Check in here to find out how Colm gets on in this year’s series of Mountain Bike Trials.
Round 4 of the Cross-Country National Points Series – 28/6/2015.
The fourth race of the NPS was held at Ticknock on the slopes of Threerock Mountain in Co. Dublin. The course was similar to the one last year but the big difference this time was that it was dry and dusty. We were given a taste of what was to come here;
As usual I did a practice lap on the morning of the race. There was a nice mix of natural trails, manmade tracks and even some smooth tarmac. Some technical climbing going up the wrong way on the Coillte trails, nicknamed Metro 1 and Metro 3. Then some wide-open sections for overtaking and some dual-line and widely-taped sections. You had to choose your line carefully on these sections as sometimes the obvious line is not the fastest. There was a lot of climbing but this made for very long and fast descents. The track folded back over itself in a few places so you could see where other competitors were. This was going to be a tough race.
I was on the second row of the starting grid and it was just as well because there was not much of a run in before the single-track started. My main rival today was Redmond from Team WORC. I started just ahead of him. On the first climb I tried to pass out another rider but as I drew level with him he wobbled and pushed me off the track. The front wheel went into a hole and I lost a few places while I got back going again. Red was now ahead of me. I kept him in sight for the rest of lap 1. On lap 2 the field spread out a bit and everyone settled down to their race pace.
Coming into lap 3 I could still in contact with Red. There was just one person between him and me; Patrick from IMBRC. I gradually gained on Patrick and I was right on his wheel waiting for a chance to overtake but I had to choose my moment. We came to a wide section with multiple options. He picked one line and I stayed with him. But it was the wrong one; Alan from Gravity BC passed us on a different line.
We were near the finish line now and close together. We came down the final descent and then onto the last stretch. This was a slight climb up a fire road and it turned into a sprint. I managed to get past Patrick but I just couldn’t catch Alan or Red. It was very close racing for the three laps. It took us about 1 hour 10 minutes for us complete the three laps and the four of us (Red, Alan, Patrick and I) finished within 15 seconds of each other. I made it over the line in 8th place but the steep climbs and demanding descents made for a challenging but very enjoyable race.
(Photography by http://www.adrianvanderlee.com/)
Round 3 of the Cross-Country National Points Series – 7/6/2015.
The third round of the NPS was hosted by EPIC MTB with support from Villicom. It was held on the grounds of the spectacular Glendalough House in County Wicklow. The track is a custom made mountain bike trail with loads of natural single track with some boardwalks.
The weather on the morning of the race was warm and dry and when I did a practice lap and the track was in perfect condition. The trails are on private land so it’s somewhere that you don’t normally get to ride so it was a privilege to get to cycle around here.
Here’s a video of the course taken before the race;
The top 20 riders were gridded so I was delighted when my name was called out. I obviously did enough in Round 2 to make it on the grid. I had just made it in so I was on the third row.
I had a good start and managed to stay ahead of the main group. This is important as you need to be ahead of people before you hit the single track where it’s difficult to overtake. But then the chain came off on the entrance to the single track. I got it back on but I lost a few places. I heard after that there was congestion here but it seems I must have been ahead of it. I hoped that would be the only glitch in the race. I overtook a couple of riders and I was feeling strong at the end of lap 1. There were two riders in front of me when I was going through the start/finish area and I passed them here. Always a good thing to do in front of the spectators! This gave me a boost and if I could hold this place or even pass a few more people I would be happy.
There was some very close racing on Lap 2 but I started to pull away from them on the climbs. I’m not too good on the downhill sections so if there was anywhere I could be caught it would be here. But I had done enough to stay ahead. On lap 3 the field was very spread out. I could see some riders ahead of me and I was still feeling strong. It was the last lap and I gave as much as I could but I couldn’t catch up.
Getting anywhere close to the top 10 in S3 is hard as the field is so competitive. I came in 12th so I was happy with that.
Epic MTB Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/EPICMTBDublin?fref=ts
Epic MTB web page http://epicmtb.com/
Photography by http://www.adrianvanderlee.com/
Round 2 of the Cross-Country National Points Series – 3/5/2015.
I had a bit of work to do in Round 2 after the disappointment of Round 1. The bike was fixed and had a new derailleur fitted. This race was held at the Delphi Adventure Resort near Leenane, Connemara, Co. Galway and the race track was set in the breath-taking Delphi Valley.
The DNF from Round 1 meant that I would not be placed on the grid for this race so I was starting from the back of the pack. As usual with cross county races the start is important. On the first lap where the trail narrows to singletrack the riders are forced to get into single file. This usually causes congestion and I got caught up in this. It eventually sorted itself out and then it was out onto the fire road climb. This was good because there was room to pass here. It was a difficult climb as the surface was soft and sandy and his dragged on the bike. Then on to more singletrack. This was loose hardcore and it moved a bit under the wheels, which was a bit disconcerting! The wet weather made the natural trails very slippy and needed a lot of concentration.
I spent lap 1 and 2 trying to pass riders. By lap 3 it was very spread out and the gaps between the riders was getting bigger. I caught as many as I could and came in 12th.
Photography by http://www.adrianvanderlee.com/
Round 1 of the Cross-Country National Points Series – 19/4/2015.
After all the wet and cold winter nights training on the bike it came down to this moment. Waiting on the line with seconds to go to for the start whistle to sound my heart rate was racing. The whistle blew and we were off. It felt like a good start but seconds into the race disaster! My rear derailleur failed. I didn’t even make it to the first corner.