Friday through Saturday and the snow started to fall. Not only were we being given small craft warnings (bikes are small crafts aren't they?) but the temperature was due to plummet. Safe in the knowledge that the Irish road system would fail with even the slightest hint of snow i opened a beer late on Saturday night and settled into a night of relaxing before a race that i assumed would be cancelled. However not to be outdone i did ease off after the second beer, pack the kit bags, set the alarm for 8am, and get to bed by 11:30pm. Just in case.
8am alarm call and I've been away for an hour anyway. Body is adjusted to winter time now and tries to get as much sunlight as it can in the morning. Open the curtains to find 10cm of snow in the back garden and the car under the same in the front. Wander to the loo and send people some texts. Mostly no commital answers until one back from Andy saying 'Robin is on his way up, slowly'. Bugger..... if he is going there is a reason. Text Robin to hear that its slow but he's not hit the M1 yet. Living only 10mins from the main road to the north has its benefits...and if it was clear...even vaugly... Text back at 9:10am 'M1 clear, slow going, get move on'
9:15am, car packed, two bikes, 3 wheelsets, kit, water, ski pants and jacket. 9:17am rolling/sliding to the M1. 10:00am hit the M1 after witnessing some terrible drivers trying to drive at 60kph on sheet ice. One lane open on the main motorway, 40kph until Balbriggan when it opens out fully and can get up to 80. Once past Drogheda there is no snow, frost yes, but its like a different world. Dublin got hit bad for a change but the North was fine. very very weird. Rest of the way to Rostrevor as fast as the limits allow sitting in the car park for the race at 11:15am. Perfect.
Kilbroney park in Rostervor is one of those CX venues that I love and hate. A DNF there last year saw me fall from a top 10 place to a pile of vomiting hell for a week or two.Met up with Robin, Evan, Dave and Andy after sign on and a quick lap of two. The course is great but you need to be fit, very fit. Freezing conditions had left the course like a road race. The MTB races before did nothing to cut the ground up and it was perfect for us. Gridded on the second row had me in a good position for the first section but the first two corners were going to sort it out quick enough. Sure enough after the gun Glen Kinning dropped it in the second corner and a bunch of 12 us managed to get away.
the first lap had us all together until a fracture saw Robin and Matt Adier get away. Shortly afer that another move saw me in a group of 4 hanging off the back of an 8 behind the lads. Matt wrecked his derauiler and that was that for the day. Scrapping would ensue among these groups. Andy Newman from WORC worked his way up and past me and replaced Dave O'Neil (WORC) in the pain train. Glen made his way back up to help his team mate and we played cat and mouse for the next 6 laps. With the course running hard and fast average speed for the race was 21.3kph. Second last lap and i binned it trying to attack out of the group i was in. Glen was smart enough and attacked the second he got past my flailing corpse and i had to work as hard as i could to get back to him. At the exact point again on the last lap where i caught him Glen attacked again. Couldn't get onto his wheel, totally spent but had to defend from the two guys on my wheel. Luckily into the last section of single track i could pull back, ease off and recover. The final climb would be where the attacks came from and i needed to go with them. James McMaster from Curran Racing attacked on the last hill and i went with him before he got to my hip. With an on coming bush in his way he backed off and i went again. Jack from East Antrim CC managed to get past James and that was the end of that.
Video, Photos, and results from the day. 10th place overall, a good attack from Glen left me dead for 9th place. Great move and recovery from the crash on the first lap. Happy with the result overall, happy with how i rode, just not 100% smart on some sections. Good feelings before the National Trophy race in Bradford on the 12th of December.