The season kicked off in Fort William last weekend and it was a tough old race for me. With a new and unfamiliar bike beneath me and despite having a couple of weeks testing pre race, I was still rather unsure of it. Before heading north, I stopped in at Fall Line Cycles to collect said race bike which had been given the full works and I was greeted with a lovely care package full of OTE gels and Muc-Off cleaning products to keep the bike sweet. Me and my intrepid sister traveled up to Fort William together on the Friday night after a day at work for me and a day at Uni for her. Eireann (my sister) was joining me because she is writing her dissertation on the differences between racing and training for elite level enduro athletes. This mean't me and alot of my friends were going to be her guinea pigs for the weekend.
We stayed at Torlundy House which was lovely. The weather for practice day was actually sunny. I didn't need my jacket the whole time which is rare at the SES races. It was great to see many familiar faces and some new ones too. Practice involved the usual methodical process for me of going through each track slowly and figuring out lines. This was an easy task for most of the day with the exception of stage 4 which was a contentious one for many people, including myself.
Race day rolled around and the weather was a little overcast, but for March in Fort William, it was delightful. I went up 10psi in the fork and 7psi on the rear shock to help cope with the faster speeds of race day. I felt in practice things were a little soft and upping the air pressure gave me more support on the bike.
I won't bore you with details of a turn by turn account of how each stage went so instead, I have decided to do a few lines for each.
Overall I managed a rather disappointing 15th. I can't quite put my finger on why things went south for me. Sometimes you just have those races you'd rather forget. I'm encouraged that my fitness seems to be in the ball park.
More time needed to focus on set up and getting comfortable on a new machine. It's always hard adjusting to something new but I'm enjoying the challenge and process. I have the first TweedLove event of the year coming up next week and another opportunity to put the bike and myself in a race situation.
If anything, I learned alot this weekend and will work towards imporving next time. Big thanks to Fall Line Cycles for their support. Alot of people are wondering who I am riding for this year, fear not. All will be revealed in good time.
Till next time,