SXC Scottish Champs – Aberfoyle – Race Report written by Lucy Grant
It was the day of the race. The Scottish Champs. The sun was out and it was beginning to get windy (which was good because it kept the midges away). The weather had been good the last few days so the course was really dry. This made the climb ride-able and the descents dry, loose and fast. The race didn’t start until 11 o’clock so there was plenty of time to relax in the morning. But this wasn’t a good thing; it just gave me longer to think about the race, and everything that could go wrong or right with it. My arm is completely better now so this is one less thing to think about because I know it is not going to hurt or hold me back. By 10:20 I was warming up on the turbo in the sun, getting ready to race. My thoughts were frantically spinning around in my head and each minute seemed to drag on and on. I looked at my watch and saw that there was still half an hour until the race started. I groaned. At quarter to I finished my warm up and I rode over to the line, where we all waited intensely for the start. I was feeling very nervous now as I waited, but I had a good gridding and a clear line which was a first for me this year. My legs felt shaky as I waited but I ignored this.
Soon the race had started and all my nerves and worries were left behind on the line. Right now I knew it was going to be a hard race.
At first the course went along a steadily climbing land rover track, but this didn’t last long as it took a sneaky cut off the main track into a single track climb known as “heart attack hill”!!! I don’t know what possessed someone to build a path up a hill so steep but they did. Lap two wasn’t even on my mind right now, my brain was incapable of the thought of contemplating this hill a second time around. The climb just goes up and up and up! And then you think your nearly there and you look up and you see its just never ending! It’s a granny ring climb but you are still wishing for a smaller gear. Half way up my legs were burning, they were so SO sore! I could feel all the lactic acid that had built up in my legs from the sprint race on Tuesday night and the dirt crit on Thursday and realised that it probably wasn’t the best idea to do both plus this, but here I was.
I was in first place up heart attack hill but I knew everyone was very close behind me. I kept going, trying to only look a meter in front of me and not up at the horrendously steep hill path. I EVENTUALLY made it to the top with my legs and lungs burning, craving a rest or more oxygen. But I couldn’t stop or ease off… there was more climbing to come. This time it was a long dragging land rover track. This went on for a few minutes but these minutes felt like hours to my drained legs. Thankfully at the top of the climb it was descending all the way to the finish. The descents were pretty technical, very fast and super fun. I was beginning to get a gap on second now which was good because I knew I was going to need all the advantage I could get because I would be going even slower up the hill on the second lap, so I had to try to make up for this. I went flying down the descents with no hold ups for once.
I came out of the final descent and reluctantly crossed the line and began lap two. I was absolutely dreading “heart attack hill” because I was just soooo tired! But I had no choice… I wanted to win so badly! I was still in first and had managed to keep my gap, but I knew this could change up the hill. I flicked into my granny ring and began the hooorrriiible “spin” up the treacherous hill. I say spin but there was no spinning involved because the hill was so steep. I felt like I was going to die. I was at the point where if I went any slower I was going to fall off but I couldn’t go any faster either. I kept going, very, very slowly. I came to the steepest part of the hill and I didn’t want to carry on. I felt like I was riding into a brick wall, lots of pain and no progress. After what felt like forever I made it to the top of the hill and joined onto the final climb. I began to catch some of men and somehow managed some slow motion over takes. I was soooo relieved to reach the top… FINALLY. Now I could forget the pain and enjoy the descent, there was no sign of anyone behind me. Yay! This was good.
I had to stay more focused now than I had been because I was tired and I was winning but I could not afford to crash or do anything stupid, in case I got caught by another rider. I hit into the descents fast, I was beginning to enjoy them more this lap than I had done before. Well apart from the constant bumpiness of them. The first descent was steep and Rooty; the second one was steep, tight and quite dark due to the thick trees. The final few descents were very fast and dry with some sketchy corners that you had to be careful not to over shoot. At the bottom I came out after a successful descent with no crashes and I was onto the grassy arena that lead to the finish. It was a flat out bumpy sprint across the line. Happiness and the awesome sense of achievement hit me and I felt so pleased with myself. I did have to hobble off my bike and I did feel like I would never walk again, but these things seemed minor compared to the contentment I felt.
PCC have 4 other Scottish Champs as well so well done to
Calum Magowan Youth Champ
Calum Grant Juvenile Champ
Tom Aitken Under 12’s Champ
And Christina McGorum Under 8’s Champ