|Start line Torq gel :)
Last week I just couldn't decide whether to race the UCI Marathon race in Spain or the British XC in Cornwall. We're heading off overseas again in a couple of days so in the end we decided to make the most of what Britain has to offer and we weren't disappointed. Fully Sussed hosted a great event and put on a fun course: fast pumpy, jumpy singletrails; steep loose descents; drops; loose power climbs; and what I heard some riders refer to as 'The Wall'. These sorts of courses really suit me and I loved it all.
It's funny how much seems to happen in such a short time in XC races; drama wasn't lacking throughout the one hour and 20 minutes of racing. A bad start from the gun meant that I had to work extra hard to get into the singletrack in a reasonably good position - fourth wasn't bad considering but it wasn't where I really wanted to be! After the first descent there was a short, sharp climb where I planned on gaining places but I had a mechanical issue and from then onwards I was stuck in my big 39T chainring. It wasn't until after the second descent that I was able to move up to the front and ahead of Lee Craigie (Cannondale Racing) and Jovana Crnogorac (Orange Monkey Pro Team).
Throughout the rest of the lap I tried adjusting my cable tension, but once I looked carefully I could see that the front mech was totally bent. My chain kept falling off onto the crank arm on the descents and at other times I had to take care to avoid chainsuck. A stop in the tech zone on the second lap confirmed my suspicion: I'd have to carry on in the big ring and treat the gears with kid gloves for the rest of the race.
At the start of the 3rd lap I'd built a good lead and this made it much easier to handle my gear issues without pressure from behind. My legs felt great and I'm feeling confident with my form going into my next marathon races. It's funny how people often ask me what it's like to race fast over short distances, but to be honest the pace isn't any slower in marathons, they're just longer!
It's been a really nice month racing british XC races and I'd like to thank everyone for all of the support that they've given me at the races. Hearing people cheer me on is really very motivating. Thank you! Now it's time for us to leave and take on the Euro marathon season. I'll keep you posted......
Happy training and racing!