The women's race started at 2pm so I even had a leisurely start to the day - a pleasant change from 5.30am wakeup calls :-) There had been a lot of rain in the days leading up to the race, so I opted for Conti 2.4 X-Kings front and back. It was the perfect setup and I had lots of grip where some other people seemed to be slipping and sliding.
This was my first XC race. Ever. I had planned to race XC this season as part of my training, but illness and injury scuppered my plans, and this was the first opportunity I had.
Given my lack of experience at racing over only 1.5 hours I decided to try to ride behind Maddie Horton (Team Certini) for the first lap. I took this too literally and rode way too close, which meant that I couldn't see the trail ahead. Whoops! I lost the front wheel and found myself sprawled across the singletrack. I leapt up, put my bottle back in, did up my shoe again, and jumped back on. Maddie was now out of sight. Once I rejoined her I made an effort to enter the next section of singletrack first. Maddie hadn't test ridden the course, so I figured it would probably be more helpful (and safer!) to lead.
After the first lap I had a small lead over Maddie and I knew that I needed to push on hard. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and I couldn't believe how quickly the laps passed by. It was over far too quickly! When I crossed the finish line I was ready for more :-) After watching the World Cup XC races and seeing the riders literally fall off their bikes at the finish line, I now realise that I should have gone harder! Next time :-) It was great to see the guys from our local bike shop and to be in the mix with some of them - thanks also for your support!
Elite Women's Podium
I didn't know until the finish that Maddie crashed during the second lap causing her to retire from the race :-( I hope that you're OK Maddie.
1. Sally Bigham (Topeak-Ergon Racing Team) 1:36:43
2. Jessie Roberts (WXC Mountain Bike Team) 1:54:47
3. Carla Haines (WXC Mountain Bike Team) 1:57:23
Full results can be found here