A LUNG-BUSTING ride from Southdown Bikes cyclist Steve Calland saw him recover from a nasty crash to plough back through the field and take an excellent sixth place in what was his first national event.
Held at Nottingham, the opening round of the veteran Mountain Bike class saw Steve make the 220-mile trip from Storrington to line up in 47th from a field of 119 other riders.
In a frantic charge for the first corner there was a coming together after only 300 metres which saw half the field, including Steve, brought down in a mass of twisted bikes and bodies.
After checking both he and the bike were OK, Steve rejoined the race and began his charge through the field. From a position of about 80th after the crash, he quickly moved up to within the top 20 by the end of the first of four laps of the race.
Steady progress over the next 40 minutes saw him inside the top ten, and in the very last lap there was a frantic 150m sprint to the line with Steve just piping another rider to cross the finishing posts in sixth.
An exhausted steve said afterwards: “I thought my race was over when I was involved in the crash, but as soon as I realized that neither my bike nor I were damaged I just put all my efforts into salvaging something from the race, it’s a long way to travel to only last 30 seconds.”
Steve is already looking to the next race in April, to be run on the World Cup course in Dalby Forest, North Yorkshire.