Racing hots up, as Male Solo fields catch fire!
Last week, I reported on the preparation and training necessary for success in Endurance Mountain Bike racing and pre-race talk centred on the commitment and sacrifices several of my rivals were making for the upcoming World 24 hour championship. My biggest rival at today's race was Benjy Morris and he has incorporated the services of a coach and has recently curtailed his enjoyment of the veritable delights of alcohol. I was informed that Jason McAvoy is training like a man possessed while Ian Bridgland has also employed renowned coach Mark Fenner to improve his overall prospects. Races, like today, would provide a decent measure reflecting the progress the solo riders are making in their quest for World Championship success.
I rolled over the line just under 14 minutes behind, to claim second place, with Rohan Essex in third place a further two laps adrift. The previous race in the series I had finished almost double this time behind my rival and so this performance was definitely a step in the right direction.
Rocky Trail had once again put on a great event and it was a pleasure to race on a excellent track in mild 16 degree temperatures under an azure sky. Mention needs to go to Ed McDonald, who looked incredible, clocking up 17 laps and crushing the solo field and beating all the seven hour teams for good measure - Jason English, take notice.
After the race I was able to enjoy a delicious Budweiser Budvar, a Czech beer which was one of the prizes for all those riders who graced the podium. I just hope that this beer could break Benji's new resolve and preface his downfall!
The final race of the Rocky Trail Shimano MTB Grand Prix Series is on the 7th September and, coming just a month before the World 24 hour, will serve as a telling indicator of form for the most significant enduro event of the year.