Race report: 2nd to the Belgian National Champ at final round of @BCXCSeries, Hadleigh. Mel Alexander 3rd

I left my home in Inverness for the British National Championships in Glasgow on 18th of July and I’m STILL not home yet! It’s been a busy but productive few weeks. Winning the National Champs in my birth town, followed by a drive to London then a flight to Barcelona and a World Cup at altitude in Andorra where I scraped a 36th place. After that a pack down and cycle tour from Andorra to the middle of France before the most exhausting week of all involving 4 nieces and nephews under 7. And finally, a couple of French train rides and 2 capital cities later and I race at Hadleigh to retain my 2012 title as National Series winner. Go me!
The race on the Olympic course would have been a tonne of fun had it not been for the rasping in my lungs and the swollen shut eye from a bee sting the night before (anyone seen elephant man?) The 6 lap race was hard. It was a case of battling to find some flow so I could recover on the descents sufficiently to get up the steep climbs. A couple of times I managed to find a rhythm but in doing so found I was falling off the pace of Gita, the Belgian National Champion who took the race by the scruff of the neck. I felt I didn’t have much fight in me so concentrated on riding a steady race and tried to focus as much as possible but by the end of the race I was over 2 mins down. Happy enough with 2nd place to a world class competitor, I finished on a high. And was promptly shot down. The UCI wanted to fine me for not wearing my National Champs jersey (which is somewhere in a dirty, torn ball in Andorra landfill). The energy I had left, which wasn’t much, went into grovelling so the hour spent in dope control after that was just tortuous and I still had to drive to Scotland alone. I forgot momentarily why I raced at all. I’m ok now you’ll be glad to hear.
The season so far had been a good one. When I pause to reflect, I am delighted in fact. British national champion, British series winner, 2 top 40 World Cup results and still the Scottish champs and Norway World Cup to go. Feels about time for the fat lady to sing though…