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Maldon rider Russ Welch has been campaigning at regional and national level on his MTB. After a near 20 year break from the sport (with a few odd races in between) he made the decision early in 2013 to build back up to race pace for his first race as a vet in 2014, in doing so he took a third place in the region at Masters (30-39) on the way. 

 

First race In an MTB for 2014 was round 1 of the Eastern Region Series at Rendalsham forest where he struggled with a tight and twisty single track course,  with no passing places getting through back markers from the other cats and with only road training over the winter came in a disappointing 7th.

Move on two weeks and it was round 1 of the National Points Series at Codham park near Braintree on a more open course and in a race of there own a field of 70 of the countries top Vets assembled. Passing back markers no longer a problem and able to open up his legs Russ climbed through the field from his grid at 33 to finish an elated 17th. Analysing his race he noticed that he was quicker on the flat and hills but falling behind on the downhill sections. Running a fully rigid bike was now holding him back at race pace.

Frantic calls made to his sponsor Fluid Cycles secured him a set of x fusion suspension forks which were hastily added to his bike for:

Round 2 of the regionals at Carver Barracks near Thaxted this weekend. With little shake down time completed on the new forks he lined up with nearly 60 vets for the technical but mainly flat course built very well by Walden Velo. Down to 8th after the gun struggling for grip on the gravel grid and then straight into the back markers for the sports field wasn't the start he had hoped for. Settling in and being a bit more assertive with the back markers his third lap proved to be his quickest and using the slower riders like a ladder he climbed through the field to regain ground lost on the front vets. Not realising that he had actually climbed into third place in cat in doing so. Remaining in this position comfortably began to push towards second place Chris Hunter but every lift in pace was a matched by a watching Chris some 40 seconds up and the gap just would not come down. Finally finishing 3rd 2mins 30 down on the leader Nick Ainsworth of Aero Cycles.