My first MTB race….
I did my first ever Cross Country (XC) mountain bike race last Friday evening, courtesy of Abergavenny RC.
My son Daniel and I both fancied having a go at racing having watched the Olympic MTB races and we headed up to Abergavenny in a state of nervous anticipation. Once we’d signed in and paid our entry fees, a reasonable £5 each, we headed out onto the course to check it out. XC racing is different from the longer, marathon or enduro races, taking place on short, technical courses and lasting about an hour for adults and less for children. True to form the course was quite short, with some sharp climbs and descents, and lots of tight turns. The whole lap took us about 10 minutes.
Altogether there were 4 races; Under 8′s, Under 10′s and Under 12′s (rode together) and Over 17′s. Normally there are are races for Under 14′s and 16′s too but there were no riders in these categories present. The children race for a set time, Under 8′s was 15 mins, 10′s 20 mins etc. Daniel’s race didn’t quite go to plan, suffering some mechanical issues. He was pretty disappointed to say the least but insisted that he would like to go again. I was really impressed with the standard of riding by these kids, but most of all by their enthusiasm and commitment! Well done kids, you are a great advert for your generation. Anyone who thinks that children spend all their time glued to the TV or games console should come and get a reality check.
The senior race was to be run over a sightly longer course. I was riding my Single Speed 69er (29″ front wheel, 26″ rear) as that is the only MTB I have. Whilst there were a couple of interested looks at my choice of race bike and despite my own envious stares at some of my competitors machines, nobody mentioned it. Then it was time to line up. The whistle goes and it’s a mad sprint to the first corner, position is everything as the course is very narrow (singletrack). I manage to pass a couple of people and the rest is a total blur. Approximately 30 minutes later I passed through the chequered flag at the end of my fourth lap to be told I had placed fourth. I was very pleased to say the least!
Daniel and I enjoyed the whole event immensely. It was brilliantly organised by Abergavenny RC, lovely atmosphere, really friendly. The racing itself is fast and furious, but as much about testing yourself as it is about beating your competitors. Even if you’re not racing it’s great fun. The format means you get to see the racers at lots of different points on the course and cheer them on, this was Daniel’s favourite bit I think! If you are at all interested in MTB racing, this is great way to start. I can’t recommend it enough. You can get all the details from the link above and also from www. welshcycling.co.uk, just search for Freaky Fridays.