The time had come, this one was going to answer a lot of questions. Had a structured training plan worked, was there enough speed in the legs and how did we match up to the Eastern lads in GV?
This was to be the first head to head with Team mate Pilch in a proper race too. Also a Neo-GV he’s come on brilliantly in the past year, and did a full season of events and was seeking his full potential. Not the best of situations, as we seem to have drifted more into rivals than team mates.
Tunstall has been a hard place to race in the past, but luckily the mud was all rideable and the mostly singletrack course was really good with a few sloppy bombholes thrown in to test you.
They gridded last years series top 10, so we both got a good look at who to aim at. The flag dropped and even from the third row, it didnt take long to establish what we’d both secretly hoped for, Pilch led and I chased, within 3 minutes we both knew the race for the win was between us. He was hammering, and I was keeping up but working way harder than I liked. In a common theme for this years racing the high intensity intervals commenced. It’s a constant surge past riders from the Vets race ahead, try and grab some recovery when it slows, then repeat. Really tough for a Diesel engine like mine, but I was chuffed it seemed to be getting better.
I assumed Pilch was trying to break away, I knew I had to hang on and luckily the pace eased after 2 laps. He led for the full two laps then we started to talk, I then took up the running for the 3rd lap as we circulated together with less pressure. I was starting to think this could be a mistake, lots of self doubt was nagging at me, the old demons were surfacing. I’d watched Pilchs rear tyre squirming for 2 laps while I had good grip so when we got to one really sticky uphill section I went for it.
Looking at the files afterwards I went Anerobic for over 2 miles, it hurt big time but I felt strong, the adrenaline of leading a race for the first time in years pushing me on. At the start of the last lap I had a good gap of 20 seconds, I was spent but kept the mid race pace up and concentrated on making no mistakes on the now super sticky course.
The win was clear in the end by 2:46, Two Plumz on the podium, First and Second, a time to celebrate, it didn’t feel like that! So why do I feel like the villain in this?
Lap times. 19:59 – 20:15 – 20:40 – 20:49 – 20:39
It’s going to be an Epic 8 round series thats for sure.