Mud Sweat and gears Round Four Ickworth House

On Sunday 16th June, my Dad and I headed to Ickworth house in Bury St Edmunds for the next round of Mud Sweat and Gears mountain bike series

I was not feeling in great form after doing very little the previous weeks due to packing up and moving house, so didn’t feel too confident going into the race.

On riding the course there were some technical bomb holes, which I enjoyed, and a lot of fast flat single track. Luckily after the Nationals in Hopton two weeks previous the hills felt easy in relation to the monster hill at the start of that National race.

I watched Dad go off in the open category and then it was my turn.

The organisers changed the line up from lining up next to each other to one behind the other, this worked in my favour as it put me on the front line.

The race started and I felt happy out in front, when we got closer to the first single track section I could feel Alex Nichol (Team CCN/ Torq/ Chain Reaction/ Streetlife -) try to come past me so I sprinted away and managed to stay in the lead. Alex pushed me at every opportunity she could to overtake, but I held her off until we reached the biggest hill in the race which was muddy and had logs and stones making it hard to pick and stick with one line. Having rode the course earlier on the left hand side I knew the right hand side was actually a clearer line and easier option so I stuck with the right hand side even though it meant hopping over some logs. This created a large gap between Alex and I as she stuck with the left hand side. I over took a lot of men in the open category and kept pushing forward not prepared to give up my first place position now!


On approaching the second bomb hole I was aware that on the practise lap a girl had fallen as it was slippery from the rain. On my practise lap I had done the chicken route and gone back and rode the technical line too. I decided to take the technical line as this would save me time, as long as I didn’t come off! This worked well and put more time between Alex and myself.

Knowing that Alex had done a lot of longer endurance races I kept pushing during my second and third laps to make sure I had a big enough gap between us. Once I felt comfortable I had achieved this I just worked on riding the fastest, safest race I could.  I was feeling tired by my fourth lap so had to ease off on the pace and look for the quickest line and not make any errors which would lose me time.

Overall I feel so happy with my performance I was relieved to cross the line in first place and although I felt tired I felt like if I had to,  I could have done another lap. My heart rate overall was an average of 170 and max of 183.


My lap times were more consistent than they have been which I am happy with. However this is something I still want to improve on. I finished the race 9 mins 48 seconds ahead of Alex who came in second.

The race took me 1 hour 34 mins and was around 16 miles long. Lap times: 17.46, 19.15, 18.55, 19.27, 19.29

Dad was happy with his performance too coming in 66th out of 93 riders in the open category. He thoroughly enjoyed his Father’s day racing and his Mercedes Vito Sport racing jersey I gave him! The Fathers day treat of a carvery on the way home was welcomed by us both after a tough but gratifying race.