kitchen sink on board, which sucked any fluid still left on board out of various holes in my body.  Panic then set in as I realized it was race time, with a dry thirst and no time to compose myself – nothing unusual in the pro level prep then.

The race started well for the first min until somebody decided to crash at the first corner taking out a couple of second row riders out. It was then a case of trying to catch guys quicker than me through 5-6 slower riders on lap one, which sent me into the red from lap one onwards. The first two laps were respectable top five stuff, but were followed by two laps of rectal collapse proportions. Usual scenario of sucking air in until the descents and free rolling the descents as the body could not get into any form of rhythm.

I finished the race in a respectable 7th place after a sprint finish from a rider from a different category – something common place this year as the organizers have ditched category related numbers, which has caused unnecessary confusion during racing. I have had riders in the same cat calling out rider etc which is annoying!

Anyway, a good race course, with the usual dose of what ifs etc. One thing I did learn during the race was that hardtails are a thing of the past. I rode our team managers Giant Anthem instead of my carbon Giant hardtail, and really felt no disadvantage in terms of hill climbing. This was combined with much improved traction and control in the descents and rough root sections of singletrack, allowing superior power delivery on uneven terrain, which for any rider over ten and a half stone is a real advantage.
Finally, beer KFC and Goodness Shakes make an ideal recovery combo!


Steve makes a splash at Perth Steve makes a splash at Perth


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