Kirroughtree SXC Round 1 – Race Report by Lucy Grant
After my nightmare last weekend I wasn’t sure what to expect from myself this weekend. I was trying to stay chilled out and trying not to think about the race too much. I didn’t find this too hard though as Katy was driving us to the race!!! We were super excited about it! It was so cool and awesome going by ourselves. We did have a bit of difficulty navigating a few massive round abouts but apart from that the drive went well.
Once we arrived Katy and I went for a pre-ride of the course which was AMAZING! The course was the complete opposite from Sherwood as it had lots of steep rooty climbs and awesome super-fast descents!! I felt really excited about the race because I loved the course. But I still had no idea of what to expect.
We had discovered I had ‘arm-pump’ at Sherwood which is basically when there is a big build-up of lactic acid which is what gave me all the pain. I think I got this from gripping the bars too tightly because I was so nervous and worried about what my arm was going to be like. Also the trails were really bumpy and I don’t think I was relaxed enough during the race… So to avoid this this weekend I had to try to stay a lot more relaxed and chilled out. I was trying not to think about racing to win but racing to finish, because this would be more of an achievement that anything. 4 months ago we had no idea I would even be racing so I needed to see this weekend as my first proper race back from a long time off the bike, and needed to remember that I shouldn’t expect anything amazing from it.
At breakfast Katy and I had talked through the course. It was still sunny so the tracks were going to be dry and very fast. After signing on and a warm-up on the turbo it was time to race and I was on my way to the line. I was not feeling nervous which was good because it was helping me to stay more chilled out. Inside part of me was still wondering if I was going to have a repeat of last weekend but I tried not to think about it. Everyone was on the line…it was 15 seconds to go…10 seconds to go….
… And we were off!!!!!!!!…
The start was a bit mad because there were so many people (it felt like more than usual). To start with there was a land rover track climb which cut into a switch back climb. By the time we got here the bunch had separated out into a long line. I was trying to remember that today wasn’t about winning. This was really hard though when your opponent is sitting on your wheel. I kept going up the climb which then had a steep kick up. After a few corners it then joined onto a land rover track. Now I was getting into the rhythm of the race and I felt really strong, but was remembering not to go flat-out. There was then a quick descent followed by a rooty natural climb. Just after this Isla passed me on the section land-rover track… It was really hard not to freak out but to keep a steady rhythm. I knew if I panicked then that was when I might get the arm pain coming back, I kept telling myself to “breathe” and “stay relaxed”. Also part of me was saying that I didn’t need to win the race and it didn’t matter if she passed me… but my competitive side was outweighing this at the moment! I sat behind Isla through the next bit of single track; here we were beginning to catch and pass some of the slower Juvenile boys, this was frustrating but also made the race interesting because you had to do some sketchy overtakes to avoid losing position.
After the single track we came out onto another land-rover track. I looked ahead and saw Isla and in front of her 3 or 4 boys…Now was my chance!! I needed to get past them for the next descent to avoid a pile-up… so I powered up the hill as FAST as I could to the entrance. I had just managed to pass them all. Woo! But I could hear Isla was close behind me now though so I had to keep going while trying staying chilled out and not tensed up. I had to do a few more over-takes on the descent then the trail was clear and I was able to go super-fast down it which was AWESOME!
I was suddenly aware that I felt very focused on the race, I am not sure if it was because I had forgot what it was like or what, but I felt like I was descending faster than I had done previously and I hit all the lines I wanted to and it felt so good, I felt like I was back where I belonged RACING! But the fun was soon over as the descent ended and I hit into a horrible sloggy climb, it was one of these climbs that just felt like it would go on forever and just when you think you are at the top you go around a corner and are faced with more climb, aaarg! I eased off a bit, I was aware that I was in first but I didn’t know how close behind me second place was. I was also aware that I had no idea how I got here having started the race with the thoughts “I am not racing to win…”
After the horrible climb there was another beast descent. It was really fast and smooth and you could just let the bike flow down it. It felt so good to be flying down a descent with nothing to hold me back. After a steep shoot I rode out of the trees and around the arena and over the line to start my second lap. Going up the switch back, I could see that I had a comfortable gap on second but I knew this could change at any time. My legs were burning after the rest during the descent but I didn’t ease off. As I went through the feed zone my dad asked if my arm was ok… I had almost completely forgotten about this because it wasn’t hurting at all. This was a relief to me because it meant that I hadn’t been pushing too hard or anything.
I just felt SO happy racing, I don’t really know why because it’s not easy but it felt so good being back. The second lap felt much quicker than the first because there was much less hold ups. But my legs were hurting much more this lap. The whole time I was aware that Isla was just a bit behind me but I kept my head down knowing that all I could do was keep going and see what happened. Every time I heard a rider I kept expecting it to be someone from my category but it never was. I flew down the final descent and sprinted across the field with every bit of energy I had left and the line was in sight…
Crossing the line was AMAZING! Not because I had won but because I had finished… AND MY ARM DIDN’T HURT… woooooooo!!! I felt so unbelievably happy!!! Tonnes of emotions came flooding to me after I stopped. I realised that this was finally the step forward that I had been waiting for for so long, I had just won a race and I was in no pain (well apart from my legs but they don’t count) and I felt awesome .
Well done to
Isla Short 2nd Youth
Calum Grant 1st Juvenile
Katy Winton 1st Elite
Calum Magowan 1st Youth