Another weekend another CX race. This time it was the Final NCXS race of the 2015 Season. I was going in confident that I had a good chance of taking home the series win as long as I rode a solid race, But that’s not what I was there to do. I was excited because it was the finally of the series before flying out to the USA in three days’ time.
With almost the same pre ride and warm up routine as yesterday I was waiting for my name to be called to the start line. Next thing I chose the same position as yesterday trying to find the middle warn in line that had the least rocks and most pushed down grass. The Gun went off and I got another good start I managed to slip into second wheel trying to take deep breaths and not use too much energy as I knew I would be needing it later in the race.
Early on I tried to push the pace and was putting myself into the red a little. This caused a small split of four riders getting away from the chasing field. From there the race really began and everyone seemed fresh and was having a go at trying to get off the front. I made a few mistakes at the end of the first lap and couldn’t see where the course was going and crashed through the tape nearly taking out a marshal in the progress. I managed to rejoin the course losing about 6 places and had to start chasing back to the lead group that was now away. I tried to keep calm and just sit in and pass each rider moving up to the rider in front as fast as possible.
As the laps passed I managed to get back onto the front group that had started to become stretched and splinted, the other riders were looking a little tired. I made my way to the front where I felt most comfortable and started to lift the pace ever so slightly making it a little harder every few minutes. Soon enough it was just team mate Shaun Lewis and I battling for the win.
As we made our way through the twisty section just after the start/finish banner I noticed Shaun had dropped off the wheel by a few meters, I pushed a little harder trying to open up a bit more of a gap and see if he could close it. Minutes later the gap blew out as I managed to keep my momentum over a soft woodchip section. Coming into the aptly named ‘Forrest of Doom” I could see he was only a few seconds behind but knew if I kept pushing he would not be able to sit on my wheel and get a rest on the next long straight.
The bell rang for the final lap and it was very close, one mistake and we would be back together. I accelerated out of every corner as hard as I could knowing that if I put in the hard work now I can take it easy in the finish straight. Coming past the main event center and the crowd were cheering me on it was a great feeling with people yelling out your name and willing you on. As I passed through the Forrest of Doom and headed around the final few corners it was the perfect ending to a great season and my first full season racing in the elite category. I managed to take home the stage victory and also the series title with it. I was very happy to take the win knowing that I had some form coming into an upcoming trip to the US in a few days’ time.
Until next time in the US.
Cheers Chris Aitken
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