I'm a bike racer again. After several years off, I decided to dip my toe back into the frenzied waters of vets sxc mtb racing. The Laggan course is local and the course was going to be a harder, more natural one than previous years, which appealed to me, as manmade ones are just like work (!) I also fancied a change to my current 3Peaks cyclo-cross training of running up very steep hills carrying the bike!
However, the powers that be deemed the course too hard for xc and "pulled" the major downhill section, on the eve of the race. I'm obviously out of touch with the current xc scene as I thought riders in this day and age would be "rad" enough to cope. I mean aren't the youth coming through being reared on a diet of riser bars, fat tyres, discs and "hucking" sick (sic) lines? On a more serious note, the head commissar had worries about casevac - fair enough, but shouldn't there be guidelines about this for course setters? Anyhoo, Lindsay of Basecamp worked into the night re-jigging the alignment to tame things down, well done, Lindsay.
I could see my locals advantage slipping away! I was really nervous pre-race, being so long out of competition, knowing I don't get as many miles in as I used to and just all that pre-race "stuff" buzzing around my head. A good warm up settled me down and I tried to muscle forward in the line up. Bugger, the start was a shock to the system, everyone tore off, my heart rate max'd out and all I could think about was how the hell was I going to maintain this. Gulp. But. Once we all piled into the downhill the fun started, crashes left right and centre and from then on in I had no idea who I was racing or what place I was in!
Generally it settled down into slog up hill and then tear back down slipping and sliding past anyone in front. Luckily I heard the announcer mention I was in fourth and realised I could out descend the third placed man just up ahead, so I was able to finish with a wee "the race is on" buzz. Ace. Loved it a lot. Next please.