As the 'blogosphere' is currently buzzing with British National Champs posts I thought I would see if I could provide an alternative to the more race focused blogs out there and give an insight into my current mindset regarding racing. Although this will be the second blog post today, there is really quite a gap between writing sessions.
I will start by saying that this is not about racing, this is about a weekend of doing a few of the things I love. If I go off track and talk heavily about racing I will have to ask for forgiveness, but bear with it, all being well it will return to something a little lighter. As such I won't give my usual course description, for this see the countless other reports flying around such as that found on British Cycling's website. I also have no photos, so once again BC or Joolze is the go to. I don't have lap times, I have a vague idea of how I rode and I know where I finished (for those concerned and so as not to maintain suspense for an underwhelming result, my number is 9th). More over, I am not going to post excuses, my result was what it was and if you want to know background then it can be found in earlier posts.
My weekend started on Friday evening; I finished 'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo' (Stieg Larsson, translated from Swedish to English by Reg Keeland, interestingly changing the title from 'Men Who Hate Women') which was brilliant, although I was disappointed to have forgotten who gave it to me and that they had not written in it. I have made a recent decision to try and write in all of the books I read, although 1984 now has a bit of a spoiler in the front of it thanks to this, which I'm sure Ric did not appreciate when he read my copy.
I then finally got around to starting David Millar's autobiography; 'Racing Through The Dark: The Fall and Rise of David Millar'. I had been keen to read this ever since I first read about his writing of it, and contemplated getting it on it's release in New Zealand but postage would have been extorsionate, so I waited patiently and knew that I had to finish 'The Girl...' So on Friday evening I hungrily started this book but I was soon asleep after 40 or so pages. This had been enough to wet my appetite though and the rest of the weekend was spent reading as much as I could. I was thinking of providing a book review, but I'm no reviewer; suffice to say it is a key read for cyclists and those who doubt David.
Saturday started ominously enough with rain bucketing down delaying Dad and my packing of the car, but soon enough we were away, chatting occasionally but mostly with him driving and me reading. On arriving at the venue I signed on as usual, relaxed with Steve, caught up with others then set about getting out for a pre-ride. I took the go-pro camera with me and got a good few (of my own) crashes on camera. It would appear that I had forgotten how to ride flat rooty singletrack in my time away. Thankfully half way through the actual race it came flooding back to me.
The evening was spent putting up out tent, and although I was quite out of practice it went up smoothly enough, after which we found our way to a pretty village pub with Ben, Tim, Chris and Peter for some late dinner followed by lashings of custard (it wouldn't be a racing weekend without custard). The night and morning settled into their usual routine with Dad looking after me more than I deserve allowing me to relax and think about the race. I have to admit to not thinking about the race one jot, which was lovely.
The race went as well as could be hoped, with me riding lazily around in the top ten knowing there was a big gap between the guy I was riding with (Jack) and the rider in front of us and knowing that I would be unlikely to bridge it. That is until Jon Pybus (recovering from a first lap mechanical) came storming past. I couldn't resist jumping on then giving him a lead out. People will have their own views on my lack of competitive spirit in such a big race, but I gave Jon what I felt he deserved and did try to out manoeuvre him knowing I was unlikely to be able to outsprint him.
No water in the showers left me muddy and smelly for the journey home, but all in it was a great weekend, not dulled by the grey skies and rain. It was great to be camping with my Dad again and something that I had looked forward to for ages. As far as my mindset with regards to racing goes, the race was successful because I had fun. That is all.
Now I may try and get some semblance of fitness back for the end of the season.
No promises though.