As forecast, SuperQuaich #1 was a mudfest. A proper mudfest. Maybe 20% of the course was faster to run than ride. Should’ve done less cycle training and more running training. Even with my Cunning Plan of being careful to avoid mud-build up and even taking time out to clear mud from the frame, by the last couple of laps I think my bike weighed double it’s normal clean weight. Which, when you’re carrying it for 20% of the lap, is a pretty substantial addition. Each time I came past the pits and saw someone emerging with a clean bike, I was rather jealous! I dropped my chain mid-race after the rider on front of me baled out on the camber entering the first field which lost some time (would’ve been more time, were it not for a kind spectator who pointed out why my chain-re-attaching efforts weren’t working).
No close battles this time, the tough conditions meant people were either going forward or backwards – although I noticed Brian McCutcheon once again me passing mid-race with his winning formula (he starts slower but stays consistent, whereas I start fast and then slow). But the course had plenty to keep the mind occupied. Amongst the muddy fields were some rideable uphills, some non-rideable uphills and fun offcambers. I enjoyed the couple of fast woodland excursions, and the short/sharp ups.
My lap times were around 10 minutes, which made the mental maths easy for a 1h race. Mid-race, I was lapped by Dave Duggan, Davie Lines etc, and so when I saw “2 laps to go” I thought there was a decent chance I might be caught by the leaders again before the end. And shortly after the hairpin near the end of the lap, I caught sight of Mr Duggan coming the other way. “Phew” I thought, he’ll pass me and this’ll be my last lap. However, as I got to the finishing straight, I looked behind and saw that he was still a decent way behind and consequently I was going to be one of the final people “lucky” enough to do an extra lap. Karma.
The group just ahead of me were pulling away, and there was noone now behind me, so it was a case of surviving the last lap with my mud-laden 20kg bike. I chased down a couple of riders, but turned out I was lapping them so didn’t gain any place. In the end, my final lap was a 16 minute epic (vs 10 minute first lap) so total race time was something like 1h16m – quite a shock to the system after the 40 minute SCX vet40 rounds!
In the end, I finished 58th out of 89 starters, 65th percentile. Almost exactly where I finished last year. On paper, that look lower than my other season results. But the “A race” has the fastest 100 people from across all age categories, so today I was racing against the best senior/vet40/vet50/females all together.
In races like this, it must be night-and-day between those who have one bike for the whole race vs those with two bikes and/or pit helpers. It was incredible how much mud + grass was stuck to my bike, how much weight and drag it added, and remarkable that it continued to function until the end of the race. Although, given the time it took to clean one bike afterwards, on balance perhaps it’s just as well I don’t have two!
Next weekend is the (delayed) SCX Strathclyde Country Park round. I like the course there, big hard climb then swoopy woodland section. After today’s race, it’d be nice if we didn’t have another mud-fest field to contend with, but given the recent weather that’s probably a bit of forlorn hope.
Plan for the week is a day of rest, a couple of Trainer Road sessions, and some Arthurs Seat loops to simulate the Big Red Climb of the next race. Last year’s Strathy Park was torrential rain, surely the weather can’t be any worse than that?!