Sunday, November 3, 2013

National Trophy R2 Southampton

"It wouldn't be your first choice for a day trip from Harrogate" Pit technician HT

She's right of course, except if it happens to be the 2nd round day of the CX National Trophy series, then all bets are off. Another early doors start to get to the event car park for 9am. Then off to sign in and a lap and half before gridding. My course summary..."regular" but in a good way. Corner upon corner, a little up, a little down, a little woods, a little flat, a little mud, a little off camber, a little bit sketchy round the bends, a little tarmac, a little embankment, a make that a BIG set of duckboards (40 cm I don't think so). Gridded next to team mate Steve and in front of club mate Paul (on his first outing at NT it should be said) I went for a full power start and tried to hang onto the aforementioned for as long as possible. That turned out to be as far a the first trip into the woods. Then it was classic NT, the majority rode off into the sunset leaving me to fend off the over 50s following us behind.

With HT in the pits I lasted only a lap and a half before I gave into the temptation of a clean bike. Ahhhh, what a fix, opium for the CX masses. Nothing left now but to keep the heart rate monitor beeping on high warning and try to avoid any serious offs on the greasy corners and cambers.

Going past the start/finish I see 2 laps to go, that is unless the race leader gets past me. At the woods I hear the rattle of the bell, this means I've got about a quarter of a lap gap to fend him off, is it possible? Approaching the pits for the last time I take another fresh pipe. But this turns out to be a very dodgy decision, as both me and the race leader are on the tarmac finish at the same time. I put in an almighty sprint busting several guts to get to the line ahead of him.

Great, now I get to ride a lap solo around the park, as every other rider will be stopped behind me. I ride a lap at tempo, on my own, milking the applause and crossing the line arms aloft. Job done, same number of laps as Darren Atkins, albeit in slightly longer timescales. To give you an idea, they had finished the podium presentation and cleaned all the bikes by the time I got there. No matter, MC Matt Payne was kind enough to give me and the new team a mention, I must remember to put that cheque in the post for him tomorrow.

Top place for a day trip it turns out.

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