Race Report: CCCX2
In stark contrast to the preceding week , the climate for the second race of the CCCX mountain bike XC series was marvelous; dry, warm and without wind. Oddly, maybe it was almost as tough from a bike handling perspective though? Whereas the week before the course was a swamp-like snorkeling exercise, at least the tyres tracked predictably for the most part in the sticky mud (except the really deep muddy sections). This week, the course’s sandy nature was exposed which provided a lot of loose corners in which one’s front wheel might go walkabouts. I managed to arrive early enough for a recon lap, during which I quickly preceded to slide out in that very fashion on the first corner. A valuable exercise though as it meant that I quickly grasped the challenges of this week’s course (it was drastically different to the previous week in terms of both conditions and route) and from my pre-race research was able to learn enough to avoid a tumble during prime time in the race itself. I’m really beginning to appreciate the benefit of practice laps for XC races. Having said that, I also think the pre-riding a road race course, however long, is valuable if plausible.
The course had more climbing than the previous route, which I thought would benefit me. For example, the start was a climb up hill on a paved road followed by a sharp turn onto a steep fire road. I jumped on a wheel for the most of the paved road section then just before the turn-off, hit out and attacked the first off road climbing section. It set the precedent and for the rest of the race I was out front, taking another victory. The power climbs in this week’s route meant that there was a load of time that I was above my threshold of 186 BPM, providing a great workout. A true interval session with some solid intensity- a perfect complement to the longer road riding I have been doing as of late.