Suffering is the word which neatly sums up my start to the NPS, in a sunny Slade Valley outside Dublin.
The IMBRC laid on a fantastic course (most worked-on course ever?) with superb singletrack for most of the 5km lap. A very disrupted Saturday, prior to the 1 lap team relay, was not good for race prep but I signed on with a big Expert field hopeful of at least hitting the podium. Usually I go well on such tough courses, and I figured my usual method of starting slowly and working up would be useful on such a warm day.
Photo by Shay Barry
Plumes of dust (DUST!) rose as we tore off up the fireroad and I found myself towards the back, my legs completely blocked and knowing it was not going to be my day. I started making up some places as the lap wore on, but I was labouring over every pedal stroke and making mistakes which I really shouldn’t be making.
I hoped a gel at the end of the lap would give me some kick, but I think what I needed was way past anything Zipvit could provide (it’s good, but can’t work miracles!) so I settled back a little and tried to focus on just riding smoothly, but even that wasn’t going so well. Each lap started with a steep gravelly climb, which as I crested for the 3rd lap, my HR went through the roof and my legs just stopped. I took the bottle and gel from Agata, downed it quickly and spun up the fireroad, but I knew it was game over for me, just halfway through the race. Feeling pretty frustrated and a little shellshocked, I rolled back down to the feedzone and slumped on the ground, relieved to take the weight off trembling legs.
Photo by eryk2kartman
So not a good start to the NPS, but thankfully there's plenty more races left this season, and more time to train for them.
It wasn’t all bad news though...Agata won the women’s race to complete her sequence of 3rd, 2nd, 1st in her first 3 races after riding really well for 2 laps. She even wanted to do more laps afterwards :)