Island Games Mtb Criterium Race 2011

If anyone came to watch the Island Games Mountain Bike Criterium Race this afternoon and thought the course looked hard - It was! So was the competition; with quite a few professional and semi professional riders from Guernsey and The Isle of Man.

I'm happy with my result though: 19th overall and the second fastest Isle of Wight rider behind Sean Williams who came in 10th.
Click here for: Results

The Course
The course composed of a long sprint and series of switch backs through a grassy section on the top of Fore/Cheverton Down, it then plummeted down the side of the down towards Cheverton Aggregates Quarry and took a tricky right hand bend at the bottom of the downhill - a challenge when you we hitting the shale/broken clay pigeon strewn corner at close to 30mph. There was then a sink hole that you drop down into and back out before beginning the short, sharp ascent back up through some singletrack to the top of the down. The Men's course was 50mins, plus 1 lap - and you certainly felt every one of those minutes!

The Race
Onto the race itself: We had a short delay at the start as they changed the course from the women's event. Then it was a sprint off the line; my start wasn't great, but I was able to just hang onto the main pack as we headed through the grassy section of the course. After a while the pack splintered and I was left with four other riders from Jersey, Shetland Isles, Faroe Isles and the Isle of Man. For the majority of the race we stuck together, no one seemed willing to make the effort to jump back to the main pack, so we remained about half a lap behind (each lap was about 4.5mins). As we went into the final few laps I managed to break away from all but the Isle of Man rider, who without me knowing (I was at the back of the four man group) broke free on the penultimate lap and took 18th in front of me.
At the front of the race Team Guernsey controlled from start to finish - chasing down any potential breakaways and taking all the podium spots. It was impressive to watch, they raced perfectly and all credit to them deserved to win, though it's hard to pit yourself against semi-professionals that are able to train for hours each day.

The race was definitely a 'suffer-fest'; for the first time in a long while I felt absolutely mentally and physically exhausted at the end, not wanting to eat anything and feeling quite physically sick. Perhaps the grimace in this photo gives an idea of that:
Despite that, this was probably the most enjoyable race I have ever done. I have to thank Bill Pewsey and Sean Williams for their great effort in organising it, and I'm sure the XC race on Friday will be an equal success.

I'm looking forward to going to watch a bit of Windsurfing and the Road Race tomorrow, and will keep the blog updated as I head towards Friday's race.

Hope you are all enjoying the Games too.


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