Local racing is still the best…
Missing the first two rounds of the XC racing at Bedgebury was frustrating, but coming second in the six hour was even worse, so for round 3 of the XC racing I had to get my head back in the game! So much about racing is a mental battle and I think that if you get this right, the physical side of things is a lot more simple.
So a few days before the Bedgebury race I started to approach it like I would do had it been a much bigger race. This in itself would be good training for the ‘cross season and I was determined that no matter who showed up I was going to take them on in my best form possible.
Quite rightly, after missing two races I wasn’t gridded which left me three rows back at the start – a fast start was critical to getting on terms! I clipped in pretty quick and made my way up the outside of seven or eight riders on the long drag up to the first singletrack, a few elbows from other riders saw me in 5th for the time being, but I was relaxed and was keeping my eye on the leader.
I moved up to 4th before the end of the first lap so I could stay out of trouble when people started making mistakes. It was interesting to watch everybody’s lines through the corners and how they were approaching different problems – one rider was wearing baggies and was super comfy on the downhills whilst another was all in black and smashing up the hills. I decided to move up to 2nd wheel so I could cover any moves that riders were making 20 minutes in.
Halfway through the lead rider waved me through to set the pace so I obliged, but when I found myself with no one to chase I couldn’t stop myself from attacking – my plan had been to go one lap later, but I got a small gap on the first downhill without really trying and decided to just keep going. There’s one climb at Bedgebury where you can see a decent distance and once you’re out of sight there you know you’ve done the job.
The last lap was fun – I knew the race was in the bag and I was back to winning so I had the space to pull a few wheelies. After the pressure I’d put on myself I was enjoying the pay-off and even though it’s only a local race, I think that’s important mentally. You train your body out of season for racing, but you have to learn to train your head in the racing season and I’m still learning how to get that spot-on.
Library Photos from BFCC.
Glen rides for the Southborough & District Wheelers. He races mountain bikes, road bikes, TT and ‘cross at local and national level. He receives personal support from Helly Hansen, Scott Sports, The Velo House, and the.æight.bicycle.cømpany. Glen runs The Velo House with Olly, a coffee shop, workshop and bike shop welcoming all cyclists and non-cyclists, based at 5 St.Johns Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN4 9TN – 01892 554 505 – firstname.lastname@example.org. He also contributes to Simpson Mag @eightbikeco #aeightracer