The SXC kicked off at Kirroughtree for the second year running. Given my poor result at Kirroughtree last year, I wasn’t expecting anything great from it this year, especially as it was to be my first race of the season. The course had been greatly improved, with the long fire road sections broken up with challenging natural singletrack, and some of the fine rocky trails that were missed out on the last visit. There was even a few super steep loamy climbs to contend with, just my cup of tea.

The field was just as glittering as the year before, with Paul Oldham making the trip up for some early season action. At the start I knew Paul was right behind me, so I took it easy till he came past then jumped on his wheel. I couldn’t hold him for long, but got into the first singletrack in about fifth place. By the end of the first lap I was in sixth, and would remain so for the remainder of the race. I could see Giles Drake of MSC up ahead almost all the time, and closed within fifteen seconds of him going into the last lap, but was unable to catch him as little hydration meant I was suffering cramp pretty bad on the steep climbs. Luckily I had enough in the tank to hold off Alex Glasgow who had punctured earlier in the race.

I’m pretty chuffed with sixth place in the first race of the season, the preparation and training is definitely starting to pay off. Thanks to Steve and Linda at the Cairnholy Old Farmhouse for the fantastic accommodation for the weekend.