British Cycling National MTB Cross-Country Series – Round 2
Lots of riders from the team made the long journey down to Wheal Maid Valley, Redruth, Cornwall.
- Dan Tulett 1st U14 XC National Points Series, won by nearly 2mins!
- Beth Crumpton 3rd XC National Points Series Elite women
- Steve James 9th (3rd U23) XC National Points Series Elite Male
- Jody Crawforth 13th XC National Points Series Elite Male
- Crispin Doyle 3rd Veteran XC National Points Series
- Chris Dobson 18th Masters XC National Points Series
We’ve got a number of blogs from the riders:
Steve James –
I didn’t really know what to expect when racing in the depths of Cornwall, I knew it was going to be fairly hilly but other than that I didn’t know what was going to be presented to me. A long drive later and a quick lunch, it was time to see what Cornwall had to offer us XC racers. I don’t really know what I was expecting but the course was not it! Big, fast, loose downhill sections followed by steep climbs and flat-out transitions sections… a true mountainbike course! The course was superbly designed and I’d love to see many more courses like that in the uk, take note!
The race for me went better than expected in some aspects, and disappointing in others. My start was ok, placed in the top 10 into the first singletrack I was happy with that after a second row grid. On the first climb I felt great, climbing a few places and staying on wheels I didn’t think I would. However this is where the great form seemed to go! After the climb was a fast flat bit of singletrack where it felt like I was going into the red to keep my placing, then the next climb I went up another place.
This is much the story of the rest of the race, descending well and climbing what felt strong to me but being let down on the fast pedalling sections of the course, I reckon I was losing 15-25 seconds a lap on these sections to my nearest rivals. On lap 4 I reached 7th place with 6th only 5 seconds up the road, but my efforts on the flat sections were tiring me out and slowing my progress, on the penultimate lap I started to really slow on these sections and dropped to 9th place, luckily I managed to hold this place which I am pleased with don’t get me wrong! My flat power is letting me down and with 3 weeks to the first World Cup this is where my focus will be during training, it’s time I want to stop losing!
My bike I cannot blame for this, as for that course I couldn’t have asked for a better stead! With the light weight and brain suspension helping me up the climbs and then being active enough to give me good speed back down! I suffered no mechanical issues the whole weekend and no sore back, a rarity on such rocky terrain. I was running Fast Trak S-works tyres at 22/23psi front and rear respectively.
Chris Dobson –
Being a new signing to the team i was keen to return
Hargroves confidence have put in me, but after a heavy crash on my practice lap
left me with a bruised knee I thought this may not be the weekend for that. But
that is racing and i put it behind me and lined up on the start line after
missing the first round due to the weather conditions i was gridded on
the back rows. I made a good start and got it mid pack which was essential for
the first technical downhill. I pushed on to make progress through the field
which was made hard by the rocky conditions off the racing line. During the
second lap of my 6 lap race lady luck was not smiling on me when i lost bottle
cage due to the bike and body destroying course meaning i was only able to
drink on smooth grass area of the course. Finally finishing in 18th place i was
pleased to finish and get some hard fought points to hopefully be gridded
higher for the next round. A Big thank you to the Hargroves team for supporting
me, See you all at the next one 🙂
Dan Tulett –
On the 28th of April was the 2nd round of the national Mtb XC series at Redruth Cornwall. Which me, Steve and Beth competed in.
The race was very intense with very little time to rest due to the mixture of short and long but very steep climbs. It was unlike any XC course i have ridden before, it was a shorter lap and far rockier and faster than I had expected. So following riders like Jody in the course practice the day before was more than helpful. I got a good start and managed to work on it through the first lap but being held up on the climbs by other categories was frustrating. i was pleased to notice after the race that my lap times were very consistent, ive tried to work on this over the last few races. I finished the race with just under 2 minites lead over second place. I am now looking forward to the Isle of man stage race this weekend which I have won for the last 2 years.
Crispin Doyle –
This year, the Mountain Bike Cross-Country calendar is making a real effort to cover as much of the nation as possible. The Championships are in Scotland and there’s a round of the National Series in Wales. The furthest reaches of England are explored too, so on Sunday 28th April, we all rocked up at Redruth in Cornwall, only a half hour drive from Land’s End.
Arriving late on Friday night, we had no idea what was in store for us so it was quite a surprise to leave the cozy green event field, through a hole in the hedge, to emerge on what looked like an alien planet from an old episode of Dr Who. The race was around the extraordinary landscape of some old mine workings and some bits of it were positively lunar in appearance.
