So, the day after the longest point to point race in the British Isles. What I really should do is spend the day sitting on the beach with nothing more than a BBQ and a bottle of something to distract me. Instead, I had entered the first round of the Manx Summer Series, possibly not the ideal recovery but it did look fun.
Fifty-odd riders (some odder than others) gathered at Archalaggan for the race, only a couple of whom were daft enough to be trying it the day after racing in the Manx 100. I know I had said that I wouldn’t be doing any more short XC races, but one wouldn’t hurt surely?
Actually, it did hurt, quite a lot. I had forgotten just how fast these short races are, it really was flat out all the way. I got a good start and was in second place as we charged up the fireroad, drafting behind Dave Holland. We braked and turned left into the first piece of singletrack, then stopped and performed a very quick about turn and rejoined the race track as we realised we had gone the wrong way. I was down to fifth.
Fourth and third were dispatched by the end of the first lap and I was back to third. I could see second in front of me, Ian Brookfield. He took a lot of catching, but I got him eventually on lap two. We spent pretty much the whole of the next five laps swapping places back and forth. We were joined briefly by Dave but he managed to destroy his tyre and so had to pull out. We could see the leader, Sam Quilleash, right in front of us, never more than about thirty yards away but we just couldn’t get any closer.
The course itself was pretty good, really tight and twisty through the trees, but with a couple of more open sections to get the speed up. A very short lap, only six or seven minutes, so quite spectator-friendly, and there were a surprising amount of them there to cheer us on.
I’m really not used to that kind of speed, I had forgotten just how hard short races can be, although the day before probably hadn’t helped!
It was a nice close finish at the front. I had finally managed to get away from Ian but not by much. In the end Sam won, with me in second and Ian third, the three of us separated by less than thirty seconds