Chorlton Water Park Midweek XC

I don’t get chance to race at many of the local XC races for one reason or another. I’m almost always away somewhere or recovering from some stupidly-long race when they take place so when I get chance, I make sure I make the effort and support the event.

Having lived in Manchester all my life, I’ve never been to Chorlton Water Park. I was born 3 miles away from it too. In fact, I didn’t even know it existed, so yesterday’s race was also a voyage of discovery (ok, maybe that’s overstating it a bit). I saw dozens of people I only ever see at races, in fact I think I only ever see a lot of the folk I saw yesterday at Hit the North. A serious race for some but dead friendly for everyone.

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The race got underway and I started with a good 40 people in front of me (too much chatting on my way to the start you see). No problem, this was a good thing. I needed to get some “overtaking on singletrack” practice in before the Bristol Bikefest which isn’t known for it’s overtaking opportunities. Sure enough, the race got underway, I immediately got into oxygen debt and I played the “wait for it…wait for it…GO!” overtaking game for the next hour. I even caught a snot rocket on the shoulder while following someone who should really have checked his trajectory beforehand (cheers).

The race was also a chance to check that all is well with the bike I’ll be riding this weekend in the 12 hour pairs race with Dave. The Niner Air9 Carbon that I haven’t ridden in anger since last October when various (now replaced) components simultaneously disintegrated during the final lap of the race. The fork’s been tuned and serviced by Loco Tuning as well, so I was keen to give that some hammer.

It took me all of half a lap to get comfortable with the bike again, it really is a bike that feels like I’ve been riding since birth. And the fork genuinely feels better than it did when I bought it.

So I rode around for 5 laps of the relatively flat and therefore silly-fast course, turned myself inside out, had a few little battles with other riders, overtook a satisfying number, finished in 12th place, picked up my free can of pop at the end and was home before anyone noticed 🙂

Support your local events! Use em or lose em! etc…

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