Having missed the third round of the spring series, I was keen to get back out on the race course. Also, the weather of the last couple of weeks has meant that the trails have dried out impressively quickly and should be in good condition.
After a nightmare of a drive to Porridgepot Hill, near Deepcut (roads closed, detours to get petrol, running late…) I turned up with about 25mins to get signed in and ready. So no chance of any pre-race riding to warm up… ah well. As it happened the start to the Open race was delayed as a couple of Fun riders became casualties of the course and had to be carted off in a nice fluorescent yellow van with flashing blue lights on the top… Hope the damage wasn’t too bad!
When the time eventually came round for the race to start, it was, as ever, a fast and furious sprint away from the line. This led into a fast doubletrack descent with a couple of rooty drops in, before climbing back up the hill. The Porridgepot course basically loops around the hill, on top of which is the race arena and car park. There were some lovely sections of swooping singletrack, and some fun descents alongside the boundary to the army firing range. It was entering one of these on the first lap where I got a bit carried away, very nearly ending up sideways in a chain-link fence!
The second lap saw me all alone; I couldn’t see the rider in front, or behind. This meant with nobody visible to keep ahead of, or catch up with; I got on and rode at my own pace. I got caught on the third lap, but overtook another rider towards the end, so stayed position neutral.
Coming into the final singletrack sections, I had regained the wheel of the rider who’d overtaken me earlier in the lap. Stomping hard on the pedals I went all out to overtake him in the closing stages. He heard me behind and went for it too. Racing down a muddy dip, I caught a branch in the face which then meant I couldn’t see out of my left eye, so was never able to make that overtaking manoeuvre.
I finished in 20th place, maintaining my top 20 goal.