Since we hadn't got there till 11ish the wait to rider briefing didn't feel as long as it sometimes does and I was soon wandering over to the start line. I said I had no intention of lining up at the front but since I was chatting with Jase and Dave that is where I ended up. It meant I spent the whole run with people going past me but probably gave me a better start than if I had started further back.
Out onto my first lap and I didn't get stuck in too many queues for singletrack. It felt like I was riding a couple of sections too hard to keep my place, but on the climbs I just span to recover. I came through with 53minutes on the clock in first place. No stopping for me as my sister did a perfect handover and Ali was further along to pass me food. This continued for four laps where I was gaining time. Someone said I was a lap up but I hadn't noticed any other female soloists yet.
After four laps I had a brief stop to go to the toilet and then it was back on the bike and out again. The course was so dry my back was really struggling, I was trying to stretch it on the bike and started doing more climbing stood up which seemed to help. But the course was so rough it was a case of just putting up with the pain. Another three laps and I was slowing down but looking forward to it getting dark. I stopped, changed and put lights on the bike and then it was back out.
I kept going and although I slowed a bit and walked more of the hills I was still lapping reasonably consistently.
Before I knew it I was out with two hours to go, I was four laps up so I knew this was to be the last lap. I took my time, thanked the marshalls, chatted to people. Lurked for a bit at the end and then crossed the line just after 2pm. Joolze kindly interviewed me straightaway so I probably was making no sense at all. Not looking forward to that video popping up somewhere.
All that was left then was to wait for the podium and let Ali and Helen pack up.
Back to Helen's for Pizza and then I was put to bed since I was falling asleep.
A fantastic race and so hard, unsure at the moment if I want to do another one but I think I will.
Lots of people to thank:
- Ali for being the best pit bunny in the world
- Helen for the bed, extra food and perfect bottle handups
- Chris at Cookson Cycles for the loan of the bike (you did notice the gears in all the pictures?)
- Mike for the loan of the MaxxD (So generous seeing as I only met him once at Gisburn)
- Squirt Lube for keeping my bike running
- The marshalls who kept me going through the night
- Cookson Cycles for all the support and advice (oh and putting up with me talking at them everytime I go in).
- Minx for help with clothing - no one else seems to have such a great range of womens bike clothes.