MTB Reports – Winchester Southern XC Round 1 2019

By Ollie Rastall

Matterley Estate just outside Winchester was the location for the first in the Southern XC series. A potential quagmire was narrowly avoided thanks to a late start time of 1430, giving the course some time to dry out. Morning starters had a tough time of it apparently.

Choice of tyres might have been key but I didn’t feel too compelled to switch them so just made do with my Ardent Race/Ardent combo and whilst I slipped a fair bit, I don’t think that could’ve been avoided.

A pretty small but strong Expert category made for a fast start and I was jockeying between 2nd and 3rd for a lap or two then dropped a bottle and lost the wheels of the mini bunch.

The mud was very tacky at times and was quite a grind. At times, you’d be pushing huge watts yet not really moving. High winds swept through the course but somehow we never seemed to be affected.

Sticky mud added to the significant lack of flow round this course.

The course was well designed yet lacking a bit of thrill. Slow speed switchbacks demanded good bike handling skills with particular attention to keeping the outside foot weighted on slippy off-camber roots and putting the power down at the right time.

A steep climbing section of rooty switchbacks followed by a slow grassy uphill slog helped split the field at times, and on the latter laps this is where I felt my power lacking.

Over 5 laps my spread was 5.6%, which shows some consistency, but I definitely felt like I wasn’t able to offer any bursts of repeatable power. Back to the training plans!

All in all, it was a half-decent result (6th) for an early-ish race on the calendar but plenty of work to be done.

Full race results

Getting round this chap was short lived. He came 3rd in the end.