Monday, 11 June 2012
It was far from a knock out ...
The third Fowlmead Summer (ironic) Sizzler (even more ironic) was held on Thursday 7th June – and I was there! Following my absolute ecstaticness having raced the previous round – it was my first race, since Willow – I have been determined to make racing part of my life, again.
However, my punchiness and fire that I found in the previous round was somewhat missing this time.
It all began that day ... Well, it actually began a lot earlier and it hasn’t stopped even though we’re now in June. I’m talking rain.
I’ve not always been a huge fan of riding in the wet; in my elite days, I had to do it to be fit. Now I am a mum, I have to do it because I have a babysitter and it’s my chance to ride! Racing in the rain has always dampened my mood.
I was determined to not let it get to me this time round – I stole Nick’s wheels so I had more appropriate tyres and better, blingy wheels (don’t tell him!) And, I fired myself up on caffeine. Sadly, my caffeine high was spent sitting out the effects of Operation Stack on the M20.
My journey to Fowlmead was a nightmare – I should have gone cross-country.
And, before I could even begin my journey, I struggled to get out the front door because I had a grizzly, teething toddler clinging to me. We had made the decision to keep her at home this time because it was so wet! The sad thing about this is that taking Willow to races has inadvertently enriched our relationships! But that's a whole other blog!
When I did arrive, I had 15 minutes to get changed, sort out my bike and warm up. Hah!
However, the course erased my day’s preoccupations. It was probably the best Fowlmead course I have ever ridden.
I’ve always been a bit of a mud-avoider and my memories of wet races are often clouded by the injuries they have instigated. But this wet, muddy and slippery race was different. I wasn’t as fired up to race as I was last time but I was ready to enjoy mountain-bike riding, this time. I say ‘riding’ deliberately because I wasn’t that energetic.
The course was made from components of the new ACTiV Trail, which I haven’t ridden before. It had tight turns on steep descents and rocky gardens and muddy, loose, shingly power climbs (where I was useless!) There was a gorgeously quick canal path, reminiscent of Hackney Marshes Beastway days and flowing singletrack through trees and shrubs. On a hot day, I think this could be one of my favourite types of course – though I still like to think I prefer to climb a bit more.
Of course, the course should be good – I know who would have also been behind its creation.
In fact, I’d quite like to see this course feature in a regional series ...
And, the course is a great all-weather course.
However, it did properly weather me! I would like to say I improved on last time’s efforts because I was 14th! However, my heart-rate and RPE levels tell me I’d be lying! The weather scared off a few people – you know who you are! So, my positioning was elevated.
I have two weeks until the next – let’s hope the weather and my mind are elevated this time!
On the topic of elevation, am I mad for considering racing the next Southern XC at Deepcut? I want to but not sure I know how to yet. We’ll see ...
(No chance! I have over 500 GCSE and A2 Level exam scripts to mark ...)