Well what a week it’s been… The weather has been its usual indecisive self and teasing us with odd days of glorious sunshine to then a quick change over night to torrential rain and snow, but I guess that’s the highlands for you.
The Macavalanche was a mechanical nightmare with tyres off of rims and a busted free hub, but that’s Glencoe for you. Brutal and unforgiving! Still the Scottish people are always willing to help and rally round to get you going again. This is definitely one to do. Sliding your bike through the snow is a definite highlight, just hang on get yer leg out and whatever you do .. Don’t touch the brakes!! Though I walked away (my bike was unrideable) having a pretty rubbish race, the people and location of it really made up for that, well worth the 10hr drive up there.
Then for the next couple of days we just drank tea and watched come dine with me whilst listening to the rain hammer down on the chalet roof, I never thought it was going to stop! We ventured out a couple of times just to spin the legs and after being tipped off by a Scottish Viking workman, we even managed to find a couple of sneaky enduro lines near where we were staying. These were ace fun as the lines traversed through beautiful woodlands and crossed a hidden stream that was just stunning. By Wednesday the weather man upstairs decided he’d grace us with two days of beautiful sunshine so I headed over Fort bill and rode and sessions the course as much as my arms and bike would allow too. As usual I took a couple of dodgy lines that resulted in a bent mech and a heckle, that will teach me! Fortunately we managed to get half of the gears running which was great as I could keep practicing. The course truly is brilliant and really isn’t for the faint hearted, though not crazy technical it’s just the abuse your arms get and weather you can hang on for the whole ride. A couple of the top riders turned up early to practice and it just blows me away how quick they are… just amazing!
Friday was a rest day but still ended up hanging around the race site, was good to catch up with everyone. Then our luck would change and the weather really took a dive as the wind was gusting at 70mph on the tops, which meant no gondola access. Pretty gutted but I guess it’s probably for the best as I went to bed that night dreaming about being blown off the board walk. Though a lot people were saying that we’d just be racing the lower section there was still a hope of doing the whole thing and I went to bed that night prepared to finally experience racing at Fort Bill.
But unfortunately this was not the case and with a fresh dumping of snow at the top it was deemed to severe for the marshals, which is fair because it looked bloody cold up there. It was very weird atmosphere at the race, a lot of disappointed folk and also a ton of people went home. It’s tough one as it a long ol way there and you’ve paid the money to be uplifted etc but for me personally I’ve been thinking about this race since last year and if I only get to ride the bottom at least il know that section for the next I head there. With the shortened course we has a 30 min push up which was ok, it got you warmed and also a chance to chat with other racers and listen to their near misses on the start chute. This was bugger as you went from stand still straight into a steepish mud chute that had a couple of small drop off at the end, it was basically a matter of go in slowly and let the brakes go.
Typically I rode this beautifully in my two practice runs but then in my race run I was all over the shop and resulted in one foot being un clipped for the majority of the race. Stupid bloody pedals…. Finally after getting my foot back in I just pedalled as fast as I could to the finish, legs were screaming by I just kept going. I didn’t attempt the two funny double so just pedalled through the best I could… probably looked like a right plonker but from I could see most people were struggling getting through these. I think even the elites were casing these so that just shows they need to practice more! I actually couldn’t quite believe it when I managed to hold on to the hot spot, with Becci and Lucy behind I knew that they were very strong and had done the jumps but fortunately the pedalling paid off and I crossed the line with a responsible time and my first BDS win of the year. Stoked!
It was so good to see Mick and Liam, you guys had me crying with laughter on Saturday night at dinner and this really made me so much better about the race… laughter always helps. With Mick walking away with a 3rd it really was a fantastic day for TRG racing though we were all gutted when we found out about Liam. Really hope you get better soon but to be fair having a sling round your neck when your holiday will definitely get the ladies fussing over you! Thanks for everyone’s support and it felt good to wear my new jersey at the race. Will see you guys at Llangollen in two weeks….. Gulp!