Adventures of the Cotic - A Quick Release holidays mountain bike race team

Monday, 20 June 2011

Bristol BikeFest 2011: 3 podiums!

Bristol BikeFest 2011: Kirsty, Rachel, Ruth by James Dymond

The Cotic-AQR team had a fantastic weekend at Bristol BikeFest, now in its 10th year, with 3 podiums in the sunday races! Even the rain didn't dampen the spirits and there were smiles all round on Bristol's ace swoopy singletrack :-)

Ruth & Kirsty - 3rd in female (and mixed!!) 6hr pairs!
James & Matt - 3rd in male 6hr pairs!
Rachel - 2nd in 3hr solo!

Rachel reports below on her first race since her big injury back in March

After over two-months off the bike due to a fractured pelvis this was to be the first race of my debut season racing for Cotic-AQR holidays. In fact, this was less of a race and more of an experiment; I’d only had the go-ahead from Anne Dickins, AQR physio, to get back on the bike a week beforehand. The advice from Kate was to go out and use this as a training ride going steadily over the first couple of hours and then doing some interval training in the last hour so this ‘race’ was much more about riding for 3 hours than it was actually going fast or worrying about the competition. I chose to ride my (well, Kate’s actually) KP24; not only is the bike beautifully light and responsive, it also provided me with much required cushioning for my poorly bits and allowed me to sit down and pedal on some of the rougher stuff when my leg strength didn’t allow me to stand up and power through.

The race didn’t start well. I still can’t walk long distances without limping so running up a hill in bike shoes wasn’t ideal! With Kate’s voice in my head I tried to be sensible I didn’t rush into the race, allowing the traffic in front to pace me. I completed my first lap in a very modest time although my inability to press ‘start’ on my watch meant I didn’t know exactly how long it had taken. I allowed myself a quick stop to remove my waterproof and set out on lap two. With less traffic I got into a better rhythm, and tried to maintain a sensible pace. At this stage the mud was playing havoc with my gears so I stopped to clean and lube my chain as well as change my bottle. Lap 3 went well although my legs were starting to hurt somewhat. I was really pleased how I was riding the course actually managing to catch people on the two long sections of swoopy singletrack. I completed lap 3 knowing that to complete two more laps I would need to lap 3 mins quicker than my current average, even without stopping that would be close. Lap 4 went well, despite the pain from unfit legs and lungs and I squeaked in just in just over time. My final lap would need to be my quickest if I was going to do this, as I’d got a bit held up on some of the singletrack I was fairly confident with a clean run I’d make it. The final lap was great and I hardly got held up at all, until right near the end of the course when another ride veered into me. Desperate that this wouldn’t blow my chances of getting over the line in time, I grabbed my bike to jump back on only to find my saddle at a very odd angle. I quickly yanked the saddle round and hoped it wasn’t going to be too far out of position for the remainder of the lap. Complete with crooked saddle I pedalled as hard as I could up the final two climbs and made it over the line with 40 seconds to spare, phew!

So, I’d made it – over the finish line (achieving my first goal of completing the 3 hours), completing 5 laps and pleasingly onto the podium in second place. I was delighted to finally start, let alone finish, my first race for the Cotic-AQR team and I certainly enjoyed my post-race recovery cheering on my team mates in the 6 hour event.

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