|3rd in the individual and 2nd team!|
On a preride I was very pleased to see they'd removed the killer grassy grind up from the start, inserting an even steeper singletrack one. I'm not joking, this was much more fun! The course was also dry! YES! No hike a bike this time :-).
The start of each lap had a section of field to hammer it across, then you hit a rutted track before you entered the forest. Straight into the singletrack and up a steep hill (with one 'unridable' for me section) then the rest was a whole lot of swooping fun. They'd also kept my favourite bit of the course in, an excellent bit of downhill with a good speedy burm followed by a steep drop/jump.
So I set off with my new race tactic for this year, race at the front until you can't anymore! Well...that was approximately 100m, thanks Helen Clayton for that steaming pace off the line!
|Andy chasing me down!|
My lungs were burning entereing the forest, this is the first properly fast effort I've put in since being prescribed drugs that seem to work for my asthma. Turns out they do work, I didn't actually have to stop, but it did take 1.5laps (30mins) for my lungs to warm up properly...hmmm think I might need to change my warm up in future if I'm going to race for less than 5hours...
|Trying to put as many guys between me and 4th|
The first lap was spent changing position, 4th - 5th - 4th. The first 3 disappeared after I almost lost it on some roots. I pulled away from 5th but I really didn't think I stood a chance of catching them again. Then we hit the finish/start field and there was 3rd! I caught her half way through lap 2, just as my lungs started operating properly but just as we went from open field to singletrack. I decided to stick on her wheel for a bit.
|Too fast for the camera. My favourite bit of the race, downhill!|
It was such a fun race, the route was much better than last year through just a few tweeks, less soggy grass sections, some logs in the uncrossable wheel eating trench....
I managed to stay ahead, finishing 3rd and getting that elusive individual medal! As a bonus, Becky Bright had an ace ride to finish 8th, meaning we won silver in the team competition as well! The guys team had a good day at the office getting the silver medal in the team competition. So I had to squeeze a quick celebratory drink in before heading off to a great evening of dancing at my friends wedding!