Drumlanrig Castle - what a setting for a race!
We did our practice run on Friday, the course started with a sharp climb up a fireroad and through a feedzone, then pretty quickly you hit the first bit of tight singletrack. Most of the course was actually singletrack, probably about 90%, very dry, but also very rooty and rocky, you really needed a full susser to get the enjoyment out of it. There was only very few fireroad sections interspersed in the about 7.5km long course with about 180m of climb per lap. There was one fun drop worth mentioning just at the finish area, great for the spectators. The course was 100% rideable and could be cleared without dabbing.
Due to my 2nd place in the first round I was gridded in the front row for the start – wohoo! I knew I had to push hard in the beginning up that fireroad climb to hit the singletrack before all the other girls. The plan was to hang on to Jenny Copnall as long as I could from the start on.
Yeah, great plan, should have worked too, had I not messed up my start.... I stupidly decided to grab my bottle just before the start as I had a dry mouth (ah – the nerves) and wasn't ready when the whistle went off. Until I had it stowed away again half of the girls where ahead of me up that climb. ARGH!!! I got stuck behind some slower girls and the gap to the front girls started to widen immediately. I was able to catch up with some of the girls though during the race and there was a good bit of jostling for places, I never knew which position I was in, I overtook some girls and was overtaken by some others.
The race itself was pretty exhausting, made even harder because it was so hot and the air so stuffy and humid – I was looking forward to my next bottle at the end of every lap – big thanks to Rachel to do the bottles for me! The steep climbs became harder and harder as the laps went on and I was happy we only had to do 4 laps. I was pretty disappointed with my race, never felt I got into any kind of rhythm and just couldn't catch the two girls who were just in front of me for some of the race. I was pretty pleased then to find out that I actually had managed to work my way up to 5th position after all, earning 10 UCI points – my first UCI points ever!
I felt pretty crap after the race and had no idea how I would do the 100km marathon the next day....
There were a few more Irish people at the race taking home a good few trophies:
Rachel Wisdom came third in the ladies Sports race, Robin Seymour took 3rd in the men's Elite. Ryan had an unfortunate crash damaging his rotor so that he had to race most of the race with breaks rubbing but still placing 19th. Peter Buggle came 2nd in the Masters category after he was stolen out of his win by Ian Nimo who overtook him on the last few meters before the finish line after Buggle had led through most of the race.