HomeHargroves Cycles RTCrispin Doyle reports on Round 3 Hopton National XC

Crispin Doyle reports on Round 3 Hopton National XC

Here’s another one, this time for Rd 3
at Hopton.

Having moved up into the Vets this year, I’m under no illusions about how
strong and skilful these guys are so I knew I’d have my work cut out to be
competitive.  Last year, I had my best National XC result at Hopton, a
fifth place in the Masters race, and I was hopeful of a
repeat.  Coming third at the last round, despite a couple of minor
mechanical problems, gave me the confidence that I could do just that and I
went into the race in good spirits.

Complete photo gallery of the event taken by Andy Whitehouse https://www.facebook.com/BCXCSeries/photos_albums

I’d decided on a simple but slightly risky plan that might give me a chance of
a win.  I’d go all out on all the climbs, right from the gun, hoping to
make up enough time to cover my  losses on the descents.  If nothing
else, it’d put the wind up the competition.

It nearly worked too.  The first, major climb was about 10 minutes long
and despite a poor start, I had a healthy little lead at the top on lap
1.  Sure enough, on the final descent to the finish, I got caught. Paul
Hopkins, the commentator’s favourite, then pulled off an outrageous (but
crowd-pleasing) overtake on the last corner to lead over the line.  Lap 2
was the same story. I pulled away, lost the lead by dropping my chain, then
regained it and again got passed on the second half of the course, finishing
with a 15 second deficit. On lap 3, I pulled out a larger gap on the ascent and
held the lead through the bell.  The plan was working, but I was beginning
to suffer. I felt the odd twinge of cramp in my legs, preventing me from going
full gas up the climb.  Behind me, Paul, who’d also taken a turn at
dropping his chain, was attacking hard to close the gap and I daren’t go fast
enough to keep ahead, as this would have meant risking a full-on cramp
attack.  Perhaps inevitably, I was reeled in, despite scaring myself silly
on a couple of descents, and had to give best through the final technical

Still, I’m really chuffed with my second podium in two National XC races and
I’m looking forward to another good scrap at Round 3, Margam Park.  It’s
another hilly one so let’s see if it’ll be third time lucky.