Last weekend saw me racing my first race as a Cube Factory Pilot and it was a weekend filled with ups and downs. The first race of the season comes with excitement, anticipation, anxiety and caution. It's the time when you find out who has put in the training over the winter and who is still to burn off that christmas mid - riff.
Currently I am still waiting for my race bike for the season to arrive, so I was racing on a loaned bike for the weekend from my girlfriend's dad (thanks Simon!). It was a Stereo 160 and it sure stood out. The bright green paint job screamed, "look at me!" not something I am used to as I am the more understated type. It was light, tight and ready to race.
Practice day was on Saturday and it was the first time I had ridden the bike. I cruised round all the stages with my coach, Dirtschool's Rab Wardell who I'll be working with on the Elite programme this season. We discussed race strategy and line choice in a few crucial sections. From my sighting lap it was clear that the race was going to be tough, long and physically very hard going. A distance of
As an elite rider I was off at an early start time of 8:40am. I pedalled slowly up to the first stage. Stage 1 was a classic innerleithen stage. It consisted of the
Stage 3 was a new experience for me. We started again from the top of Minch Moor but headed down an old landrover track hitting upwards of 40mph through the heather down the open hillside. Then onto the end of the XC descant to finish the stage. I rode well and put down some good power in key places. I finished the stage 7th.
Stage 4 I had more problems, fatigue was creeping in and I made some costly errors on the top trail centre section. The stage then went down "the classic" and I pushed hard on the top part knowing the lower sections would difficult to ride due to the rider traffic over the weekend. I stalled and hit a tree at one point but survived the stage, sliding into the top 10 with 9th.
Stage 5 was the final stage of the weekend and I was keen to finish on a high. It was a ribbon of downhill tracks all the way down the face of innerleithen's forest. I rode well but my unfamiliarity with the bike mean't I couldn't quite push as hard as I wanted to and I missed some crucial lines which annoyed me. I finished the stage an average 11th.
Overall the weekend for me went well. I raced consistently throughout the day and gained a good result to build on in future races. With 11th in Elite for the weekend I was pleased, if not a little surprised considering my disastrous stage 2 efforts. Now I will enter a progressive training block building to the Tweedlove Endura Whyte Vallelujah Enduro at the end on March.
For a full report of what went down check out http://enduro-mtb.com/en/poc-scottish-enduro-series-round-1-clash-of-the-titans/
Thanks to Cube, FOX, Syntace and Shimano for their support as part of the Factory team this year. Thanks also to my personal sponsors, ScotOiler, HIGH5 and DirtSchool. Finally, thanks the Scottish Enduro Series for laying on an awesome course for us and the marshals for cheering us on
Till next time, see you on the trails!