This is where it all began last year as a total beginner i took on Langdon Hills in the National series, a huge shock to the system as i felt i was semi decent on a bike until i sore the speed and power of the other girls and realised some serious training was needed if i was going to make something of racing!
So a year on it was with excitement and frustration that i entered the Mud Sweat and Gears round 7 at Langdon Hills, excited to go back and see how dramatically my riding had improved but frustrated as a month out with a knee/hip injury meant i was not in the best shape and feeling anxious about whether i could finish the course.
Leaving home at 6 i had lots of time to think about the course and i felt i could remember enough to not need to ride it, to save my knee for the race.
I arrived as the sun came out and felt good about my decision to go out steady and to just finish the race to collect the points even if i came last all i needed was a couple of points this would keep Mel (EHFRacing) and Jenny (Fareham Wheelers) from over taking me in the Sport category ranking.
We lined up on the start line and were told we had to do four laps, i was only expecting three but during warm up had not had any issues with my knee so put the thought to the back of my mind and focused on the race ahead.
We went off in a mass start with all the other women’s categories which was an advantage as it kept as bunched up the first hill and allowed me to settle into third place out of the five riders in my category. On the first section of downhill single track a crash out me into second position and i pushed hard hoping to loose Vanessa (Arrow Cycles) and put some distance between us, which i did however being a bit out of shape the push i had, had to give meant i didn’t have enough to shake her completely and she caught me up and over took. I was determined not to loose her so pushed on sitting on her back wheel looking for somewhere to over take. I new after the next section of downhill there was a long flat section where i could potentially get ahead, unfortunately when we got to this section i pushed hard and my knee started to hurt which immediately sent alarm bells ringing, this wasn’t the plan i had set out with i was meant to be finishing the course not charging off on the first lap! With three and a bit to go and knowing there was a large hill to come i had to ease off completely and watch Vanessa disappear.
After a moment of feeling annoyed i decided to just enjoy myself, i had to push through the pain, as the physio had told me im not doing any damage its a case of pain management i pushed as mush as i could and then eased off this tactic seemed to work and i was soon on my last lap feeling good and with only a small amount of pain to contend with, crossing the finish line i felt great for achieving what i set out to and really happy that my knee seemed to be better than it had been. I cooled down and put some ice on my knee. I had decided to tape it and really feel this helped support it.
I came third overall which was a brilliant result and one i had not expected, this puts my total points at 560 placing me in fourth position, which considering i missed all races in August i am quite pleased with!