Monday, 20 May 2013

Thank you!

This year has been a massive progression for me. About six months ago I was way too afraid to enter a National XC race, and wouldn't have thought of being South West Senior Champion and at the moment number one in the British Cycling National Rankings. I could never have got this far without Maddie and Jay Horton from Fully Sussed. They have trained me up, written my monthly training programmes and supported me at every race and throughout all the weekly training sessions and training weekends. Gary Andrews from Certini has also given up numerous hours to take us out training. These people are what make the youth of today have a future in sports like these. I don't know how far I can go with mountain biking, but I do know, that with all this support, I have enjoyed every minute of it and have got further than I realised I could and want to keep doing this forever... I'm officially addicted! The Mavericks South West Squad was set up by Maddie and Jay and they have become my mountain bike family. At every race it has now become really sociable, we all cheer each other on, pre-ride the course together and generally just hang out. I love you guys and everyone else at the races who has been welcoming and fun to be with.

2013 Junior National Ranking number One at the moment!

South West Senior Champion 2013

Juice Lubes Jam and The Juice Lubes South West Champs 2013

Newnham Park, Plymouth, Saturday 11th May - Sunday 12th May 2013.

This report is a week late because I have had my A level exams and as I keep saying to people - I have to find the balance to fit everything in! So finally, here is my report from the Juice Lubes Jam and the South West Champs.

On Saturday 11th May, me and Finley made our way to Newnham Park. Being left to our own devices, we went on a practise lap around the course. Fin showed me how the bear pit was meant to be ridden and I sheepishly attempted the top bit before opting for the B line. I think I'll wait until it's bone dry before doing the Rooty bank down, as I have done it before, but in dry conditions.

Fin and I entered the mixed pairs category for the 3 hour enduro. With little persuasion, Fin did the first lap meaning that he ended up doing four laps and I did three. I was so proud of him when he came around in second place overall after his first lap! And together we won our category, beating 5 other pairs. I was so impressed by Patsy and Evie from our Mavericks team who came second - these are two 13 year old girls beating adult men! Just go to shows how speedy they are.

Later that day we had the hotlaps as part of the Juice Lubes South West Champs. This was really fun as you could try as many times as you wanted. So I was going around and around in circles trying to knock off just a couple of seconds! Dexter Hurlock led this by a flying 58 seconds, I cannot get my head around how quick that is! And to follow this, Kris Caines, from our squad got 59 seconds. Well done! I won the women's hot laps with 1 minute 21 seconds. All the other girls and women following closely behind me.

On Sunday, we had the Juice Lubes South West Champs race. Feeling pretty worn out from Saturdays enduro and hotlaps, plus, last Thursdays circuit session with Maddie and Jay. I was shocked to still make it off the start line first woman. Although I was the only Junior woman, I was determined to get Senior South West Champion, which after a competitive race I did get. Kim Long also got the Veteran South West Crown and Dexter Hurlock got the Male Senior South West crown. Congratulations guys!

Like all the races at Newnam, it included lots of rooty and muddy slides, with some STEEP but short climbs and most enjoyable of all the single tracks and the well known bear pit! It was definitely a course not to be missed.
As usual, thank you so much to Maddie and Jay from Fully Sussed who made this weekend happen. Also, to everyone else who came along to help and support.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Filthy Foxes Dirty Weekend

Newnham Park, Plymouth, Saturday 4th May - Sunday 5th May 2013.

This weekend held the first ever Filthy Foxes Dirty Weekend at Newnham Park, with all women!

With roughly 50 women at the event, it was a huge success. Maddie and Jay from Fully Sussed lead the two day event including running and mountain biking.

Unfortunately I missed Saturday morning because of my club ride, but I heard from the women that took part, that the morning was full of useful skills and lead rides, plus some bike maintenance sessions. To start with the weather wasn't on their side which didn't sound so good, but then it decided to appear when I arrived (I obviously bought it with me). It left me with some lovely bright pink tan lines and I noticed Kim even had a sneaky sun bath on her deck chair... well deserved after the busy weekend.

