Midland Series Round 2

Spring has officially started, so therefore we could expect a lovely sunny day.
After making a fool of myself with my brake levers (don’t ask) I rectified the problem and set off for a practice lap. The course was fairly flat, but very tight and twisty, a couple of fireroad sections to get some speed up on but not many, much more interesting than the opening round a couple of weeks ago Although it was fairly warm and sunny, warm enough for shorts anyway, the ground was still quite wet and slippery.
I returned to the van after practice and ran into Chloe, Derailed Racing’s Team-Mum who kindly volunteered to pass me the vital Bikefood bottles during the race.

Photograph of the start, courtesy of Jacob James

The start was some way from the main arena, and slightly uphill to give us chance to spread out a little before it got too narrow. I got a reasonable start hanging on to the back of the main pack, right behind Chris Aucot and my former team-mate Andrew Cockburn. I got passed Chris in the second section of singletrack and began to pull away, but it was short lived. I’m not sure what happened but one minute I was charging along a traverse through the trees and the next I was laying in a heap on the ground. I looked up just in time to see Chris sliding down the hill, both brakes locked. He had nowhere to go other than straight into me. I heard a shout from Phil Morris, and then he ploughed into the back of Chris. We untangled ourselves and set off again, with me at the back, Andrew long gone by now. I had a small amount of blood coming from my hip but was otherwise unhurt.
We had a little rain on the second lap, but not a great deal and a line was starting form through most of the corners. However, about halfway through the third lap we got our first hail shower, enough to settle a little, it actually looked quite pretty. It lasted until about halfway through the fourth lap, the melting ice making the ground much stickier and harder going.
Just starting the sixth and final lap there was a huge clap of thunder, followed almost straight away by the second, much heavier, period of hail which lasted for most of the lap, although fortunately with no more thunder, the promised storm never quite materialised. The last lap was quite miserable, cold and wet, with the ground now really sticky and slippery.
I eventually crossed the line in 16th place, a little disappointing as there are points available for the top 15.

Next weekend is the first round of both the National Endurance Series, at Whinlatter in the Lake District, and the National Cross-Country Series at Sherwood. I’ll be at Whinlatter, it’s a shame to miss my local race but the longer race should suit me better.

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