So much for what it looked like, what did it ride like? The course itself was a beauty. Fast, flowy descents, some steep rocky chutes and a couple of vertiginous rocky drop-ins, one of which was named, ominously, ‘down to brown’. To link all these together, the organisers had thoughtfully provided a handful of brutal rocky climbs. Nice.
On first sight, the technical bits gave me a real fright, but I knew I either had to master all the A-lines, or abandon any hope of a good result. Two good practise sessions and no crashes (but a few close shaves) later and I was still a little nervous, but feeling much better about the race.
First off on the Sunday was the Elite Women’s event. I was pitting for my cyclocross team-mate, Anna Cipullo, moonlighting for MB Swindon. After her race, she surprised me by saying that it was a climber’s course. She was quite right because while it was the technical bits that grabbed your attention, the big gaps could only open up on the climbs. As long as you didn’t crash. This increased my confidence a bit more because if a skinny guy like me can’t climb, I might as well give up.
That was it. I had a plan. It went, ‘nail it up the climbs and don’t crash on the descents.’ Good eh? Come the race and I was 5th or 6th out of the field and into the techy stuff. I lost a little time on the first descent, but I still had the leaders in sight as they started to climb and pulled back some of the gap. This carried on for most of the first lap, each time losing less time going down that I made up going up. By the second lap I was passing vets and tail-end masters regularly and had a familiar face in sight, that of Paul Hopkins, last year’s champ. With two laps to go I was on his back wheel and we went elbow-to-elbow through the finish field, vying to lead into the singletrack.
He beat me and pulled out a few seconds but I passed him after the next climb, got ‘down to brown’ in one piece and attacked up a steep rocky path. The gap grew on each climb and I was well up going into the final lap. This is when it all changed. In the space of five minutes my front tyre went soft after cutting the sidewall on a sharp rock, I crashed on a drop-in, bending my chain keeper and then had to stop, twice, to wrestle my chain back on. Of course, this allowed Paul past and I ended up gingerly riding home, settling for third instead of chasing down first.
Despite the problems, that was my best result at a big mountain bike race and I’m looking forward to the next one. It’s got even more climbing and I’ve promised myself I won’t break anything this time.
I was looking forward to racing somewhere new, this being a very long 6hour drive to Redruth in Cornwall. Arriving friday night in plenty of time and went out for a spin with Grant & Kenta, coming across the race course and it looked really good, so good we were itching to go for a blast around but had to resist.
Saturday was practice day and a ride down to the course with the guys and get on course which I was looking forward too, I headed out on my first lap to try and attempt to keep up with Grant and the first bit being a descent was great fun and I nearly kept up.
The course was very loose, rocky/shaley and hilly. A mega fun track which was going to be a very quick lap, something I really enjoyed and was looking forward to the bike race and more definitely needed on the UK race scene.
I was gridded 12th, on the second row, so I lined up hoping that the girl in front of me had a good start so I could get in the single track in the top 2, as it was a 1.5k descent and a mega fun one. The gun went and the girl in front missed her pedal, so as I’ve learnt from junior world cups, elbows out all out, as I weaved through riders through the start field, I got into 2nd behind Lee Cragie who led it out down the first decent. The first lap was fast and I was hanging on the back of the leading back of 3 in fourth on the climbs and gaining time on the decents, I then started to settle in sitting fourth before we hit the bus stop where carnage occurred in the front 3 which meant I was off my bike and sliding down on my back side down the other side and getting back on the bike made it very difficult.
As I saw the front 3 ride away I made a big effort to get back up to the 2 in front, I managed this going into lap 2 catching them up on the first decent. I was happy with how I was riding, as I knew I was riding good technically catching up riders and could potentially pull out gaps on others.
Half way round lap 2 I passed 3rd position and 2nd was about 10 seconds in front and I was on my own in 3rd just in front of 4th by about another 10 seconds. Going into lap 3 I wanted to try my best to catch up to 2nd but that was looking unlikely so I focussed on not blowing and riding my own race. I was gaining time on the descents and riding well technically and keeping it on up the climbs. Coming in to the finish I had come home in third a result I was dead chuffed with, happy with how my form was coming along and really enjoyed the tighter racing. I also loved my Fate 29er round this course, it rode mega, and love it the more I ride and race it.
This result has put me 2nd overall in the standings now and definitely put me in for the fight for the overall series, keeping racing exciting and competitive. So 4th last time, 3rd this time, I’ll try my best for position higher next time round. Between now and then I’m racing the Scottish XC on the Commie games course which will be great to check out and then the first 2 rounds of the World Cups begin in Germany and the Czech Republic something I am really looking forward to kick off in the U23 women’s category.