PCC at the British XC in Builth Wells
Peebles Cycling Club took a team of young riders down to the British XC race in Builth Wells, Wales. For a lot of the riders, it was their first British Race. Course practice was on Saturday and all were happy, but rain overnight meant a few changes to the course and a muddy raceday.
The team of riders was selected from those who regularly race the Scottish XC series, and the intention being to give them valuable experience of racing at a British race. This amazing trip was all down to the funding received from Braveheart Cycling Fund.
Each of the riders wore a diary of the weekend where you can read all about their experiences.
Here's a fab video edit of the weekend.
Calum Johnson - Builth Wells BMBS
We set off after school on Friday with a long journey ahead of us. Eventually after a rather tedious six hour journey we reached the Premier Inn we were to stay in. The next day we travelled to the race venue, Builth Wells for course practice. The course was wet and muddy with lots of off camber roots. After a lovely dumping of rain the course was super slippery and sketchy. But it was great to be able to shelter in our brand new PCC Sealskinz easy-up. Once we had finally cleaned up we headed home for a bit of dinner and a well needed sleep.
When Sunday morning rolled around everyone was a little nervous but all buzzing for the racing ahead. The Juvenile and Youths raced at 9:00. It had rained all night and the course was a mud bath. I had a fast start and made up a tonne of places and put myself in a great position. But on the first descent I got a bit impatient and attempted to overtake the boys in front by taking the low line on the camber. This was not a good idea! I ended up sliding through a nettle bush into a fence. Right on my tail at that point were two other PCC racers who slammed into the back of me. As a result of this we were dead last! Once we had finally got ourselves together we had given ourselves a two minute disadvantage on the rest of the field. For the next lap I flew, sprinting up every hill and sending all the downs. After a long hard hour I was a bit sore and my legs were dead.
After showering of the inch off mud that coated my body it was visible that there had been a couple of falls. My arms and legs were scraped and nettle stung but I was pretty buzzed on my performance. I ended up placing 12th in my category and can't wait to see what I can do without crashing! After a long wait the juniors, elites and experts were ready to set off. At around 3:30 everything was rounded up and we were ready to head home. Big thanks to PCC, the Braveheart Fund and Sealskinz for a great weekend of racing.
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Megan Wilkinson - PCC on Tour
And we’re off! On Friday the 10th of June we went on one big adventure! Team PCC on the road! 12 young racers (13 if you include little Emily) and 5 coaches went down to deepest darkest Wales to race the 4th round of the British Mountain Bike Series.
On Friday night we slept in a lovely, warm hotel near Worcester. At breakfast we consumed enough food to feed about 50 ‘normal’ people for a week and then we were off on the road again! A scenic lunch stop in a pretty little town then to the race venue at Fforest Fields. Unpacking the large van took a while, yes, we had a lot of stuff with us, then it was time to do the course recce for the race. We rode around in two groups looking at the course and sessioning some technical sections we felt needed it. The lap was quite long (soon to be shortened before the race). It consisted of lots of hills and some really nice, muddy but fun descents. The muddy A line was a no go, the B line was much safer. Most of the team did another practise lap and the ones who didn’t stood under the new Sealskinz/PCC gazebos watching the rain pelt down from the sky.
Then we went to another hotel near the venue. Dinner was very funny in a restaurant. Most of the girls had a lovely meal of pasta and meatballs while the boys went for an awkward order…. just to confuse the waitress even more I think. There was a lot of laughing and some inside jokes which I think will always be continued. Our team bond seemed to grow stronger as we shared these laughs. Dinner was followed by an out of control trip to Tesco to buy lunch which involved a rugby ball. Then a final team meeting before race day.
For some of us, the race day procedure is common knowledge but for others it isn’t so we went on a learning curve and went through race day together. Getting up early was hard but worth it. We got to the race, sorted ourselves out, warmed up and then went to the start line. There is a lot more people at national races than at Scottish races which may be surprised a few people.
My race didn’t go as I wanted it to go. I got a good start but crashed on the start loop and landed in a patch of stinging nettles face first. I crashed in front of a first aider and a commissar so when they asked if I could continue, because I was so shaken up and I didn’t really know what had happened apart from that my whole face had started to go really warm, I said no and was taken to the first aid tent. I was fine, after a shower and eating some food I felt better, my face and limbs still stung for a long time after but I was back in plenty of time to see the finish of the race. I’ve never experienced anything like it, standing on the finish line and cheering on all of my team mates coming through. And they came in thick and fast too! They all did amazingly well, there were a lot of crashes too but nothing too serious.
