Although I've been having a bash at racing for a few years now, I've never actually done a proper cross country race...until today that is.
Today was round 5 of the Scottish Cross Country Series in Perth, which is local (ish) so after some peer pressure from Katie, I decided to give it a bash.
I learned some important stuff....
1. Print out the map and don't try to wing it from memory and using the larger scale AA road map. Taking almost 2 hours to get to a race which is only an hour away isn't good race prep!
2. Don't ever ride to registration with a water bottle carrier slung over the right hand side of your bars. When you turn, the bottle carrier will shimmy along your bars, trap your brake lever, lock on the front brake and cause you to go over the bars in an instant, in front of all the other folks faffing and getting ready by their cars. It's not great to start a race with a bloody elbow and covered in dust from the fire road!
3. Singlespeeds don't always work on very hilly courses when you're racing with whippets. Yes, I can make time up on the descents, but there's only so much time you can get away with losing on the climbs because they're just that wee bit too steep to ride.
4. Trying to race after 2 weeks of gastroenteritis and not eating isn't a good idea...I don't need to tell you that your body needs a wee bit of food in there to be able to function properly.
5. Yes, recovery drinks are good, but ever better are Perthshire Burgers! Eat them after a race and they will help you feel better!
So, not my best ever race, but for my first XC race, it was a good learning experience. It was an Edinburgh podium in the slightly older than the whippets category and there's a new piece of silverware (well, slate-ware really) on the shelf.
I'm not sure if I'm an XC convert, but the SXC champs are at the start of September at Drumlanrig which is one of my favourite places to ride, so I might give it a bash again soon.