There was a bit of hype for me around the next round of cross country racing, the course looked to be awesome, had load of singletrack and less climbing, what more could a boy want, but the weather came in thick and fast in the week leading up to the event, the sun was shining on the day but the damage was done.

The course was muddy, very muddy. More than 80% of the route was sloppy. It would have been great had it been dry, but alas not. I rode a scouting lap which took about 40 minutes, it should have taken around half the time. I was walking pretty much the whole singletrack and not liking it very much.

I decided to start and see how it went. Out of the blocks I was off the front like a rocket, the rigid fork up front making the flat sprint a breeze to get away. 500m down the road we hit the 1st climb, it was a steep mother of a hill and half way up I had already tanked, lost three places and was looking for more oxygen. It felt like I was at altitude. It didn’t get better, I kept losing ground. I was running too much of the time and my HR was through the roof.

I slowed down to a maintainable pace but was sliding everywhere, and started crashing. I lost it big time in a rut at the start finish of lap 1. Lost all drive to maintain any pace and slowly made my way round a second time. I fell off twice and decided it wasn’t my day. I couldnt get going, and conditions were crappy to put it mildly. I pulled out.

I hate pulling out of anything, I loathe giving up and I felt like a loser.

The drive home was morbid, my brother had done well finishing 5th. I was happy for him but felt empty. My lungs didn’t recover well, I am used to having some phlegm on my lungs after a hard race, but this persisted the next day. Since my daughter was sick the same weekend I went along to the GP. He diagnosed a Viral lung infection and some medication – and time off… Not what I wanted to hear.

So it turned out that my lungs couldn’t supply the oxygen needed for XC racing on the day which gave me some solace in my disappointment.

Niner Rigid 29er Stumpjumper Nevile Cragg
At least my weapon of choice looked good...and only 8kg's to boot.