AMS rider Rich Payne was competing at the British Cycling XC Series. Here's his report.
Enjoy lycra ;-)
"So the weekend of the 2nd and 3rd of April saw my first proper foray into the world of xc racing with round one of the British National cross country series at Pembrey country park south Wales. The weekend before id jet raced round one of the British Enduro Series which rained all weekend so i was at least hoping for slightly better weather this weekend. Upon arrival you could instantly see that things were well organised and about legit as bike racing gets not to mention this largest congregation of lycra clad bodies id ever seen so with the camper van parked up and the heater on me and the mrs set off to do a little course walk and see how things went down at n xc race.
Now like I said this was my first big xc race and i'd be racing in expert so I knew it was going to be tough but after walking the track it was a little boring and tame even with A and B lines. Later on in the afternoon I put in a couple steady practice laps and my suspicions were correct it wasn't what i quite expected a national level race to be with the distinct lack of rough or overly technical sections it was going to be suited to a pedalling powerhouse more than an ex downhiller trying his hand at cross country so with the day was done it was off back to the van to get well rested, eat a tonne of carbs and have a good stretch then sleep.
Race day rolled round and with a gloomy start to the day rain clouds were lurking and before long the inevitable happened and the heavens opened turning a fairly dry tame course into a rutted slippery beast and with the expert race not until the afternoon it'd have plenty of time to get nice and wet.
Now because id never done any xc before i was seeded at the back of the pack for the start and with around 60 riders in category it was always going to be an uphill struggle, however i always thought of my starts as my trump card as they always seemed to be quite good then as the starting gun went off all hell broke loose and i found me a small gap to squeeze through and sprinted like a nutter instantly jumping me up almost 20 places which was sadly short lived as someone further up had collided with another rider and with know where o go i ploughed into the back of them instantly dropping me to the back of the field again.
From this point onwards it was kind of a race of trying to pull as many ropey super cross style 250 lcq passes and move up the field as much and as quickly as possible however lady luck was not on my side and with a crash on the second lap tearing out out one of the hoses on my suspension lock out lever locking out both shocks on my bike for the remaining 4 laps made it an uncomfortable race at best, trooping on though i came 27th overall on the day which al things considering i was pretty pleased with and learnt a massive amount going into round 2 at Plymouth in a few weeks time.
I'd just like to say a massive thanks to All Mountain Style, Remap Clothing, Cycle Centre Jersey, Caeserean Cycling Club, Hookit Products and 77 Designz for there continued support and most importantly my girlfriend for standing in the rain handing me drinks and gels as I shouted. Finally a massive well done to the rest of Team Jersey for all there efforts and rol on round 2"