Main achievement of today’s race – my bike is intact! This is an improvement on last year.
Unlike Strathclyde Country Park, where there is one muddy field, at Lochore Meadows the majority of the lap consists of muddy fields. To be honest, given the recent weather, I was expecting conditions to be much worse than they turned out to be. Yeah, it was muddy – and a very sticky mud at that – but everyone was riding rather than running which is always a good sign. After last year’s terminal mech-crunching I decided to basically pick one gear and stay in it the whole race. Towards the end, as my legs were tiring, I verrry carefully changed down one gear to give my legs a rest. But that was it. My ten speed bike may as well have been a singlespeed. Lochore meadows is flat as a pancake which, given most of my training is cycling up hills, is never going to be great for me. In the end, I finished 41st out of 56 starters (73rd percentile).
It’s not going to go down as my favourite race ever. It was more like an hour-long resistance training session. I like hills, both climbing up and swooping down. I know there’s some skills on display at Lochore Meadows – line choice, cornering, carrying momentum – but the day was dominated by pushing at the pedals to get through the mud. And brute leg strength isn’t really my strongest area.
It was good to chat to a few of the riders beforehand. I’m starting to recognise which of the riders are at my level, and who I need to be chasing after if I want to finish higher up. And it’s great to hear the encouragement which the marshalls, spectators and even the leaders (as they lap you) give throughout the race!
Anyhow, bike is intact and now stripped down and cleaned. Next race is Plean in 7 days time!