As the first race of the year and my first race in the Elite Women’s category, the weeks leading up to this race were quite apprehensive. Although I was really looking forward to blowing the cobwebs away after a winter of training hard and I couldn’t wait to be riding my new Moda Solo race bike fast and taking in the atmosphere of a mountain bike race.
My legs were feeling good in the week leading up to the race, so I felt happy with my preparations prior to the event. I arrived at Sherwood after a 2.5hr drive on Saturday morning, a little later than planned due to delays with getting fuel before setting off. As soon as I arrived Mike was on the case with tweaking my bike so that it was race prepped and handed me a bag of kit to try on for size.
I then did two practice laps of the course all kitted out in the Moda-Bikemagic race team colours, which certainly got a few looks!
I was happy with the course, so all that was left was to cheer Erica on in the XCE eliminator race. Sadly not enough women entered to make having a separate women’s category viable, otherwise myself and Imogen would certainly have joined in the fun, perhaps next time…
Then we all headed off home to have food and a good night’s sleep ready for our race bright and early in the morning (with the clocks going forwards this made the morning feel even earlier when my alarm went off).
After warming up and a bit of pre-race panic before I knew it they were calling up the Elite women. I took my place on the start line and felt weirdly calm. Starting in a field of 23 women was a new experience for me and one I need to get used to, but I soon found my place and caught a few women by the end of the first lap.
The second, third and fourth laps went on without issue really, apart from a few un-lady like dismounts, I was in 18th place, just seconds behind Sally Gabriel in 17th, but every time I caught her she’d sprint off and I didn’t quite manage to catch her by the end of the race. We started to reign in 15th and 16th place also as they were in sight by the end of the race so its encouraging to know we weren’t that far behind.
Overall, a great race, not a great result but the experience was far more valuable. The bike and kit were perfect for the whole race; I’m completely converted to the comfort of my skin suit!!
I’m really looking forward to the next one…