In the afternoon we had two amazing performances from Lucy and Louisa in elite and junior. The rain cleared away and made it really lovely to spectate from various points around the course.
The journey back home was long, we still had the loud music which consisted of the same songs over and over but I think I can safely say I now know all of the words to about ten new songs! The level of boredom went from sleeping to taking selfies through a box. At dinner there was discussion as to whether a Subway was good enough food for athletes but I don’t really think anyone was too bothered because we were all too tired. We arrived back in Peebles after a great weekend at around 11pm.
I would like to say a big thank you to the coaches for having to deal with our laughing and massive appetites all weekend and to the people that made this happen, PCC, the Braveheart Fund and Sealskinz!
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Louisa Watt - PCC Trip to Builth Wells
Everyone met at the high school with hundreds of bags which we stuffed into the mini bus on Friday afternoon. Many of us had never done a British Cross Country race, so the prospect of travelling down to Wales for it together was pretty exciting. We waved our parents off and the journey began. Being together on the mini bus was a great way to pass the journey as it was good fun… and the boys were always in the back providing us with some (interesting) music from their speakers. Our first stop was at some services where we had dinner at a Marks and Spencer’s, we then carried on to Worcester where we stayed at a Premier Inn for the night. It was a nice place to stay and we all got a much appreciated lie in the next morning. Sharing a room with friends was also interesting as it let you get to know them a lot more.
Saturday- Race Practise
It took a couple of hours to get to the race venue at Builth Wells, things started getting exciting when we could see blue tape from the road on the hill side. Builth Wells is a really nice race venue as it is on a nice campsite, the race organisers had also put up lots of tepees and tents. The course itself was pretty dodgy, all of the descents were covered with roots and drenched with mud, so your tyres were slipping about everywhere. We practised a couple of laps and I began to feel comfortable with the course as I could ride the majority of it. After course practise Iain ran a session on starts, which was great to have fresh in our minds for the next morning. It was a short twenty minute drive to a little traditional Welsh town where we were staying. For dinner we went to a little pub close to the hotel, the meatballs were really tasty and great race prep for the next day.
Sunday- Race Day!
A 6.30 am start was pretty tough! When we arrived at Builth Wells Lucy and I did as much as we could to help the younger racers prepare for their 9am race. There had been a huge shower of rain overnight so we all knew that the course was going to be very slippy. There were many crashes in the younger races and lots of DNF’s which made me pretty nervous. By 1pm I felt more than ready for my race since I had been up since 6.30 am. Being told that I was doing 3 laps instead of 2 on the start line was a bit of a shock 15 seconds before the race started. I have to say that it was the toughest race I have ever done. With extremely steep and tough climbs followed by technical and slippery descents there was little time to recover. As the race went on I became more and more tired, by the end I was counting down the minutes until I reached the finish line. The race ended up being 2 hours long; I was absolutely wrecked by the end but very happy to finish in 5th place- my best result yet! I was buzzing on the journey home but also extremely tired, we managed to make it home in just over 6 hours. With a stop at a Subway for tea we all knew that it wasn’t the best ‘athletes nutrition’ but we didn’t care because we had all earned it.
Overall I would say that the PCC trip to Builth Wells was a great experience. Travelling together was a lot of fun and led to a great team spirit. All members of the team were extremely supportive and helpful to each other so I feel that together PCC are stronger. The race was extremely tough but it’s an experience that I will always remember. I also feel that being away from home and being responsible for yourself and all of your own kit is beneficial as it helps you to be more independent and capable. I would like to say a massive thank you to the PCC coaches and helpers on the trip: Pete Johnson, Ian Grant, Crawford Carrick-Anderson, Roy Richardson, Katy Carrick-Anderson and Lucy Grant who made it an excellent trip. Also PCC, the Braveheart Fund and Sealskinz!
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Corran Carrick-Anderson - Builth Wells BMBS Round 4
On Friday the 10th of June, 12 PCC racers, including me, started an 8 hour journey to Fforest Fields for round 4 of the 2016 BMBS.
We left at 3pm from the High School for the first part of the journey was a 6 hour bus journey to Worcester. With the tunes playing at the back of, it felt a lot shorter than it was. After a few service station stops we arrived at our Premier Inn. Callum Thornley, Russell and I were sharing room number 27. Russell managed to get the double bed before me and Callum so we were stuck in the single beds. We turned the T.V. on before going to sleep.
