Every year the race season creeps up on you, scrambling to get everything packed up and ready for the first race. Even after fifteen years that first race of the year is a trial, making sure you've packed everything and usually getting a new bike built up, or even racing on last years bike.
For me this year has come together relatively last minute. It would be great to be in a position where you could ride and train for a living however that only happens for a lucky few. The rest of us must juggle work and other commitments and attempt our best to accomplish 'living the dream'. Having gained support from a number of great sponsors for this coming year it makes a huge difference to being able to commit to racing and I'll be writing a number of blogs throughout the season as I set my goals on improving following last years racing.
After racing two of the Enduro World Series events last year and winning the Scottish Enduro Series I was lucky enough to get priority entry into the EWS in 2015. Entries opened on the 18th of January and a mad moment decended upon me and I entered six rounds, definitely breaking the piggy bank. I'd already entered the ful SES at that point and so the season was looking busy! Exciting times for sure. I had however not found that dream all expensive paid deal but following a stop off at Basecamp bikes, after riding in Aviemore, and a few phone calls later I had a plan for the year. The kind guys at Silverfish and Basecamp bikes built up a rather dreamy Yeti SB6c and I picked it up, complete with WTB touches throughout and tricked out OneUp Components the week before the first race of the season. Perfect timing!
With a completely new build under me for the year and a rather bright jersey hot from the press of thecyclejersey.com I was ready for the first Scottish round of the year.
I've attempted to take a more structured approach to training this year. Doug Shearer, the most analystical racer on the enduro scene recommended some good reading to me and it's been good to apply this. Time is precious as well as limited and having a plan, as well as some flexibility is key. The planning side of racing and training this year has really interested me and being my own self coach gives another aspect to racing. Work commitments can get in the way, doing those extra hours or preparing for a meeting has to take priority sometimes but it's a case of moving things about in the week.
This first race wasn't a priority, especially after only just getting my new bike and still setting it up. I was looking for a weekend on the bike really at this point. It was a good place however to get a feel for the new wheels and I was starting to enjoy every aspect of it by the end of the weekend.
Come Saturday night and a day of practicing in me I was ruined. Come Sunday morning I was still aching! This was a physically demanding course and the climbing of over 1400m a day took it's toll.
Sunday morning had the biggest suprise. Seeing Ben Cathro stroll through the car park and appear at my van. I was sure I'd see an Instagram of him at the airport in NZ the previous evening. That's just what the SES is, a magnet for Scottish mountain bikers, even with jet lag. Onto racing and all five stages went pretty well for me. I was burst on stage 4, right from the start I struggled to put anything through the pedals. Some minor mistakes here and there and a definite feeling of fatigue by the final stages was there. Having not ridden for two consecutive days with so much climbing since the last race in 2014 it was a shock to the system. One I know my body will get used to as the season progresses. To come away in 5th for the day was a great result, a bit off the pace of the top times. Sometime you just have to put things in perspective so I'll take that as a pretty promising start to 2015. I think the new Yeti could be a fast machine!
It's back to being an Engineer for another few weeks before Valleluhah at the end of March.
Full results below. Amazing riding from Greg and Gary who deservely took the top two steps of the podium.
Thanks to all my 2015 sponsors this year. Super excited to have your support for the season.
thecyclejersey.com/ basecamp bikes/ oneupcomponents/ SmithOptics/ WTB/ RGU:Sport/ Juice Lubes/ Yeti&Raceface through Silverfish Dist.
See you at the next race! Come and have a bounce on the new bike.