Wow! what an amazing event. The weather was brilliant, the trails dusty and I had excellent competition to work against.
This was my first stage event so I was pretty excited. I arrived expecting a good workout but nothing too serious competition wise. Turns out, I was wrong and there was absolutely solid competition from Nick Smith a strong UK rider, and a bunch of good Dutch Masters guys and of course Niall Davis, who was flying!
I had a questionable previous night race preperation, I had to work late at a college Event the night before as part of our grading process. This meant few hectic days, 5 hours sleep, Some obnoxious darts players who don't eat vegetabables and a nutritious chinease takeaway at 12:30 the night before the race for dinner! (This habit was got to stop..) So, I knew I would suffer for the first stage, so I kind of just embraced it and went to Lough Derg to race my eyes out!!
Luckily, after my first 'hanging on for dear life' stage things began to open up and I felt fresher, and faster. I only manages 4th place in the first stage behind the English, Dutch and excellent Irish rider Niall Davis.
In the second stage, I hung on more to the leaders and felt better, but not 100% I claimed 3rd place here. It was a great stage, as it encompassed a huge climb followed by a dusty and insanely long downhill shred!!!!
The 3rd and 4th stage went much better, l suffered less but definitely felt quicker, Us first three riders broke away from the rest of the group almost from the start of the long climb.
We managed to stick together till the end and In the final km of the stage I jumped in to 2nd position near the final descent. This descent was a cunning idea but was just plain nuts. It was a 1/2km of a rough and rocky vertical chute towards the finish line with some mini jumps. We three soldiers went down this thing at 60.3kmph with a hair's distance between all three of our bikes. This was definitely dangerous but exhilarating!
The fourth stage went very nicely, This was a 30 minute sheer uphill MTB time trial with some super ninja techincal singletrack to finish it off. I was paired with Niall Davis and we shot off together, I mostly leaded us up the climb and decided to make a break for it towards the top of the climb, and into the extremely technical single trails. I rode smoothly over the countless roots and and managed to finsh in 1st place.
So overall, it was excellent, I was happy to feel better as the stages went on! 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st in that order left me in 3rd place overall!!
Check out my team mate, who finished 5th in the first stage behind me, he's getting fast!! http://andrasgercsenyi.blogspot.com/