Updated 13 April 2002
National Points Series XC1 - Thetford 7/4/2 - Ross
Lyons and myself made the trip to Thetford for the first round of the MTB
National Points Series. This is the premier mountain bike series in the country
with points accumulated over four races throughout the season. Thetford has
become the traditional season opener and the relatively flat course provides
extremely fast racing but there are virtually no opportunities to rest. After a
couple of weeks of dry weather the seven mile course was bone dry and dusty and
if it hadn't been for the wind you could have convinced yourself it was summer.
Being the first major race of the season I didn't know how
I would be going (and being on antibiotics for a chest infection didn't help my
confidence) but I had a new bike with tubeless wheels (a revelation) and I
couldn't wait to get going. I managed to get a relatively good start and went
through the first lap in about 30th. I was feeling surprisingly good now and put
in my fastest lap for lap two, moving through the fast starters to go through
for the last lap in 25th . I managed to pull up a couple of places in the final
lap, lose a sprint with someone who had sat on my wheel for half the lap (I need
to get out on the road more!), and finish in a very creditable 23rd. As an
indication of the relentless nature of the race, my average heart rate was 182 bpm for 1hr 29 mins with a maximum of 196 bpm. The top 40 get points in NPS
races so the result sets me up well for the remainder of the series. I had
finished 5 minutes down on the winner but am sure that a result well in the top
20 for the series is possible.
Lyons raced the Expert race in the afternoon. This is one step down from the Pro
Elites and they race one my lap than old folks like us Masters. James had a
strong first three laps but faded on the final lap to finish in 37th (still in
the points). That extra seven miles proved too far for lots of competitors.
The next NPS race is in May in Litchfield and James and I
will both be there. With more weight lost and more intervals done, I'm hoping
for a place in the top 20.