A lovely sunny start to the day in Hampshire turned into a rainy morning in Kent after a 2 hour journey to the first round of the Bedgebury Forest Cycling Club MTB XC series at Bedgebury Pinetum.
After a very early start to make sure we were there for registration at 09:30 sharp, Oliver put in a few practice laps of the course which consisted of two sections of singletrack, one of which wound very tightly through dense pine trees with numerous roots lining the track. Two wider grass sections of the track would allow for decent overtaking opportunities.
Oliver lined up in the second race of the day at about 10:15 with the rest of the Under 10s (school years 4 and 5) and manged to get onto the second row of the grid.
The start of the race was a dash to a hairpin and into the start of the first singletrack section. Coming into the second section of singletrack three riders abreast resulted in a nasty pile up – luckily all riders involved picked themselves up and carried on with the race relatively unscathed. Oliver managed to avoid the crash but did get held up allowing the leading group of 5 or 6 to build up a gap.
After 10 minutes of frantic racing the bell signified the final lap of the race and Oliver pushed hard one final time to be rewarded with a brilliant 10th place finish out of 23 starters.
Bedgebury Forest Cycling Club put on an excellent race in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere and, despite the distance, I would highly recommend the series as a good introduction to racing for kids and adults alike.