Kirroughtree was a new venue for the SXC, and given my previous racing experience on the trails, I was looking forward to it. The course was a mixture of some of the red-graded manmade trails, some natural sections, and a whole pile of forestry-road. There was little climbing or technical content, so it was never going to be my thing, but it still made for good racing.
The field in Expert/Elite was pretty top-notch, with Paul Oldham making the trip north to give us all a kicking. I got a pretty good start, and was settling in nicely. On a short rooty climb my chain dropped over the back of the cassette, despite not having done this on a ride a few days earlier. I pulled the chain back onto the cassette, and ran up the rest of the climb. While remounting I ripped the scab from my knee on the gear lever, which required me to stand at the side of the trail and think for a few moments. Jack (Richards) told me to get back on the bike, so I did.
On the second lap the chain dropped again, losing me more time. After this I used the granny ring on the same climb so I could stay in the middle of the cassette. I did go slightly wild chasing people back after these two bad laps, a bad idea in hindsight as I suffered for it in my last lap, losing about 2 minutes compared to my previous lap times. The last two laps were contended with a deflating front tyre, control under braking was almost non-existent on the last lap.
I finished 13th, not what I expected given my performances in previous weeks. Hopefully the next SXC round at Aberfoyle will go better for me.