Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hard Tailing

Yesterday was my first mtb race back on 'Specky'- my S-Works hard tail. And only my second mtb ride this year... not good! I had a feeling that getting a bike together this quickly was going to be a recipe for disaster and before the start I had a feeling this race had 'mechanical' written all over it. The night before is not the time to be re-adjusting gears, brakes and changing tubeless tyres. But when your bike shop is as sh*t as the one here in Wan Chai, and your week has been as busy as mine, such is life.

The start was good, and I was top 5 going into the first singletrack. However, soon enough, yes, mechanical struck. Brakes and gears were fine but my bars were rotating in the stem going over any major rocks. Stupidly I'd forgotten to stuff a multi-tool in the back pocket and I quickly slipped back down the field as I struggled to control the bike in anything technical. Luckily for me a spectator on the trail managed to dig a 4mm allen key out of his rucksack and I was on my way again, on a mission to move back up.

I finished the first lap after 45mins and soon hit the tarmac climbs. I knew that seeing as I wasn't used to the bike (especially when I've been used to 5 1/2" travel), and my technical skills were 'rusty' this was my best chance to make use of the road training I've been doing. I managed to move back up to the rider in 6th place, a great adventure racer called Ryan, who somehow managed to put about 10 secs into me with his running skills down some steps, and I never saw him again! Real proof that mtb'ing in HK requires more than just powerful biking legs. 

Another minor mechanical with the gears and I almost lost my placing once again(!), but I held on to come through in 1hr30- a good time, but put into perspective by the course record 1hr20 set by the winner- Jaw (a Chinese full timer who was Asian games champ a few years ago). My time was only good enough for 4th place in Cat. but given who showed up and what happened with the bike I think the result was OK. At least I didn't clothes line my head on a tree and knock myself out like my friend Lewis!!! A fun day out and good to get back on the mtb!

Leeps warming up


Ladies winner Hillary before the start.

The reservoir.