Merida Brass Monkeys – Rd 1
Last weekend saw the return of the Wiggle staff riders returning to the mud in a fresh start to the new racing season.
This was for the first round of the Merida Brass Monkeys series, a three-event series put on but the Army Cycling union. Myself and fellow Wiggle racer headed far north to Aldershot with colleagues Pete and Ham in tow to provide some much needed support, fearing the worst after a week of heavy rain preceding the event.
Conditions were cold so a pre-race course reccy was avoided in favour of spinning away in the team van!
Lining up for the first race in quite a while is always a nervous time and my qualms were not eased when looking around I saw a lot of fast guys happily waiting to rip up the start line. For want of a better distraction I decided the best thing to do was to focus intently on how clean my shoes were…Not for long!
The air horn sounded and we were off – quite a bit of congestion as expected in the first few hundred metres and a tidy bang on the knee from a stray spd but as soon as the course opened up I put my head down to try and catch the fast front group containing a speedy pair of Cannondale riders.
After the first lap I was still thrashing around right on the limit, and frustratingly experiencing limited gains. The far side of the course was quite muddy early on but this only added to the excitement with great variety in the singletrack descents.
Seeing the front group move away the battle was now on in my head to keep the lap times as consistent as possible. Once the 2 hour riders got out on course this really helped to dry section out and the light suddenly switched on at the end of the tunnel. Rolling across the line in 7th I was disappointed that I was unable to bridge the gap to the leaders but overall am happy with my current legs at this time in the year.
Thanks to the ACU for setting out a great course and see you all at the next round!