10 Things I Think About The National Novice XC
1. Pride Comes Before a Fall
I think I thought it was all over on Monday in Lisbon. I took a tumble on a trail in the parque. I shredded my knee and took a gouge out of my hand releasing lots of blood. I think my phone saved my collarbone because I threw it away to protect it instead of using my hand to break my fall. I bled lots and screamed lots about the Novice being gone. Then John Meade took an excellent colourful photo with my uninjured phone and I was happy again.
I think we were all wrong when we assumed that today would be an unmerciful mudbath. I was really looking forward to it. We were all wrong, very wrong, somehow the course was soft but firm, sort of like a Twix bar, soft on the top but with a firm base.
I think all races should start at 3pm, it’s perfect, you can have a big sleep and a nice breakfast before the race. I like big sleeps and breakfasts. I dispensed with the tower of power and had purple porridge with pomegranate seeds. Lots of digestion time.
4. Portaloo Gameshow
I think someone should make a gameshow where people try to find a non decommissioned portaloo which also has toilet paper. It’s very hard to find the golden portaloo, I think I opened 6 doors think before I found the golden one, the one closest to the coffee stall. It even had a second roll of toilet paper. Portaloos are awful, a portaloo gameshow would be fantastic.
5. Tim Crowley
I think Tim Crowley needs to moderate his handshake. It’s bad enough if you have a fully intact hand but when there’s a piece of your hand missing and he presses right into the wound it really really hurts. Con the Bus driver did it too so I stopped shaking peoples hands and defaulted to fist bumping. Fist bumping doesn’t hurt and it looks cool.
6. Perfect Course
I think that was nearly the perfect course for me. I would make one minor change, I would start it at the top of the hill. I loved the twists and turns, the hills were fantastic, a proper course, it even had lovely bushes for sheltering in and peeing in before the race. Really perfect, just start on the downhill, please.
7. Too Far Back
I think I didn’t get out fast enough, it wasn’t because I didn’t try, I always try, it’s just that I can’t run up hill from a standing start very fast. Think of the physics, heavy lumbering object plus standing uphill start equals no chance, once I got to the top of the hill I took off but I was well well back at least 100th. It did make it kind of fun pushing and pinching through gaps.
8. Assisted Falling
I think I have a sixth sense for people falling, I’m very good at staying on my feet, I rarely fall and I never fell off my bike. I think it’s all those years of being a goalkeeper, it gave me excellent feet and excellent reactions. One guy fell right in front of me at the bottom of hill at the tight sweeping corner. He was very big like me, when I saw him begin to fall everything slowed down, I calmly put my hands on him and assisted him to the ground gently while I continued on. Obviously he was never a goalkeeper.
9. Down The Hill
I think I made up at least 60 places on the downhill sections, I’m very fast going downhill because I’m much more massive than the other runners. I was flying down that hill. If only it was all downhill. The finish was uphill like the start, that didn’t go so well, I lost at least 5 places, but sure 5 places would never matter now would it.
10. What If
I think it’s very easy to think “What If” after a race like that. What if Sean Doyle hadn’t fallen at the last corner, what if Conor hadn’t had a terrible disease for the last two weeks, what if the rest of our team like Nate and Brian hadn’t been mangled by injuries. All that matters is that Togher won gold and we got bronze. I think I should have stayed with Togher...perhaps, or else just not lost those five places in the home straight. I’d have loved a gold medal, ah well at least I can still run the Novice again, I really love that race.