On Saturday morning I woke up at 7:37 after a restless sleep. We turned the T.V. on again before getting changed and going to breakfast. According to Emily, we were 7 minutes late and the last to breakfast. Having sore braces, I struggled eating but I ate as much as I could. Most of us tried to have a healthy breakfast after our talk with Ruth Mckean on the Monday before. After collecting our bags from our rooms we left for another 2 hour journey to the course. We finally arrived and unpacked the lorry. We signed on and started the course. We were not trying to wait at places for too long as we needed to get 2 laps in before the sport race started.
The course started with a road climb up into a short grassy downhill back into the start/finish area. It then went up a steep hill for quite a while before we hit the first proper descent. It was a little slippy from the rain. It had 180° switchbacks before arriving at the first A/B line. It was a steep slippy corner into a small drop, another corner and a chute out of it. It looked a bit dodgy but I did it first time and it wasn't too bad. It was then a flat fire road for a while and then into a long climb up. It was quite tough but good. We then got to a nice descent. The line choices were either high or low around roots. Then it went into a tight corner around a tree.
It then went into a fast descent before turning up into a single track. It was up and down with slippy roots all the way along it. After that, there was another A/B line. This one was slightly easier than the one before. It was a bomb hole, into a corner, into a rock drop. Yet again I managed it first time. Then it was a fast fire road into another flat single track. Then a double arrow downhill but then just flat again. It was similar all the way until near the finish. It then went up another fire road for a few corners and down the final single track before reaching a grass path that would take us all the way to the finish.
We immediately set off for another lap which was the same apart from the first A/B line had been changed. The A line had cut the hard corner which made it a lot easier. After practice finished we had a shower and went to our second hotel. We had tea, bought our lunch for the next day and then went to our bedroom. We had a meeting at 9:15 to discuss the race plans for the next day in the lounge so we all went down there.
We found out that the course would change for our race which was surprising. The first lap would just cut out the end section after the second A/B line but the rest of the laps would also cut the start loop out as well. We also found out we were doing 3 laps which I was pleased to hear but also meant it was probably going to be the longest race I had done. Then we discussed our plan before heading to bed. We turned the T.V. on for a while before going to sleep.
It was race day!! We woke up at 6:25 to Hymn for the Weekend by Coldplay which got us hyped for the day. We ate our porridge pots and got everything ready before meeting at 7 in the lounge. We left shortly after at 7:15. We arrived 20 minutes later at 7:35 and started to unpack the gazebos, rollers and bikes. I was starting my warm up at 8:15 so I had a while to wait.
Eventually I started my rollers under the gazebo and started my prep for the big race. I did 20 minutes of varied paces before hopping off and doing three sprints before heading to the line to be gridded. I was gridded 11th after my two 6ths and the other race that I didn't do. I was in the second row behind the series leader: Freddie Birchill. With 15 seconds to go I started my Garmin and the whistle went.
I went in behind Rory McGuire along the first fire road. He was slipping about until he had a massive crash which I had to swerve so I didn’t hit his head! That made me fall slightly off the leading bunch but fortunately I managed to catch them back up before the short grassy descent. The boy in front of me almost had a bad crash but he managed to stay on his bike.
We went past the start/finish barrier and up into the steep climb. I was about 8th but still in the leading bunch. I was running 1x9 gearing but it didn’t really bother me on the first lap. Freddy Birchill, who had had a mechanical earlier on went passed me and everyone else to the front of the group. This picked the pace up slightly. We went into the first proper descent and I just saw Freddy fall down the side of the corner. That finished his race for the day.
It was very slippy after the rain and people were going all over the place. I went into the first A/B line and managed to get down that cleanly with my foot out. Quite a few people slipped out here. I went into the long climb and Jamie overtook me meaning I had overtaken him on the descent. I got onto his wheel and followed up the hill until he dropped me just before the top. I was onto the slightly off camber section and I was getting stuck behind people but I couldn’t pass as it was too tight. I got down it and onto the slightly uphill single track which everyone had to run most of because of the mud and roots.
After finishing the long run I was into the second A/B line which was quite easy and then into the fire road all the way to the start/finish. I was behind Oliver Allen who I found was a similar pace to me so I stuck with him. We cut the start loop this time and went over a small bridge before the steep climb again. It was hard to keep up but I just managed to. I got stuck behind him on the descent but he crashed on the A/B line so I overtook him. He caught me back up on the long climb and unfortunately got a small gap on me at the top and was in front for the next downhill. I caught him back up and could not overtake him all the way down. We ran the same bit again all the way to the second A/B line. Then we were with each other going through the start/finish for the final lap. The climb this was so hard I had to run a bit of it.
