Cooksons were heading up to Whinlatter on Sunday for the Whinlatter Challenge a 30mile enduro round Whinlatter Forest. I have been to Whinlatter once years ago before they built any trails and before I was a cyclist. It seemed a good opportunity to try riding somewhere new. Just after 7am the boys collected me and we headed up to the lakes into constant drizzle, not my ideal weather. Arriving with plenty of time we wandered down to sign on and I realised it was reasonably warm. So I made the descision to race in shorts, jersey, arm-warmers and knee-warmers. I was a little worried I was underdressing but not cold waiting at the start.
When we got to the start there seemed to be hundreds of people there ahead of us, so we got as close to the front as we could and made our way through the traffic on the first fireroad climb. I soon lost sight of Shaun and Chris but kept my own pace up. I had no idea how I was going to get on and my main aim was sub 4hours and my ideal was 3hrs30.
As soon as we hit the singletrack we were riding at less than walking pace, a fact that annoyed two lads near me who tried to push past everyone. But after that we were pretty spread out and on the whole I didn't get stuck too often behind people.
Two girls came past me early on riding for planetFear and they looked fast. I just kept at my own pace as I didn't want to blow up on the hills. The other thing I was aiming to do at this race was take on a gel at least once an hour, preferably a little more. I managed about one every 40minutes in the end which I was pleased with but finished my water, probably needed a camelbak one bottle was not enough for 30miles. But I've got used to the fact I hardly drink on the bike (I know something I need to change!)
At some point I passed one of the planetFear girls and a little later another girl I hadn't seen earlier so must have started further up the bunch than me. I saw a lot of a couple of people I knew in the race and near the end started to pick off the odd target.
I enjoyed the course, which was very hilly. But felt I was rubbish downhill, not sure if that was just because it was slippy!
I finished in 3hours 30minutes and 11 seconds. I was so pleased!
Average Heart Rate was 169bpm
I was 4th female and 120th out of the 342 that finished the full distance.
Thanks to Ed Rollason for the photo