Headed out to race in another Gorrick MTB race today, the Autumn Classic No:1, a short course sprint around Tunnel Hill. I had elected to race in Super Masters, which meant an early start and the first bit of scrapping ice from the windscreen.
I arrived at Tunnel Hill and met Darren and we headed out for a quick practice and warm up lap (it was still brisk), after we had registered. The course was a good mix of fire roads and single track, some nice technical sections and a couple of small but stinging hills. Especially when you can breathe that well, my chest infection was going to make this that little bit harder, I thought the single speed would be more the problem.
Fueling the body and chatting to Darren, Dave from Cycleworks arrived and we chatted briefly before I set about warming up again. Dave and I would see each other on the start line in a few minutes. Then I would only see him after the race. Darren was racing in another category starting a bit later.
The race started and was a mad dash as usual and I felt rubbish from the start, this did not bode well. I pushed around the first lap having a few in my category pass and then a few in another category also go past.
I settled into a rhythm on the fire roads and enjoyed the single tracks, and tried to hold a descent pace for the way I felt. The second lap felt much like the first and I tried to hold my pace and enjoy the race. But my chest felt heavy and I was coughing up lots of mucus.
The 3rd lap started to feel better, but I think this was due to a slightly slower pace and controlled riding and not getting sucked in to any games. Just as everything was flowing, my chain popped off, it's a single speed that shouldn't happen. I quickly sorted this and pressed on.
Coming into the 4th lap I was feeling better, mostly due to I knew this was it. I chewed on another ShotBloc and tried to dig a bit deeper. Coughed a couple of times which actually hurt this time. :-( after my coughing episode this lap started to hurt. What was frustrating was the legs feeling fine, but my lungs feeling rubbish, oh and the severe lack of race fitness.
On the few hills I dug deeper and powered past some of the riders in other categories, on a bit of single track a nice girl bailed off the track between some trees to let me pass. (Thank you, if by some strange chance you read this, I was on the red single speed in the Cycleworks top).
The last hill was bit more drawn out when I was tired on this lap, but I pushed up it hard and then did my best impression of coughing mucus filled mess to sprint the last few hundred metres to the finishline.
I finished 15th out of 18, not great, but actually better than I expected, considering my prep (none) and my chest. There was one other in a category on a single speed that finished 6th I think, a great effort.
Gorrick once again, nice work. Dave well done on you top ten! Darren, glad you enjoyed the track in the end and I hope Karl did well in the afternoon races.
I have since seemed to have strained something in my abdominal region from all my post race coughing, nice!