So I finished up university on Tuesday and after a wee night out, I headed up to Fort William for the second round of the British Downhill Series and my first race of 2014.
It was looking a bit cloudy when we arrived and by the time I had headed up to the woods section to walk the course, the rain was torrential! Unfortunately the guys from 2:1 Racing were unable to make this race, so I was repping alone for the weekend, luckily I had Jamie there to keep me company (and do the bike fixing bit...).
Practice kicked off on Saturday morning while the rain continued with occasional cloudy breaks. The main lines at the top of the track were feeling good, a lot of work had been put in by Nevis Range over the winter making the track smoother in places. The last time I rode at Fort William was the SDA finalising the 2013 season and the track had been been battered all summer, so it was feeling great compared to that weekend! The wood section was tough as always in the wet. Very muddy, slippery and rooty with the deepest rut I have ever seen in my life that spat you out onto the fire road - if you could hold it! Saturday went well apart from a couple of mental break downs and a wee crash that left me with a pretty colourful leg...I was so nervous! Hannah from Flare Clothing Company had the stand set up in the pits and they did a great job of pep talking me through the weekend as well as kitting me out with a lot of clean race jerseys!
On Sunday there was a good few hours of practice in the morning then the racing began. There was a stacked elite field...lots of big names rocked up for some pre world cup practice and I was so proud to be able to race with them! My qualifying run didn't go to plan and unfortunately I had to push down half the course due to a flat tyre. Jamie helped me get the bike fixed up (as always!) and after another encouraging talk from Flare I set off for my race run. The race run felt much better, the top section felt quick and although a bit slow, I got through the woods clear. I finished up in 6.21 which is my fastest time on that track which put me into 8th position over all in the elite female category. I'm happy with a top ten and I'm now looking forward to climbing the ladder to those podium places. This was my first race on the Specialized Status and I was really happy with it, despite a lot of people saying I was "hard core" to be running shorter forks...I loved it, so thanks again guys for your support!
I'm also excited to announce that I have been selected to race for Team GB at the UCI World Cup in Fort William, which will be a great experience this year! Although my season is a little short due to the student loan running out, coach James from High Rise Bike Skills is working hard on some serious training and I'm looking forward to seeing my progression now that I can concentrate on cycling.