|Calm before the storm ;)
After the neutral start I was able to move up past the other ladies and I stayed ahead, gradually building my lead for the next two hours of tough climbing and some technical singletrails. But alas, after approximately 2 hours a missing course marking resulted in a wrong turn and 200m of climbing in the wrong direction. Riding back downhill to rejoin the course meant that I was also reunited with the other ladies who were behind me. Checking my SRM data file shows that in total I lost 15minutes off course :(
Motivation waned from here onwards. I had no idea if any of the other ladies were now ahead of me. This combined with my freezing muscles meant that I had to really fight to finish the race. Freezing and painful hands meant that I could no longer change gears with my thumbs; palms of my hands became my gear levers ;) Eating and drinking was also not so easy!
After hand washing all of my clothes - we have no washing machine here! - eating, drinking and warming up, we now have to go to the event dinner and prize ceremony. Then it's all go to get everything ready for tomorrow's uphill time trial.
Fingers crossed for some better luck and warmer weather, though the forecast isn't looking too optimistic re the latter!
Oh, sorry, failed to say that amazingly I won!