Being dropped slightly by that I had to catch back up on the descent. On the A/B line the boy in front crashed and got tangled in a tree. I managed to get down it again and started the long climb I went as fast as I could all the up wanting to get a clear run down. I just got caught behind someone but on one of the lines they took the low line so I took the high and I just got past him. I had a fast clear run all the way down and then into the single track run. I got to the last A/B line and then sprinted all the way along the last fire road. I went into the finishing straight and crossed the line.
I had no idea what position I was until someone told me I was 3rd! I was so chuffed! I thought I was about 6th again or something. This meant I had to go onto my first ever British podium! It felt really good going on to the podium and being with some of the best juveniles in Britain! I got a trophy and two tires from Schwalbe. It had been a good race and I was really happy about how everything went. Just the 8 hour journey home!
Thanks to everyone, PCC, Braveheart Fund and Sealskinz who made this all possible!
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Thomas Richardson - British XC
I'm writing this to tell you about my first British cross country mountain bike race.
I was a little nervous at first as I have only done two SXCs before and I was on the trip where most people were a bit faster and more experienced than me.
The fact that they were that bit more experienced than me was actually a good thing as this meant that I got some good tips on things like line choice, nutrition, hydration and pacing myself.
When it came to riding the course I got a lot of help from Iain and Pete, the two coaches that rode with me. They helped maintain grip, manage braking and all the other important factors on such a slippy course. Lucy Grant also helped me set a goal to finish my first British race.
When it came to the race itself we all got up at half six, made our poridge pots, packed up and set up for the race. When we got there we started doing warm ups. Eventually the time came for us all to go to the start line and get gridded.
We were all super nervous whilst waiting for the whistle to go and for us to set off.
The hardest part of the course was the super slippy conditions. For most of it I was off the bike. One of the bits sapped the most energy (both mental and physical) was getting to the top of the long, gruelling climb and having to persuade yourself to keep going down the horrible, taxing descent.
After all I pulled through and achieved my goal and finished.
After all this though, if someone asked me do it again I would say yes in a heartbeat. Thanks to everyone, PCC, Braveheart Fund and Sealskinz who made the experience possible!
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Anna McGorum - My trip to BMBS Round 4 in Wales
This year PCC received some funding from the Braveheart Foundation. This funding gave 12 riders the opportunity to race at round 4 of the BMBS series in Builth Wells, Wales.
We set off from the High School by minibus on Friday 10th June at 3pm, after packing the van with 15 bikes, 10 sets of rollers and enough stuff to last us for weeks. After six hours of awful music playing away at the back of the bus, we arrived at our Premier Inn in Worcester and the long awaited comfort of our rooms.
The morning saw many tired faces at breakfast but everyone soon woke up after some delicious food. After another hour and a half in the minibus, we finally arrived at the race venue and started unloading the van. In about twenty minutes, the van was empty, our awesome new PCC-Sealskinz gazebo up and the bikes ready for course practice.
Course practice was very muddy but it went well. The course, which consisted of long steep hills and slippery descents, was definitely one of my favourite courses. Unfortunately, we knew that the heavy rain forecasted would cause the course to be an utter mud fest on race day.
After course practice, we re-loaded the van and jumped in the minibus to go to the hotel where we would be staying. We had dinner in an Italian restaurant (about 5 minutes away from the hotel) followed by a quick trip to Tesco for some snacks. Then, we all met in the hotel lobby for a briefing and finally, after what it seemed a very long day; we went to sleep, ready for our race the next day.
At 7.00am the next day, we left the hotel fuelled on porridge pots. As predicted, it was relatively warm, though raining heavily. The racing kicked off with the Juvenile and Youth races at 9.00. My race started well and I found myself in 3rd at the top of the first big hill. Unfortunately, a crash on the descent caused me to fall back into 5th and from then on the race went downhill a bit. The thick and slippery mud made some of the course un-rideable, but after an hour of sliding, crashing and running I still managed to finish in 5th place.
We stayed for the elite and junior races which proved to be very entertaining and once we were all showered, fed and packed, it was time to head back to sunny Scotland. The long journey back was entertained by games, music and even the occasional leg massage! At last, we arrived in Peebles at about 23.00 where our parents were waiting for us. We unpacked the van and said our goodbyes. It had been an amazing experience and much more fun than travelling to a race on your own. Without the awesome support from the coaches, Sealskinz and the funding from Braveheart Cycling Fund, none of it would have been possible and I hope that other opportunities like this will be available in the near future.
