Jamie and I headed down to Ae Forest on the Friday afternoon and set up camp after a wee off road excursion in the landy. The track was looking really nice and dry and featured a bit of everything mtb - off camber corners, jumps, a technical wood section and of course the famous Ae step down.
The weather was great all weekend, although the midges had an absolute feast during the cooler parts of the day. After an amazing sleep on the friday night I was feeling fresh on Saturday morning for practice. I really noticed my progression on this track during the course of the day, I was happy with my riding and felt pretty good about everything on course. I almost lapsed into my "nerves of doom" race mood on a few occasions but managed to keep it reasonably cool, I guess time and experience will help with that! My Specialized was running great all weekend although it came to my attention that my shock is currently set up for a 16 stone male...so there will definitely be some spring changes and major adjustments before the next race!
Saturday evening was so much fun, a group of us had a BBQ that included marshmallows, "doggy poo surprise" AKA barbecued banana with chocolate and some other interesting food experiments! Sleeping didn't go so well that night as there was some seriously loud party music going on until 4am across the field but practice on Sunday morning still felt good.
My seeding run was smooth but steady and I popped into 8th place with 2.47. My race run was pretty scrappy in places but I managed to improve on my time and hopped up into 7th place with 2.44. I'm pleased with this result, although I'm still 11 seconds off that podium I've made progress and coach James from HighRise reckons we can make up that time!
This weekend told me that it's going to be a long journey and will require some patience but I'm determined to get onto that podium next season. Although I'm not racing as much as the others, this year will be used to gauge where I am within the elite category and give me plenty of time to train and come into next season stronger, fitter and faster.
Next weekend I'll be representing Great Britain at the third round of the UCI World Cup in Fort William!! Very excited for the experience...but a little nervous!