Wednesday, January 13, 2010

SI XC Cup Round 1: Living Springs

Last seasons exploits earned Ollie the #10 plate and a front row place on the start grid
Photo: Canterbury Singletrack Club
First race of the new year was scheduled for Living Springs. A super-fun local loop that is the buffed baby of local bikers/builders. I like nothing more than to head over the hill after work for a few hot laps of the course, but the elite race would be next level taking in 7 laps at a furious pace.
Early in the season as it was, it was with trepidation that I took my place on the front row of the grid. I was certain that all out pace would be lacking after a week or so of epic trail riding in the sounds, so would rely on consistent pace and tactical nous to get through.

Photo: Canterbury Singletrack Club

Off the line I drooped a few spots, but peeled a few back, sprinting to the singletrack climb to block any punters wanting to extend their climbing advantage.
Straight into the box for an two and a half hours, although to be fair the sweet decent made it seem like half that. Picking off a few places then trading positions with some fresh new fast faces, it all came to a head on lap 6 when on standing to pump a rise a leg locked causing an arm spasm that nearly ended in a tank slapper. Given this was on the fastest part of the course (50 km/h) it was a rush to wrestle control of my limbs back before heading up the hill to test the legs again.

The river crossing provided little respite from the sweltering heat
Photo: Canterbury Singletrack Club
Cramp can do some strange things so I had taken the precaution of taking magnesium along for the ride. In my haste to down it two laps prior, it had spilt all over the track and on passing it on subsequent laps I gave serious consideration to licking it from the dirt.

The race was punctuated by an amusing leg lockingly funny spasm on the final lap where I was forced to dismount in agony, I managed to nurse the body home for a 5th place.
As with all Elite cup races, it was a tough competition. B. Sharrat led out the field ahead of good mate and Elite newbie B. Miller. Safe to say that with some more intensity I'll be a bit more competitive and the race definitely served as good motivation for an intensity block.
Support out on the course was just awesome. At all the steep pinches and gnarly bits there was always a crew shouting 'Ollie Ollie Ollie!' and this undeserved outpouring of support was the highlight for me. Hopefully I can return the favour for those who made the effort at their next race!
Mountain Pedaler out...

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