Yep, I’m still at it! I won the Regional VTT Championship at Cublac in the Correze 60+ Veteran category. It was a fabulous circuit, and I was really up for it. Gotta tell you though…..the strongest man didn’t win on the day, but the most determined did!
I rode hard off the line and found myself in the lead! Not part of the plan, but happy to be first into the single-track. I knew there were riders on my wheel, but there was no way they could sit close enough to draft. On to the first climb, and I had opened up a gap, but by the top of the climb I had been caught by one chaser. We pushed on. He was stronger than me on the climbs, but I could get back to him on the flat and through the technical sections.
We rode the rest of the lap together, on the last climb up to the line he’d opened up a gap of about 10 seconds. I soon closed the gap, my plan was to just stay with him for the next lap. The climbs were agony, as I tried to maintain contact. Just over halfway round and we’re onto a tough rooty climb. I’ve lost about three bike lengths. He slips on a root, he’s off and pushing his bike. The climb eases, and I’m expecting him to remount, he pulls his bike to one side and looks at me as if to say ‘go through’. Down the next tricky descent I opened up a gap. As we dropped out onto the fire road I’d got a nice gap. It was game on!
I rode like a man committed! If I could hold him off on the big climb up to start the last lap I was in with a chance. Going out to start the last lap I had about 20 seconds lead. Through the technical sections I made it count, on the climbs I rode as hard as I could. I worked hard to get out of sight. I dared to look back, he was still there, but I seemed to be getting away. Onto the last climb, he’s nowhere to be seen. I take the win! I get to wear the Regional Champions jersey for the year!
I had not raced this hard in a long time!