The first race of the season is always a wake up call for me, as no matter how much ridding you’ve done during the winter, nothing wakes you up like the lungs burning just after that start whistle has been blown and the first round of the Gorrick was no exception.
The first round of this year’s spring series was at a new venue, Saddleback Hill and even though the weather gods tried their best, the rain kept away (just) and the course held up and was pretty dry for the majority of it, in fact the muddiest part was the entrance to the venue and parking area.
The course had a good mixture of tracks, fun singletrack, some open fireroad sections, some nasty short sharp climbs that really tested the legs and some great switchbacks which made for an entertaining lap.
After my practice lap I was happy with the course but I knew those little climbs were going to hurt at race pace!
I lined up in the Masters field and I was relieved they got us going pretty quick as no one wanted to hang around in the cold. I had a poor start and struggled to get going and found myself in 8th position as we entered the first piece of singletrack. As my legs & lungs got used to the pace I started to make my way up the field and things were looking good. As the second lap began I managed to catch the 1st place rider and we slowly started pulling away from the rest of the field. The final lap was going to be a two horse race as we kept ahead of the chasing pack and the tight and twisty singletrack was going to decide the outcome. To make the final lap more interesting was the amount of back makers we caught, but they all very kindly let us past, so it never affected the final result. I think I managed to thank everyone as we went past, but just in case I missed you, many thanks, it is appreciated.
I lead into the singletrack by the finish line and with one open section left I knew I had to put in a hard effort, I wasn’t the only person thinking this because as we both hit this section you heard the gears jump down the sprockets as we both sprinted to the entrance of the final section before the line. I was pleased to get there first and I knew baring any mistakes, the win should be mine, so it was taken at a steady place as one small slip would prove to be costly.
Crossing the finish line is always a great achievement, no matter where you come, but to cross it before everyone else is a great feeling and I’m already looking forward to round 2 next month.
As always, a big thank you to everyone behind the scenes at Gorrick & there sponsors for making this happen.
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