I was so out of touch I couldn't remember how much air to put in my tyres, I just didn't have a clue on the night.
And looking around everyone else looked at ease. At least I had Marcus from the Buzzards for some company.
We signed in and set off for a recce lap.Considering you are in Milton Keynes the circuit is pretty technical and mixed. Setting off from the flat grassy area alongside the road circuits straight you go into a short sharp climb up the Bowls amphitheater, then along the rim of the Bowl and down into the very tight singletrack. The circuit zig-zags through the trees before descending again onto the flat just so you can climb the side of the Bowl again! Once on the rim you have the option of descending the steps or the slower but safer singletrack, option two for me. What follows is a long section of damp off camber singletrack. The cut down tree stumps are highlighted in flo yellow paint, but it's still a job to stay upright with elbows, ankles and pedals clipping the ground or the trees. Once out of there it's a mad dash across a gravel section and up onto some raised singletrack. Up here you can't make any mistakes the path is about twelve inches wide with five drop either side....so relax. After that the remaining singletrack seems easy. Just one more climb, the third ascent of the Bowl and it's a high speed drop to the start/finish.
Now I just needed to race it.
I decided to hang off the back, but that was a big mistake. Once into the singletrack you simply can't pass another rider. Clearly a good few hadn't recce'd the circuit and were caught out by the sudden turns and climbs. This caused a huge bottleneck and it meant those that had got off the start first had a first lap time half that of mine.
Still I cracked on and stayed on every lap, with the exception of dabbing to pass fallen riders or those opting to walk the off camber section....grrrrrrrr.
I could feel my confidence growing with every lap, but it was too late to do much about moving up some places. That said I felt my road legs kick in on the open sections, so perhaps I'll get my chance at the next round?
|Hammering, yes hammering to the next climb|