I last raced the LCCA league three months ago at Plumpton – I’d raced six of the seven races by that point and was well inside the top ten overall. After injury, surgery and then recovery I’ve missed six of my favourite races and with only one round left (and needing seven results for an overall ranking) I had to make this one count.
I headed up to Bedgebury to test the strength of my shoulder off-road a week ago. In several areas I felt like a bit of a passenger on my bike, but I managed an entire lap of the singletrack which I knew was far more technical that the upcoming race at Wilmington. Confident that I could at least ride the course and with my new KTM MTB Team kit to race in, it was definitely time to get racing again.
Wilmington was MUDDY! Not just your regular muddy mud, but mud that had the consistency of Peanut Butter. With some deeper puddles to drench your feet and a million hidden roots it made for a fairly technical lap. Normally this would be exactly the kind of conditions I’d hope for, but for my first race back it had me worried. After my practice lap I sat in the back of the Land Rover whilst my girlfriend made all of the conversation – all I could do was stare at my water bottle.
Once the wait was over I strapped on a pair and got myself to the first row of the grid. I’d positioned myself out of the way on the left hand side, but this meant I was on the soggy side of the grid and got away slowly. Staying upright and out of trouble was my main concern so a cautious first lap saw me round in probably about 20th position.
As the race got muddier and muddier riders began to trash their bikes and knowing this I was riding as smoothly as I could, which seemed to be working – as well as passing riders on course those that were forced to retire were falling out of the top twenty, helping me move up for that crucial result.
I’d found my rhythm quickly and the run sections, which can upset riders, weren’t a problem. My bike was working well, all things considered, and my confidence was growing. I was slightly relieved to see the two laps to go board and when the bell started ringing I knew I’d done a good job. The last lap was a mental battle to stay focused on racing, but I’d succeeded in my three goals for the race – don’t get lapped, don’t get broken and don’t get the bike broken! 13th place in my first race back was a fine end to the season and a monkey off my back!
Photos by Oskar Scarsbrook and Pip Jenkins.
Header Image by Pip Jenkins.
Glen races a KTM hardtail in the UK National Points Series and the Southern XC Series and uses the KTM Scarp Master 29 for Marathon races. He receives personal sponsorship from Helly Hansen, THE.ÆIGHT.BICYCLE.CØMPANY and Tribeca Sport. The KTM team is sponsored by Continental Tyres, Torq Fitness and Four4th Lights.
Glen runs THE.TRIBECA.SPORT.WØRKSHOP which is based at 28 London Road, Southborough, TN4 0QB – 01892 533 339 – firstname.lastname@example.org . The shop specialises in precision servicing, race prepping, 3D Bike Science bike fitting and high quality bikes and equipment. Drop in, give us a call, visit our Facebook page or browse our website for more details.