3rd at first round of British xc Mountain bike Series after a 15 hour drive through snow bound Britain

Sherwood Pines was not as I remember it. Less white last time I visited. I had to really summon all my focus after a 2 day drive fest from Inverness to Nottingham to defend my title as British Series champion which saw us at one point waist deep in a snow drift heaving our van back onto the road!
Conditions on course were less treacherous. Just muddy, flat and fast. Standard Sherwood. With 30 elite women on the start line it was a great turn out and shows the commitment / stupidity of all us competitors!
From the gun Olympian Annie Last, road racer Hannah Barnes, a visiting South African rider and I made a lead group of 4. The first 3 gapped me on the first lap and this gap remained throughout the race. I overtook Annie (who is suffering from a back injury) at the end of the 2nd lap but after a stop in the pits for a flat I could not bridge the gap that the other 2 had set on that first lap. This pattern is pretty established for me at Sherwood. One day I must try and brake the cycle. After an re inflation in the pits and a High Five gel (caffeinated, very important) I settled in to ride a fast final last lap and finish a solid 3rd with a clear gap to the next rider. Gordon the Cannondale Flash did me proud today helping me stay afloat in the mud and the snow. I think it’s love.

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It’s hard to tell cos I’m so well camouflaged but that’s me on top of the podium after my first mtb win of 2013

But it was hard work. My body is taking its time to remember that this is what we do. Race bikes. Almost every weekend until September. Hope it remembers soon. I don’t want to feel like that again for many more races. The Forfar SXC round was brutal. Sub zero, wind, rain, sharp climbs, mud, soul destroying grass slogs and all this on a bald Shwalbe Racing Ralph because I set my turbo up wrong in the warm up and tore all its brand new nobbles off. Idiot. Still. It’s done. I won. I have 1hr 30mins of racing in my legs and lungs. I am reminded of this when I depress the clutch of my van or try to laugh. Feels good. What a weirdo.

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