So here it was the first round of the British MTB series had arrived! It seemed not long ago that the season was over.
I was feeling great for the race; I had a good solid winter season under my belt and was fitter then I ever have been. The previous 2 weeks before I came down with a cold, had a bulk load of Uni work to deal with and a teaching course…. so my stress levels were through the roof!! I relaxed as much as I could prior to the weekend so I could focus on my goals for the race.
Arriving at Sherwood early afternoon I came in to contact with my new bike; Bella the Bianchi was my rocket fuel for the season. When I first seen it hanging up I was like ‘Wow, who’s is that bike?’ and when I finally realised it was mine I was stoked! I was able to get in a couple of laps and thought the bike rode great; it’s so light and reacted so quickly it rode nice and smoothly along the single track.
WXC World Racing had a Team meeting before we all headed off to prepare ourselves for the next day. It was kind of weird being back and going through the routine again I had to keep reminding myself that “I was actually here” and I was going to be racing tomorrow morning! The evening was spent filling bottles and setting out kit to whip on in the morning.
6.30am and I was eating my porridge (half a sleep). Although it was early the sun was shining so I was happy. Arriving at the Team base in plenty of time, preparations for the race were made and I was ready to start my warm up- this time on rollers. I had always used a turbo trainer but it seemed an easier option to use the rollers and I could still have the feel of the bike.
On the start line my heart was beating pretty rapidly. I was so nervous but excited at the same time. I had a bit of a weird start to be honest, I couldn’t clip my foot in which delayed me but then finally I was in and out of the saddle playing catch up a bit. Hitting the first part of single track I was in 4th position which I was happy with. However after this the race just seemed quite a blur and I came in 12th. My mental side of me let me down; I didn’t fight to stay on anyone’s wheel, I just rode round whilst riders carried on passing me. By the final lap it was too late for me to try and catch up, but I knew a fellow South West Rider was gaining on me so I hit it for as hard and as long as I could which seemed to work.
I was disappointed in myself but you never know with the first race where you’re at until your racing. I could go through so many things that I thought about the race, however its done now and I can’t change anything, I just have to focus on what’s next and just keep working hard. I was pleased that one WXC rider was on the podium, so well done to Joanne in her first season as an Elite.
Next stop is South West Summer Series in Redruth, Cornwall and then I’ll be hitting it big in Houffalize for my first World Cup of the season.
Thanks to WXC World Racing for great support and sponsors for providing us with some awesome kit….
Report by Carla Haines U23 British National Champion