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Jonte Willins - Team trip to Fforest Fields in Wales for Round 4 BMBS
We left from Peebles at around 3 o'clock on Friday afternoon with a daunting 6 hour bus drive ahead of us. But all was made better with the tunes bouncing from the back of the bus, until 5 hours in the speaker ran out of charge! We arrived at our Premier Inn at around 9 o'clock and headed straight up to our rooms to rest for the weekend ahead. Unfortunately I drew the short straw meaning I got the pop up bed and being 6 ft. my legs were hanging off the end of the bed. Not a great night’s sleep!
The next morning we were woken at 7:45 and headed promptly down for breakfast at 8:15, our room seeming to be the only one on time, we tucked into a buffet breakfast. We departed at about 9 o’clock with this time only a 2 hour drive ahead of us. We arrived at 11 and headed out for practice! The course was riding mint, a few slippy, sketchy bits thrown in to make it more interesting. It was great to have the coaches by our sides to discuss lines and advise tactics. They had us practicing our starts- which is not one of my strengths. We then headed back to our hotel and unpacked in the rooms and headed out for a game of rugby on the green outside the hotel.The next morning was an early start, waking at 6:30 for a 7 o'clock departure. We arrived at Fforest fields at 7:20 and it was time to unpack. But just as we started it began to pour down with rain, so we were quick to put up our PCC/ Sealskinz "Easy-up" for shelter while we warmed up on the rollers.
Time passed quickly and soon it was time to race! But from the second the whistle blew my race rapidly went downhill. Starting off with missing my cleat in the start sprint and then being forced to skid to a stop, after I had made my way through the pack, as a rider hit the deck. The pace was fast as we headed into the first descent; it was a slippy off camber section. Nearing the end of the descent my fellow PCC rider Calum Johnson went in for the over take on the outside of the person in front and slid out through a patch of nettles and into a fence. As I approached him I looked over to see if he was ok, causing me to lose balance and also slide out and land next to him. The next thing I know another PCC rider Callum Thornley slides out also landing on my bike and winding himself.
After checking each other were ok we jumped up and grabbed our bikes, it was at this point I noticed my bars were squint and my chain was kinked in about 7 places! After minutes of struggling I finally managed to fix my bike but at this point I was 2 minutes dead last and hadn't even finished the small start loop. So I knew I would have to ride hard to catch back up. But with a mixture of the mud bath and trying to push it too hard I found myself on the floor or having to run half the race! I ended up finishing in 16th place which I was stoked with keeping in mind I was deep last by 2 minutes at the start!
We then went back and washed both ourselves and our bikes, which were equally coated in a thick layer of mud! We left Fforest Fields at about 3 with a very tedious 8 hour bus journey home nursing our nettle stings. But it was worth it.
This was my first chance to race at British level. I only started racing last year but I was more laid back than I expected, as there was no pressure to perform. I've found out that races don't always go to plan but it's best to just take it on the chin and get on with it, remembering that it's all about the experience. I know what I need to practice too- rooty descents in wet conditions!
Everyone seemed to be friendlier at the British race than the SXC as all the Scottish riders were working together rather than against each other. It's made me more excited about the British Champs which are in 2 weeks’ time.
Thanks PCC and the coaches for organising this trip as well as the Braveheart Fund and Sealskinz - I'm off to find some roots!
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Callum Thornley - PCC BMBS
This weekend me, 11 PCCers and 5 willing adults travelled to Wales to compete in the 4th round of the British XC Series 2016.
The trip kicked off with a testing 6 hour journey to Worcester inside a hot, stuffy mini van. But it was all good because at the back of the bus the tunes were blaring! We arrived at our luxurious Premier Inn whilst me, Corran Carrick-Anderson and Russell Brown went to our room, number 27. Before me and Corran could nick the double bed, Russell nabbed it. We then unsurprisingly switched on our TV then went to sleep.
The next day was practice day. We woke up at an early 8:00 to a loud, rather sudden alarm. We were supposed to meet for breakfast at 8:15 but as expected we arrived 7 minutes and 38 seconds late according to Emily Carrick-Anderson's watch. With Ruth Mckean's recent talk on nutrition in mind we had a more healthy breakfast than usual consisting of fruit salad and cereal. We then proceeded to drive 2hrs to Builth Wells race course. We arrived and sadly it was raining. But being Scottish we obviously pulled through.
