This weekend has been the greatest reminder for me of why I want to have a go at this enduro racing malarkey. It was so much fun that each day ended with me just wanting to head back out and ride more, despite aching legs. First a little explanation of what had me smiling so much…..
Over the winter I decided it would be fun to have a little go at Downhill racing. I get so nervous before race runs I thought, the more I do the better. Taking part in a grass roots, off season series that weren’t in the discipline I normally do would hopefully mean I would put less pressure on myself. Frankly, I’m just not into beasting myself uphills enough for Cross Country, so Downhill was the only option.
I’ve done it, total success! I can now proudly call myself a marathon runner! It still doesn’t seem real. It was less than a year ago I lined up for my first 10km race and the thought of me running a marathon seemed like such a distant dream, something only ‘real’ runners could do and an almost impossible distance for me to achieve. Now, with a little bit of determination and a lot of hard work training I have done it. Best of all I even enjoyed the experience!
Life is full of challenges. Some we choose for ourselves, others are forced upon us. The difference between those who succeed in life and those who don’t, is how they choose to deal with these challenges. A lot of that will come down to the way each person thinks. This is where having a positive attitude comes in. I believe this to be one of the key contributing factors to living a happy, fulfilled, successful life. Let me try to tell you why in the most non fluffy and unpatronising way possible……….
To begin this post I would first like to apologise for my severe lack of content over the past month. I felt it would be best to offer some explanation so I shall briefly fill you in on where my life scheming plans have taken me now. I personally prefer blogs that give an insight to the writers life, it’s part of their appeal in my opinion and it will help to give the posts context if you understand where I’m at in my life now. So here’s a little of my latest story……..
“You looked like a startled rabbit caught in the headlights” – this is how my newfound buddies for the day later described my facial expression as I kitted up at the car on arrival. It is also how I felt! Though the UK enduro series events are also still new to the scene it felt like there were much bigger crowds at this race and with the fantastic setting in the grounds of an old private boarding school I was feeling a little overwhelmed. Luckily I didn’t realise until afterwards that the likes of Katy Winton, Greg Callaghan and Kye Forte were also racing or I probably never would have got out the car!
The morning of race day dawned with perfect clear blue skies and the most stunning drive up through Wales into the Brecon Beacons to find the quaint little village of Talybont-on-usk. The event organisers Trailevents had picked a great location here with all the facilities you could need all within easy walking distance. There was a small shop, cafe, 4 pubs, toilets in the village hall registration area and the campsite where we parked for a small fee of £5 also included a proper toilet block with hot showers – massive bonus!
The only thing marring this perfect morning was the return of the dreaded chronic nerves. I thought I had started to get them under control last weekend but they seemed to be back in full swing that morning. I’m putting it down to the race being over a much longer distance than my previous ones and only having ever run that distance once in training. I’m also beginning to learn, much to my own self denial, that I am quite a competitive soul so to just finish is not good enough for me, I have to do respectably well in my own eyes.
In a rather fine example of my superior prior planning skills the Sunday morning after my hilly Exmoor race saw me leaving the house at 6am for a nearly 3hr drive to the hills of Wales for my first mountain bike race! This was to be round 4 of the Welsh Gravity Enduro series at Affan forest parks’ Glyncorrwg mountain bike centre. Now I’m not going to lie I was pretty damn nervous about the whole thing, with no real idea what to expect having never even been to watch a mountain bike race and being pretty new to the sport overall. However one of the things I love most about mountain biking is the down to earth, friendly, outgoing people it attracts.Bringing all these people together in a shared love of the slightly crazy sport of hurtling down a muddy, rooty, rock covered, big hill as fast as possible sounded like it could make for a pretty awesome day out. So off I went…….
On the overcast, drizzly morning of Saturday 20th February I joined approximately 30 other female mountain bike fanatics for a day on the trails at Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire. This excellent opportunity to meet not just other like minded ladies but also the talented 2014 Downhill World champion Manon Carpenter was the brainchild of the team at Strongher.
It is with great pleasure that I formally introduce to you all my new super bike, Stumpy.
Or to give my beauty its formal title – Stumpjumper fsr expert carbon evo 650b.