Saturday, May 23, 2015


Another season, another discipline. After the "right time, right place" purchase of this actual Giant Anthem mountain bike, it was only a matter of time before I gave XC racing a try. With the Friday Night Summer Series providing a number of events on my doorstep - I decided to break my small wheeled, knobbly-tyred duck at Delapre Park in Northampton. A new club trophy meant that a number of Leicester Forest riders also joined the fray.

I had a feeling that the racing might be a bit like cyclocross and whilst there were some similarities - the mass start, the duration of the race and the lap format - there were several significant differences. The laps seemed significantly longer than those found in cross - winding deep into the woods of the park. The course was also more technical with more roots and branches to contend with. A few sections would have been unrideable on a cross bike and were to a beginner like me on a mountain bike! One section in particular gave me trouble - I fell off on 4 out of the 5 laps! The feeling of pure exhaustion and nausea at the end of the race was all too familiar though.

So was it  a success? I loved it - off-road riding is my favourite activity these days and a hour of blasting through woods and across trails was marvellous. As for the racing - I generally spend my summers in a lazy, untrained state - this was something of a shock to the system. Riders who I normally compete with in the cross league left me for dead. Still - I will be back - there's a few more events in the neighbourhood and it can't hurt my cyclocross fitness!

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