This weekend I travelled to Wales for the third round of the British Cycling Cross Country Series. Arriving at the venue on Saturday it was clear there was going to be some good climbs ahead! I set off on my practise lap eager to get in a couple of practises, as the course turned out of the arena were it with the first climb the first section was a bit muddy this crossed a fire road where it then opened out and started to climb more steeply after the second bend my body was ready for some down! The next section was good fun singletrack weaving through the trees to an A/B line. I felt good so went for the A line it was steep and twisty but as long as you looked ahead and kept the bike moving it was manageable, I made a note to come back and practise.
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