Me and all the PCCers rode our bikes for the 1st time that weekend to the sign on tent. We got our numbers and began our race course practice. The course had lots of of extremely steep slippery ascents and the descents were no different with added rocks, roots, ruts and consistent mud. The course started with a fire road leading into several 180° switch backs. The 1st descent started with a rock garden leading into a steep, technical and slippery section followed by a section with an A/B line choice. I attempted the A line with confidence, rode it perfectly then all it took was one root for me to hit the deck hard. I jumped up and confirmed I was bruised, not broken.
The A/B line led into yet another very steep and lengthy ascent. After the climb the second and my favourite descent began. There was a high and a low line on the unforgiving off camber roots. I opted for the high, faster line and it worked a treat. The descent then took a 180° switchback and down the slippiest section of the whole course. Basically a mud bath followed by a very enjoyable ascent that traversed a hill consisting of some awesome roots and ruts seemingly designed to make you fall! There was then a really fun drop off that Russell decked himself on! The course then had a fire road section that you could go up to 45kmph on!
The trail then had a tough but short enough to sprint climb followed by yet another awesome descent. The descent traversed across then cut straight down the hill the descent then had a series of flowing turns. The course then cut all the way back across to near the event village. Then we climbed up another hill then that was the lap finished, finally! Once we got back to our 2 awesome PCC tents me, Calum Johnson and Jonte Willins went to a rather pathetic 10cm hose and attempted to wash our bikes. After that we had a quick shower and hopped back in our van and took a 20 minute drive to our hotel. When we arrived we firstly went to the supermarket to buy our lunch for after our race the next day. Me and Corran started wandering towards the shop and ended up getting lost but thanks to Lucy Grant we were found and shown the way to the supermarket. We then went back up to the hotel to then be told that the course had been changed due to a dreadful weather forecast.
Crawford Carrick-Anderson took a very useful video of the new section which thankfully was only a fire road. A large section of the course had been cut out shortening the lap down to around 23 minutes. Unfortunately one of my favourite descents had been taken out of the course but nevertheless the race must go on. We then took a short walk to a lovely restaurant and had our dinner. I had smoked salmon and pizza! After having tea we went back to our rooms and prepared our kit for the race. Whilst we were doing that me, Corran and Russell spent a good 10 minutes attempting to launch items of our stuff into the bin! I sounds a bit odd but at the time it was sooooo fun. Once we were into bed trying to get to sleep we figured we were way to hot despite both windows being open. But luckily Katy Carrick-Anderson had a solution. She walked into our room, picked up at towel, soaked it in the bath and to my surprise she lay it on our backs and tummies! It was the coldest thing ever but sooo refreshing!
We woke up at 6:25 to Corran’s uplifting alarm. The song was "hymn for the weekend." We quickly got our awesome PCC kit on and began eating our 'delicious' porridge pots. At 7:10 we were on the bus leaving to go to the race. For the first time that weekend I felt terribly sick on the bus but I was fine. We arrived at the race at 7:30 and unpacked our bikes. At 8:05 I began my intense warm up on the rollers. With added encouragement from our enthusiastic coaches I began to get pumped for it. After doing a series of sprints I got ready to go to the start line. On the start line I was gridded 3rd last given this was my 1st ever British Series Race. The start was very intense with all 50 riders sprinting to the first corner, unfortunately there was a crash. I managed to hop over a back wheel and get around it. I began cycling up the first set of horrific climbs and got the first short descent. As soon as I got in the descent I looked ahead and saw that Calum Johnson had hit the deck, then suddenly Jonte Willins fell on top of him then out of nowhere I got caught in a rut and fell on top of them.
It was carnage and I was in a lot of pain, I got up to my feet and realized my hand was hurting a lot, although I was fine. The 3 of us were all now in last! 50th! From then on the course kept on being tough but my mind-set had now changed to, let's just try and finish. Whereas before it was let's try and get as high placing as possible! I was convinced I was in the high 30s/early 40s but after an hour and 15 mins of racing I ended up in 18th (provisional standing). I was just glad to finish! I then went for a shower got all cleaned up then finally cleaned my bike.
We all then went to cheer on Lucy Grant, our female elite 5th place! After all that we hopped on the bus and endured another 6 hour bus journey but it wasn't all bad, the tunes were blaring at the back of the bus! We got home back to Peebles at 11:30 and unpacked all our bikes bags and rollers. We then went back to our homes and had a well reversed rest. I would like to say a huge thank you to PCC who organized this awesome trip which was amazing. Thank you to all the adult helpers who kept us all safe and happy! Finally thanks to the Braveheart Fund and Sealskinz for supplying us with our iconic PCC race kit!!!
