Monday, 2 March 2009
Stuart enters a race.
There's a brief hiatus to my Transalp training on Friday night when I go out on the piss, for a change. Actually, it's much more civilised than it sounds; rather than drinking heavily in the pub before heading off to a club with some other middle-aged blokes in a poor parody of Steptoe and Sons, I go to a poker evening in East Wemyss. An opportunity to act like Henry Gondorff in The Sting, but lose money in the process, which Henry didn't. I go all in on a flush but lose to a better flush about half way through the tournament. I don't feel too bad on Saturday. The hangover was forestalled by drinking slowly and sensibly; however I've managed to aggravate an old war-wound. The "non-union scaphoid fracture" in my right wrist is hurting like blazes and I have a bike race on Sunday.
Things are not looking good.
Luckily I've hedged my bets by not actually entering the race until the last possible moment - on the start line. Unluckily, waking up on Sunday morning I can't find enough plausible excuses not to drive 5 minutes up the road to the venue. It's the Blairadam Blast, organised by fellow DCC member Grant. My wrist still aches a bit, but I can give it a go and pull out if it starts to hurt on the bike.
There's a good turnout for a drizzly Sunday morning. I meet Mark and we do a practice lap before the start. The wrist is absolutely fine. Either that or it just hurts less than the rest of me. The race starts with all the fast riders disappearing into the forest while Mark and I dawdle into the middle of the field. It takes most of a lap to get past slower riders and establish a position in the pecking order. Although it's only one and a half hours, it feels longer and I'm finding it hard to maintain a good pace. The first two laps hurt quite a bit and the climb up The Ridge is a tough one. Laps three and four feel better and I've settled into a good rhythm. A few of the lead riders start to lap me which is always a bit dispiriting.
By lap five I'm starting to run out of energy and make mistakes like a flying dismount on the slippery descent from The Ridge. I get in in enough time to start a sixth which hurts on the uphills, but is very enjoyable on the downs since I can just coast. It's a great wee circuit with lots of bits to look forward to. I finish on six laps in 1H 45m. Not too bad for the first race of the season in a strong field which was headed by James Fraser-Moodie and other Elite SXC riders.
I still need to get a lot fitter though - an average HR of 180bpm can't be a good place to be for too long.
Or maybe I'll work on my poker tactics.