Tuesday, March 29, 2011

British NPS Round 1, Sherwood Pines Forest, UK

I'm yet to find a person that loves this course. It's flat and consists of fireroad and twisty windy singletrack of the type that requires narrow handlebars, great bike handling skills and constant pedaling to be fast.

The tension before the women's Elite race is almost touchable.

I didn't have a great start, but was able to slip into the singletrack in perfect position behind Swede Lene Byberg, British National Champ Annie Last and Lily Matthews and was followed closely by Maddie Horton. Unfortunately I kept loosing Lily's wheel and had to chase back on each time, tiring myself out. Eventually I had to let them go and was then working with Maddie Horton. On the 2nd lap I made the big mistake of letting Maddie into the singletrack first and let her open a gap to me. For some reason my alarm bells didn't go off and I wasn't overly concerned. Ah sure, I've got another 3.5 laps to go, I'll catch her again.... And so I got into a bit of a lull - I was riding the course, but I wasn't racing it! I finally got a bit of a wake up call at the end of lap 3 (out of 5) when I saw Jessie Roberts closing in behind me. I pushed hard again to try make up the time I lost to Maddie. I could see her each time on the long straight fireroad on the last 2 laps but she was too far gone for me to catch her again. Lene Byberg won the race just a head of Annie Last who she rode with for 3 laps before attacking and opening a small gap. Lily had been dropped after about a lap and a half and was in no(wo)mansland for the rest of the race, followed by Maddie a minute behind and me another minute behind. If we had just all stayed together and worked together!

5th in a UCI 1 race looks good enough on paper and good on the check, but not if you believe that 3rd place was a realistic possibility if you had just had been prepared mentally as well as physically. Shows you it's not just the legs needed for winning. But hey, the next race is just around the corner (and most likely on my new bike, yay!).

I also found a cool little video of the women's race:

British Mountain Bike Series 2011, Round 1 Sherwood Pines from richard on Vimeo.

Thanks to Angela Oakley for flawless feed zone support.

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