The weather had been pretty damp for the few days prior to the race so we knew it was going to be a bit muddy but when we pre-rode in the morning it was way more slippy than I was expecting. Now I do like sliding around on muddy courses but quite a few sections of this course were unrideable entirely. Time to get the running legs/sliding ass ready.
On the (very loud) gun I missed my pedal and was a bit slow getting going. I had to move up and past Emma Bradley (Cotic/AQR Holidays) and then up to Natasha Barry's (WXC World Racing) wheel. Through the first section of slippy single track we moved pretty tentatively and then Natasha slid out on the roots around the base of a tree and I was able to pass. I shouted out to see if she was ok. Hearing she was I pushed on.
|Ready to race!|
For the rest of the race I simply tried to stay on my bike. This was not actually that easy since most of the course was clay based and very slippy. There were two sections where it was simply quicker and easier to run and another grassy bit which became increasingly hard work as people went wider and wider to try and get a dry line. Chris told me I had a good gap as I went through onto my third lap so I just kept plugging away as best I could.
I eventually crossed the line in 2 hours and 18 minutes - the whole thing was rather reminiscent of some of the Scottish races I did last year both in conditions and in length.
Work on the victory salute required!
After a bit of food from the very tasty concession I then had the pleasure of watching Tim Dunford (Cannondale) and Chris ride to storming results in the Elite (2nd place for Tim) and Expert (10th for Chris respectively). Clearly multiple 6 hour rides in France last week was good for both of them. It was also lovely to catch up with Eric Lejeune an ex colleague from my days at BC and have a good old gossip.