Thanks again for the brilliant trip! It was a great experience and I learnt a lot!
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Elena McGorum - British MTB Series - Round 4
The time had come. We had to leave straight after school, at 15:00 because of the extremely long bus journey. We estimated that we would arrive around ten o’clock.
After taking a PCC team photo we embarked on the six hour drive down to Worcester.
On the way down everyone was excited and glad to be staying in a Premier Inn. We stopped twice on the journey and ended up having a dinner of M&S takeaway food. Thankfully, we managed to find a microwave to heat up the food and we watched the Criterium du Dauphine as we ate.
We reached the Premier Inn quite late, as we had expected. We were all very tired especially from carrying our extremely heavy bags from the truck into the hotel. Having been in many Premier Inns I knew what to expect: the comfy beds, the big T.V. and the windows that hardly open (which was a bit of a problem as the room was rather hot).
Luckily I had a very good night sleep and was glad to have a Premier Inn breakfast to start the day. Then, we set off towards Wales for some practice laps before the big day on Sunday.
After a while of twisty roads we arrived at Fforest Fields that was quite an amazing site. Hundreds of tents, campervans, cars and vans were all lined up in the field. After getting changed and setting up our Sealskinz easy-up, we went to sign on. We split into two groups and went round the course with the coaches. To my delight it was a hilly course, as well as being VERY muddy! After doing a slow lap, with only 20 mins left to practise the course, a group of us decided to go for another lap. The weather was gloomy, but it was comfortably warm.
When we arrived at the hotel we had to wait outside and “behave” as the coaches collected the room keys. The hotel looked old-fashioned and kind of creepy but was actually very pleasant. After a nice, warm shower we all went for dinner to another hotel close by. Next to the restaurant was the bar, full of Welsh football fans that cheered every time their team scored a goal against Slovakia. Thankfully Wales won, so there were no grumpy, drunk Welsh fans…
After dinner we went to Tesco to buy our lunch for the following day. In an attempt to dry out our shoes we stuffed them with toilet paper and sat them out on the window sill hoping we wouldn’t have to put on soggy, damp shoes.
In the lobby of the hotel, we had a briefing about the next morning and were given an exotic breakfast of… porridge. I was a bit gutted to hear that we had to wake up at 6.30am as I do not cope well with waking up early.
As I forced myself to get out of bed (as well as being forced by my sister) I gloomily ate my breakfast and carried my bags down to the lobby.
When we got on to the minibus I felt quite nervous about racing, but at the same time excited. We arrived at the race venue with a bit of time to spare before the warm-up. We all went on the rollers before going over to the start to get gridded. Nine of us were racing in the 9 am race (the juveniles and youths). Both Juvenile boys and Youth girls had to do three laps. Luckily I only had to do two laps.
The start of the race was fast. I mean super-fast! It was the same in all the British races I had done, so I kept telling myself that I would catch some of the riders up later. On the first hill I caught up slightly but had to dodge a fallen girl plus the way down. On the next major hill I caught up a few more girls; that really helped me psychologically. Having rained heavily in the night the course was different to practice day and super slippery. Despite being quite an easy course technically, it was almost impossible to stay on during the slippery descents.
After the toughest hill came my most dreaded part of the course; it was off camber with glassy looking roots (the worst kind) everywhere. Ahead I saw one of the girls in my category and I could see she was struggling. I caught her up and decided that I could overtake her if I went high. But of course there had to be some slippery roots in the way that would make me fall… I landed on one of the roots giving myself a beautiful big bruise on my leg. The second lap was quite un-eventful, but like everyone else I had a tumble here and there. I was glad to finish and ecstatic to hear that I had come 5th! (Better than any of my other results).
The drive back was very quiet as everyone was exhausted from the long day. We stopped once again for dinner and carried on home.
Everyone from PCC did incredibly well and we all agreed that we should come as a team to the British races more often. I don’t know about everyone else but I found it a great experience as a whole.
Thanks to Pete, Ian, Roy, Crawfy, Katy and Lucy for all the support and for driving us down, we really appreciate it!!! And thank you to the Braveheart Cycling Fund and Sealskinz for making it all possible!
