For the second time this year I lined up in a Scottish Cross Country race, and this time it was the Scottish Championships. I've really been enjoying getting back riding more consistently - I'm feeling better physically and mentally. I've still quite a long way to go to get back to where I have been in the past, but the more I train the more I feel like that's where I want to be!
The last month has been challenging for training with the Glasgow 2018 European Championships, HSBC's Chris Hoy Day and Lets Ride events keeping me busy. I also hit a slump last week which robbed me of motivation and I lost some momentum in training. On the 29th of August it was the two year anniversary of my best mate Dougie's death and it always hits me hard. Even though I know that getting out for a ride is probably going to be the best thing for me, sometimes getting out the house can be the hardest part! I managed to get back on the bike but lost around a week of training.
The Scottish Championship were being hosted over the water in Dunoon on the Cowal peninsula. Dunoon has hosted lots of awesome races over the last few years with a great club building some gnarly trails! I wasn't able to make it over the day before the race to practice so made the journey over early on Sunday to make sure I could grab a lap.
The course was mega with some savage climbing and natural trails - there was a wooded section which was heavily cut up with some big holes developing. It was a challenge to get through this section with any style, especially with an XC style high seat and steep head angle! I should mention that I was super fortunate to be racing an awesome Santa Cruz Blur CC bike! I just want to thank Santa Cruz UK for letting me ride one of their demo bikes for the event. I'll maybe need a dropper post next time though... ;)
My goal for the race was to simply have fun and put down a ride to see where I'm at. I'm hoping to continue this momentum this month with a whole lot of events in September and the cyclocross season approaching too.
The race started fast and I found myself in pursuit of the two favourites Gary MacDonald and Dave Duggan. I figured out pretty soon that these guys are a level above me right now but I was soon in a tough race for 3rd with Dougie Shearer and Davie Lines. Around the half way point the intensity was too much for me and I had to settle into my own pace. Davie Lines punctured and I managed to finish with an empty tank in 4th place which I was stoked with!
I've come out of the champs with some more motivation that I want to continue to get fit again. It's been 4 years since I 'retired' from racing internationally and I feel like I'm ready to get back to it, even if it's just for fun. As long as I keep enjoying it I'll keep doing it, and I'll still try and keep the balance of work, racing and adventures too!
Stay tuned for more updates including the Dukes Weekender coming up this weekend! It's going to be awesome!
Over and out...