MTB – 9brrrrr!

With the ‘cross season done and dusted (there wasn’t much dust) it is time once again to turn to the mountain bike for a fix of two-wheeled fun. It’s how I got started in cycle sport and it is my favourite way to keep the fitness up over the summer months.

It felt a very long way from British Summer Time yesterday as I donned my new 9bar kit in my snow-covered car, and headed out into the bitterly cold woods of Deepcut in Surrey for a warm-up lap.

This was Round 3 of the Gorrick Spring Series, a series I try and participate in every year, although I usually miss a round or two due to cyclocross calendar clashes. The first race of this year’s series was cancelled due to heavy snow, so I’ve managed to take part in every race.

I started today’s race with a 2nd and a 3rd place under my belt and, with the winner of rounds 1 and 2 absent from the grid today, I had high hopes.

In spite of the terrible weather, the course was surprisingly fast, although some sections were cutting up badly after previous races. It took me some time to get the measure of the shortened course, but I started the third lap on the wheel of 1st place rider Phillip Webb (PMR Racing) with a decent gap back to third.

Phillip signalled for me to pass on the long climb up into the first bit of singletrack so I took the opportunity to get ahead and try and make some ground through the trees. I managed to get a few metres lead and tried to stay smooth and vertical as I began the series of climbs back up to the start/finish area.

A series of undulating switchbacks close to the end of the lap had caught me out on previous attempts, but this time I got it right and I made it into the final section of singletrack with a good lead, luckily good enough to allow me one last mistake as I misjudged a bend and wound up the wrong side of a tree.

Rapid reverse, a final push and I crossed the line with 5 seconds to spare, clinching my first ever Gorrick race win. Ths is also my first race win under the Hackney GT/Team 9bar banner, and it gives me the chance of winning the Gorrick Masters category title for 2013. One race remains…