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Russell Brown - PCC BMBS
On Friday at about 2:30 we set off from the bus-D of the high school. I was really excited as this was the first time we had gone to a race as a club and I felt very lucky as I was with all my friends. We had to drive for about 6 hours but half way down we stopped and had some dinner at a service station. Once we got to the Premier Inn we got told our rooms and went to bed.
We woke up at about 8 and met for breakfast at 8:15 and went to get breakfast together. After breakfast we all had about 20 minutes to get our bags repacked and ready to go for practice. We set off at 9:30 on the bus and listened to some music as we drove to practice. When we arrived at Fforest Fields we all got together and split into two groups for practice then we put up the gazebos and put all our bags in them. When we started on our bikes we had a fire road section and then a small hill which then brought you down an off camber hill and came past the finish line again. We then had a long climb for about 10 minutes and once you were at the top you could see all the way down to the start/finish area. We then had our first downhill, we had some slippy rocks into a couple tight turns and then you had a choice of and A/B line. I chose the B as the A looked slippy and the B was good. We then got onto a fire road which took us up to the top of another downhill. At the start of the second downhill it was very fast and rooty but if you went fast enough it was easy then you went down a steep left handed turn and down a wide downhill and then onto a long slippy single track that went straight through the woods and then through a quarry where there was another A/B line choice. I tried the A but fell. After we had done the downs we did an uphill and then a descent then went along a flat path through the woods back to the start finish. We then went to the hotel and had a team tea and meeting we had to discuss the course changes as the rain was bad and the forecast was worse about the course changes then we went to bed.
Sunday - Race Day
We got up at 6:30 and got changed had a porridge pot for breakfast and then headed down to the lobby to meet at 7. At 7:10 we departed the hotel and 30 minutes later we arrived at the race venue. We had 40 minutes to get our stuff ready and gazebos up before our warm up started at 8:10. My warm up started and I did 20 minutes on the rollers and then 10 minutes of sprints and starts. After I had done that I went to the toilet and then we all headed over to the start line. When we started it was a fast pace and it was tight and there were not many gaps to overtake but we all got through round the start loop. Three of our six male riders all had a pile up and were all at the back but they all came back with strong results. The race was really hard but was a really good experience. Overall I really enjoyed the weekend and it was a fantastic experience. I would recommend that if you get the opportunity to go to a race with your team you should definitely do it. Thanks to everyone, PCC, Braveheart Fund and Sealskinz who made the experience possible!
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Emily Wilkinson - PCC Builth Wells trip 2016
On the 10th June 2016 Peebles Cycling Club took a team of 12 riders down to Builth Wells in Wales for the 4th round of the British Mountain Bike Series. We had a 3 hour drive before stopping for some (healthy) dinner. Everyone was really excited and talked and laughed happily the whole journey. It was another 3 hours before we arrived in our hotel.
Following a good night’s sleep we went to breakfast bright and early. After a filling breakfast we packed the van and went down to the race venue at Fforest Fields. It, being Wales, was raining but it didn’t dampen our mood. Everyone was very excited for the course recce. The rain had made the course slippy; this just made it even more fun. It was great having the coaches there to take us round the course as they showed us different lines and made sure we were well supported throughout the day. After perfecting the course we made sure our bikes were clean and ready for race day. Then we went to our second hotel. We freshened up and got ready for dinner. We went to a lovely restaurant for dinner where most of us had pizza or pasta and meatballs.
The topic around the table varied, but we were constantly laughing and having fun. After dinner we took a trip to Tesco to buy our lunch for the next day. We were advised what foods to buy and what not to buy. Just before bed we had a brief discussion about course laps and a few small changes to the course.
On Sunday we were at Fforest Fields and ready to warm up by 8am. We warmed up and went to the start line where the coaches took our jackets and wished us luck. On the start loop, I, along with many others skidded out into nettles and a fence. It was a struggle making it round the rest of the course but there were lots of spectators on the course who cheered me on. The course was so slippy and muddy there was barely anyone who didn’t fall off at least once, but we all finished safely. We congratulated each other and other competitors before showering and cleaning our bikes.
We had some food then watched the other races. We watched the podiums and got into the mini bus. Despite the tough weekend everyone was in good spirits (when they are awake) on the bus with the tunes blaring. It was a tough race and although my result wasn’t quite what I was hoping for it had been an amazing experience and I will take lots away from the weekend such as what to eat before and after racing and how much sleep to get in the nights before a race. We were also given a lot of coaching points to improve our racing and general riding.
I would love to do something like this again! Thanks to everyone, PCC, Braveheart Fund and Sealskinz who made the experience possible!
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