Southern XC Round 5, Pippingford Estate.
It doesn’t seem long ago that it was the first round of the Southern XC Series at Checkendon, the summer has flown by and the final round at Pippingford Estate was upon us. The 2010 National Championships were held at this venue so as you can imagine it is a pretty tough course. This year, to stop us all getting too complacent with the course, the sneaky Southern XC crew had changed a few things. There was a new arena and start loop complete with a few new sections to challenge even the best technical riders.
I did a practice lap with Pete in the morning, it was a little damp but it didn’t seem to be changing the track at all and it rode beautifully. The descents were fast flowing and I couldn’t help but grin on the way down. Pete managed to complete his race in the relative dry but as he finished the heavens opened and there was a huge downpour. After riding the course when it was so dry I couldn’t imagine just how muddy it would become. I decided not to change to the Kenda King of Traction tyres a decision which I would come to regret about five minutes into the race!
Unfortunately there were only three of us lining up for the final round, we were without Carla Haines of WXC who had opted to do the SW championship and Jo Munden looking after her other half after a bit of crash while out training. Still, I knew I would be pushed all the way and the course would test me. After having a few difficult races my main aim for this race was to complete it in one piece. On the start line it began to spit with rain again, that was soon forgotten though as the gun went to start. As we hit the first section of single track my back wheel started to slip and slide underneath me, I really wished I’d changed my tyres to have more grip!
I am very lucky in that the training I have done with Firecrest MTB is mostly at Aston Hill, Wendover, which in the wet is the most evil place for riding, slippery descents and gnarly roots to catch you out just like the course I was facing now. I felt comfortable tackling the ever deteriorating conditions thanks to Ian. Luckily, I have also been doing some ride and run drills in my training which definitely came in handy when it came to running up the majority of little climbs. I was relieved to see even the top elite men having to do just the same; it was that boggy. I managed to slip and slide my around for four long laps and finish just about in one piece. My win at this round also meant that I won the Series, a great end to a great series. Thank you to the Southern XC team for providing some challenging courses, I’m looking forward to next year already.
As always I couldn’t do these races without my sponsors so a huge thank you to Ian Warby and Mark Baines at Firecrest MTB, Baines Racing, Sponser Energy products from Fitness Performance Resource, Kenda Tyres, Limar helmets, Lake shoes, Jagwire, POWERbreathe, Working Bodies and AndyStand.