First XC race in a long while. Also a long drive away in Cirencester - but it's a new area to me and had some nice views.
Not taking it too seriously as not fit and still feeling Wednesday's Kymin reps. Decided how hard to after the start, and main concern was enjoyment over consistent splits or whatever.
Found a depression in the ground near the start and fortunate that I've learned to place my feet flat when I can't see what they will land on as could have been nasty. Then found on the first descent that I was much faster than literally everyone in front of me but was boxed in and nothing I could do until 2/3 down. Also boxed in coming back up but limiting factor here was actually the ground surface as more rock than mud and causing spike issues.
Another down, then up, then steep wide down where I did the unbelievable and took my own line far to the right and overtook a lot of people and gained on more, going into a long flat boggy section that was quite energy sapping. Gradual climb for 2k on single track completed the lap.
Second lap more of the same, but less boxed on. Took a new line through the bog - going right rather than left. It was wet, but not so churned up by the previous races, and slightly shorter, so gained some ground. The steep down got progressively worse each lap as all the idiots were sliding on it and taking the firm ground with them. Still managed to run down it at least but not the level of gains as with lap one.
The ups felt harder each time - particularly the second one in the field where I reverted to plod pace. The long last one though held my own as was probably gaining ground even still on lap 3. Not a lot left for a fast finish but did enough to hold my place.
Enjoyable. Felt hard after lap 1, would have been happy it was over after 2, but still going ok (if a lot slower) on 3 - but pushed myself harder and for longer than I usually do. Long back at the car and nearly changed when the downpour came at the end.https://www.strava.com/activities/6187704026/overv...
Seemed to adjust back into very flat minimal shoes and spikes very easily. Wasn't even that hard getting them on.