Emma looks back on her first race of the year...
Sherwood Pines?...it must be race #1 of the British National Mountain Bike Series! After a disappointing season the previous year I was focussed on moving up the ranks of the elite field. A vitamin D test in October showed optimum levels (not bad as I was severely deficient in March 2012) and I was feeling good and training harder than I have before. Then my knee started playing up, got worse and at one point I could only ride for 10mins. So completing the Sherwood race six weeks after my first physio trip was a huge achievement since all my hard training had fizzled away due to barely being able to ride for more than 30mins and me not being able to give Coach Potter an indication of how long I could consistently ride for.
Whilst no stranger to racing in the same field with her, it is lovely to have a team mate now in the guise of Ruth Owen-Evans, so that we can spread the word and hopefully show everyone the results of being under AQR Coaching tutelage. The only one thing I am concerned about is so far, whenever I’ve stayed anywhere with Ruth it’s snowed.......I hope this doesn’t continue!
After donning numerous layers and a warning from the commissaire about the slippery first corner, due to the unseasonal alpine looking dump of snow that had blanketed the area, the race was under way but at a seemingly more sedate pace than normal. My lack of training over the recent weeks soon became clear whenever the going got tough or uphill, however I was loving the flowy singletrack and having fun pinging my Soda’s back wheel off of roots. I’d opted for yellow lenses in my Sunwise sunnies and it was giving the impression of a nice sunny day which helped the mood, even in the arena where the underlying surface had churned up and it was like riding through glue; the sunnies also stopped the invariable watery eyes due to cold.
The inevitable happened on lap 3 however, about 200m from the finish line, and I was lapped by the leader so my race was over. As I’d entered the pits just prior I’d seen another girl in my category and was spurred on for the chase, however this time it wasn’t to be and she was also pulled from the race even though not lapped.
Whilst not my best performance I did get to put a few things from my AQR Skills days into practice; firstly riding in the snow/on slippery surfaces (that was the other time with Ruth when the Peak District was blanketed!) and secondly adapting my race start, which I thought went well considering. Most importantly though, I finished the race which is more than can be said for some of the other riders. This is just the start of the season, it will no doubt be a long one and things can only get better aboard my lovely Cotic Soda under the watchful eye of AQR Coaching.