Today my thoughts turn to the Colne Valley Mountain Bike Challenge, my next entered race. I got my map and number through the post today, number 61, and the route appears to be unchanged. This is a fast route :)
Last year I recce'ed this one, which was a great move. Subsequently, it turned out that they didn't want the exact route publicising because some little parts of it are across private land by arrangement for the day only. However, I can post my recce route, because that was all legal, at least, according to the map!
This is one race for this year that I've identified as 'A' priority, i.e. I want to do as best I can on it. Last year I finished 58th out of 345 riders, my fourth best finish last year in terms of percentage of the field - 16.8%. Last year showed me that I'm much better on the less technical courses, which probably reflects my natural endurance/fitness compared to other people. Also, many people turn up on heavy full-suss downhill bikes, which are great on technical descents but rubbish on xc type ground, which is what these races mostly consist of.
This year I have my new bike as well - this will be the first race on it - so there is that extra pressure to make it count. I did the actual 30-mile course in 2h51m last year and the winning time was 2h11m. So I am hoping to knock a significant chunk out of that difference this year. I'm not sure whether to go and recce it again - it might be a good idea. It certainly helps. I suppose if I do it'll have to be this coming weekend.... well, we'll see.