Pete takes on round 2 of the Brownbacks Hope XC Series at Lee Quarry

July 04 2012

Sunday didn't turn out quiet as Pete had planned. Our marketing man was looking forward to a day of sitting in front of the idiot box, but alas, there was a race to be entered! 

Here's Pete's take on how the day panned out:

I'm quite used to being bullied into doing races I hadn't planned on attending. Stu Thomson was the main culprit for this in the early days, but these days the races I was bullied into doing are now some of my firm favourites. With my pal Rosie racing, it was only a matter of time before I was roped in. Not to worry though, I rather like riding bicycles!

So, Saturday night a copious quantity of pasta and ice cream was consumed for fuel while watching Rambo IV to get the blood up for the race the next day. Me and Rosie's brother Sam spent a few hours turning down some Ti bolts to make my already fairly lightweight Five even lighter! The bench grinder was throwing off some white hot sparks. Forecast for Bacup promised a steady breeze and light rain all day, which can effectively translate to a howling gale and driving rain at Lee Quarry. The forecast proved to be accurate....... 

Getting the Ti bolts primed to make the Five even lighter. 

Sat in the car at the bottom of the hill caning energy gels and trying to keep Rosie's spirits up, I almost missed the start of the "Race" category. At the start, it became apparent that missing the start of my chosen category might not have been such a bad thing after all. I lost count of the sea of 29er carbon paperclips ahead of me. The claxon went for the race to start, with the "Race" category heading off first. Thankfully, the first climb was really loose and the Five was finding traction where others couldn't, so I didn't lose too much ground. Once the fire road smoothed out though, the fast boys were gone. I made it my mission to keep it lit on the short sharp climbs and fully open the taps on the descents as I knew I could be really competitive with gravity on my side. 

Rosie clearly stoked on riding in the tropical conditions in Bacup!

The first lap was hard work starting with cold legs and plenty of traffic on course. It did give me a chance to scope out some sneaky lines for the following lap and assess the conditions. No panic.

Pete about to drop into the gulley run. The descent was only 10m long, but it floored more than most!

The next 4 laps were super consistent, all being within 14:49 and 14:53, really happy that I kept a solid pace through the majority of the laps. It's something I used to be really bad at. My legs take ages to warm up, so taking it easy on lap 1 allows me to really put the hammer down later on. The descents got really chopped up where there was no hardcore and most of the bedrock was slick with wet mud, it proved to be quite predictable though, so I gradually wound up the Five each lap to see how hard I could push. I got a little excited on the last lap with a clear run on all the descents and got a bit wild as a result. I was pretty tired at that point as well, going a little slower on the last lap.

Pete + Bikes + Mud = Happy Pete.

So I managed to finish my first proper XC race without any major mechanicals, crashes or tantrums. I might not race the pros next time, despite not coming dead last, but then you never know! The Brownbacks did a cracking job of organising a race in some pretty grim conditions, they even managed to find a deck of marshals that were really happy to be out and were cheering folk on. I deicded a wheelie for the marshall at the top of the sweet descent was the least I could do. Looking forward to racing the next two rounds! 

For more info on the series, head to http://www.brownbacksracing.co.uk

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