After this came an open fire road and then more climbing! After the second climb came my favourite section a fast descent through the trees with some technical roots and steep off camber sections. The next part included obstacles such as a stream crossing, log jump and a little more climbing!
I felt happy with the course and went and chilled out with Vanessa from Arrow Cycles.
Race day came quickly and I was soon being called into gridding in between Mel and Vanessa on the back row. I got a good start as the riders in front piled into the tight grassy bend I followed Vanessa on the outside, thanks Nessie! I pushed hard on my first climb but as always found this first explosive start left me with a bit of an energy debt which I needed to pay back and climbing this monster hill was not helping me do so!
?The singletrack came as a relief and I worked hard to catch the rest of my category with a few riders in sight I kept pushing on, my first two laps seemed to go in a daze, I worked hard to catch and pass Emma and new I needed to get enough distance between us on the climbs as she was fast coming downhill. On the third lap in the final section a girl in the expert category crashed badly in front of me and after moving her bike out of the trail and looking at her knee I decided I had to help her to a Marshall, a few riders including Emma passed me and said they would go get help, thanks to those who did! Heulwen who had crashed and I made our way gingerly down the trail using my bike to support us both until a Marshall came running towards us, I left Heulwen and got back on a little cold but glad she was now in good hands and could get some proper first aid. I carried on but new my next lap would be hard as I felt like my body needed to warm up again!
Overall there were lots of positives from my race, my climbing improved as I went on, where I sometimes find steep off camber turns hard and enjoyed the challenge and felt faster in technical areas.
Also my nutrition was a lot better than usual I managed to eat more pre and post-race and benefitted from this.
Thank you Emma for talking to the marshalls and exchanging places!
Lap 1: 00:25:56
Lap 2: 00:24:43
Lap 3: 00:26:32
Lap 4: 00:26:28
Words – Hannah Attenburrow