Wednesday, 21 February 2018

#RGCX

It's finally here. The final round of Super Quaich, held at Rouken Park, on the south side of Glasgow.

Saturday was spent with the Albannach crew building the course. First time I had been to the park, and it looked like an awesome venue, plenty of hills, lots of off camber stuff, muddy, and some singletrack. The perfect mix, and hopefully, ideal for a SS CX bike...


Saturday night was cold, so was slightly disappointed when I turned up to help at 7:30am to find most of the ground still frozen, I needn't have worried though, temperatures rose a bit and the mud came out to play.

The way the Super Quaich series works, is that it's split into "A" and "B" races, mixed ages, gender, but the general rule is that all riders in "B" should be a similar level. The top 5 from the B race then get promoted to A, and the the bottom 5 from A go into B. That all makes sense.

With just 2 races throughout the day it was a pretty relaxed atmosphere. I was down for marshal duties for the B race at 11am, and this offered a good opportunity to see how the course was riding, and what lines to take, or avoid...


The A race was at 1pm, so with a bit of time for a warm up/practice lap I headed down to the start line, which was basically a long uphill tarmac sprint, which turned into a gravel track before disappearing into the woods. I was gridded about 4 rows back from the front (4 on each row) so position wise, not too bad. I knew the start was going to be interesting, mainly due to running single speed (34:18) so couple that with a poor clip in attempt, it took a few turns to get upto speed. Probably about 20 riders back as we disappeared into the woods, and just a few minutes into the race I had kind of forgotten how high your HR goes so quickly. This is going to hurt.

Half a lap down and I had settled into an uncomfortable, but hopefully sustainable pace and seemed to be picking riders off. The course was so much fun to ride, a real credit to Jim and Euan's design ideas, the singletrack back to the start was a particular highlight. The first full lap was good, the off camber sections were not as bad (read, muddy mess) as I had thought they might be. I'm not sure anybody rode the hill after the start, I certainly didn't and ran as quick as I could, gaining another place on the hill. The SS still doing great, there didn't really appear to be any sections where I was wanting gears, apart from possibly the bottom section (bog) towards the start/gravel climb, that was a slog.

Fast forward, now 2 laps to go, and unlike most cross races I didn't actually want this to finish, such good fun. Best course I have ridden. Race was going well, I had moved upto 6th and was chasing Steve from Sunday Echappee, and Lewis from Albannach. However, looking at my lap times I was starting to slow, and with 1 lap to go I dropped to 7th, with 8th and 9th hot on my heel. The chase was off, and it was about maintaining my position now. Slight mechanical involving a branch (and probably my legs too) in the wooded section saw me drop to 10th with half a lap to go. Didn't really have the legs to get back onto 8th and 9th so rolled over the line in 10th. Maybe with gears the legs would have felt slightly fresher, and i'd have been able to chase and hold onto 6th. But then, racing SS is bloody awesome, almost nothing to go wrong and the bike weighs very little. 



Given my lack of high intensity riding, and riding in general since December I was pleased with the result. Maybe running is helping in a kind of weird way. Great to be riding for Albannach, such an awesome crew, and looking forward to getting out for some spring and summer miles with them... Anyway, only 6-ish months until the 2018/19 cross season starts...

Cheers
Will 






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