We arrived at the event Saturday morning, with Belgian rider Tom Eelen, who I managed to get a last minute entry for. An easy spin around the course, we managed to get a little lost at the beginning, but was enough to get our legs warmed up ready for the race.
Being a 6hour event and preparing for Marathon Champs, I wanted to get my fuelling right during the race. I had a table set up with spare bottles, bars and gels for when I needed it. For me, I was aiming at 60g of Carbs per hour. It was also a very warm day so I was drinking a lot of fluids to keep hydrated.
I had an average start, not too fast but not dead slow, it was enough to not burn out too quickly. The first lap is always tricky, getting into a settled pace and overtake riders but once everyone spreads out I sussed out my strengths and weaknesses on the course to focus on.
From the second lap Tom had waited up for me, so it was good to have someone to ride with and push me.
I massively cramped on lap 8 which knocked me back on time. I needed to get myself together mentally but keep riding and hydrating to keep my legs going. As I came into the arena I just about had enough time to smash out a final lap. This is really where I had to push myself to grab some time back from my previous lap. Lucky for me, having Tom to keep up with really helped. I was following his lines all through the single track and forced myself to stay with him up the climbs.
As we were descending down the last single track section, I had 12seconds to get to the finish. I sprinted through the field as they were counting down the last 5 seconds. Unfortunately, I missed my lap being counted by 4 seconds! I was absolutely shattered at the finish; my body was aching everywhere, but I knew I had pushed myself feeling like that. 2nd position was a great result for me so I was really happy.
I absolutely loved the event; the course flowed with enough single track to match the amount of climbing. The atmosphere was so chilled and with the sun shining it made it a pleasant day!
Thanks to all the guys behind the scenes to put the event on and to the marshals who were so encouraging and full of beans on every lap.
And finally to Luke and Tom for being drivers and trackers, much appreciated.
Photo Credit: Kevin Sheldrake