This was one of the monthly Red Kite winter xc races (see the write up from the October race). I’d spent Saturday on a 70km epic ride so liked the idea of a 90 minute race (plus one lap) and a scheduled lie down in the afternoon.
Conditions were dry and vaguely warm for Wales at 3 deg C. The route was the classic Cwm Trallwm loop as used at least once last year but now with better jumps and features on the main descent. See the video from October for an idea of what to expect. There was a ford crossing on the river instead of the bridge which was ideal for washing the bike mid lap.
I was feeling a bit jaded after my long ride the previous day but still up for the challenge. After a massive bowl of porridge I stuffed my face with Trek bars and then a Mule bar to supercharge the energy levels. My main issue was with feeling a bit dehydrated so I drank a load of water but still had dry lips.
I got off to a promising start with the pack but realised after about two minutes that I wasn’t going to sustain it so backed off and watched the first half of the field pull away and past me up the long, muddy track. I wasn’t too bothered really and I was actually feeling really good considering how knackered I should have been. I’ve been getting into the zone a lot recently – as I work the body I can find a sweet spot where the energy is there and I feel a physical high. No pain and misery involved. I think it might have something to do with yoga and giving up alcohol.
Conditions were a bit wetter than last time and I wasn’t totally happy with my performance downhill. Either way, the laps were taking just under half an hour so it looked like I was going to be doing four of them.
I gradually pulled a few riders back in as the race went on which was good for my motivation. I caught a veteran on the main climb and it was a fair cop in my opinion. I didn’t see him again until the bottom of the descent where he stood up on the pedals and pulled a big distance on me up the next climb. I next caught sight of him near the top of the trail and he was zig zagging up the track. “He’s knackered, let’s have him!” I thought. But I couldn’t catch him.
Overall the race went really well for me. The results arrived via email and confirmed that I hadn’t won and I hadn’t come last either. I was 4th out of 7 in the expert category (youngish old gits). My lap times were just under 30 minutes whereas the top three were managing around 22 minutes. I’ve done a quick squiggle analysis which is shown below.
Stats for this and the previous race shown below.
See another write up on this event from Chris Schroder.