Fay, Donna and Fiona on the podium
Me and my mum, Penny, arrived just in time for the 5km run. It was my first ever running race (excluding year 6 sports days) and I've only really run before if my bike gets a puncture, so this was an unusual experience for me. Having shot off from the start line, I thought it wasn't too bad... but after about a metre I almost died and realised that I had to pace myself if I wanted to get round - I forgot that I wouldn't get a rest going downhill (unlike cycling). Once, I got into it I found I could run down the hill shouting "weeeeeee" and started hopping over all the obstacles and branches like a mad woman. Fay Cripps and other super speedy runners came past me looking like they were just floating over everything. Luckily, Sabine Lengger let me follow her tail up the hill, which meant I didn't do badly in the end and was very happy with my result. Also, my mum said she was going to walk the whole course, so I was waiting at the finish line expecting her to come speed walking in, and in she came running faster than ever, having a sprint finish with Rebecca Crosley! Well done mummy and Rebecca!

Later that evening was the question and answer session, with me, Kim and Joe.  Everyone was really friendly, listening and contributing to our answers and it was really nice to share my opinions with everyone. Plus, Joe was very inspiring with the talk about her running across the desert with rations of water! Truly an incredible athlete to talk to! I felt very privileged to sit on the hot seat in between her and Kim.

Queen of the hill podium
Sunday started off with the "Queen of The Hill" - a competition where cyclists versed runners up the steep gravel hill. One by one, the cyclists set off to next to the runners and tried to get the fastest time. This was a really funny event to watch and take part in - although it saddens me to say that eventually the runners took the title for winning the most sprints. But I got the fastest time up the hill and got to go on the podium, winning a bottle of bubbly and some lovely goodies - thank you Maddie and Jay!

After just about recovering from that, we then had the 25km Bike Challenge. The course included nice flowing tracks, a refreshing river crossing, before a challenging up hill and some fun single track down. This was a really fun and flowing ride, where people were determined to complete anything from 5km to 25km. Although not a race, I do get a bit competitive and wanted to grab the fastest time, with Fay and Donna right on my tail. Others also grabbed great times and distances - Katie Standen really impressed me in the cycling challenge with her determination to complete 25km! It was really nice how polite and friendly everyone was, people edging each other on. Plus, lots of smiling and giggling!

I want to say a massive thank you to Maddie and Jay who made this event happen. Also, for the volunteers, marshals and sponsors that helped. It was SOOOOO much fun!!!!!

 Many thanks to Rob Smith and Zach Winsley for your photos.

For more results and photos from the event click here.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

My first ever MTB XC nationals in two years! Round 2 at Wheelmaid.

My actual first MTB nationals was in 2011 when I just started racing, however, I had no training or experience then and just went along for fun. But this time I have been training for almost a 6 months now with Maddie and Jay and so even they said "The pressure was on". Personally, I thought I was going to be thrashed so it was a really nice surprise when I then came out with 4th place, I felt it proved my training had been paying off. I think the rest of the team were chuffed with their results too and I believe they all should be because they did great. Patsy even grabbed a 3rd place on the podium - AMAZING.

Travelling up on Saturday morning, we started off the day by marshalling for the U12's race. It was great fun watching them have their turn, taking on the berms and getting competitive. Although they may be small, some of them can fly.

My family and The South West Squad then spent the day working out the best lines around the course and attempting to ride the technical bits. After not riding "Down To Brown" in the regional race at Wheelmaid, I was happy I managed to pluck up the courage do it at the Nationals - finally.

Wheelmaid was a lovely race course organised and set up by Maddie and Jay from Fully Sussed. It is a great place to ride with a mixture of technical downs and ups, but also more gentle routes if you fancy. The race course was one of the most technical ones I've ridden, including things like "Down to Brown" (A very steep drop with a toxic pond at the bottom), "The Wall" (A berm that nearly everyone slid down the side of at least once), and "The Leveller" (another lovely techy drop). These were all very exciting, and made the course a great challenge for everyone.

In general, it was a really lovely weekend with everyone and with every bit of serious competition came some laughs. Thank you to the organisers, Marshalls and helpers for making the weekend happen!