British Cycling XC National Series Round 1 - RR23 Race Report.
9-10 April 2022, Bradford
The team travelled to Tong near Bradford for the first round of the National XC series. It was a tough, technical course with plenty of climbing, and the girls were pretty excited about riding it.
It was also the first chance to see how everyone was going at a national level after the winter and find out who had the legs after the CX season.
Aelwen (Juvenile Female)
Saturday morning, Daphne, Hannah and I did a course walk focusing on lines and the A-lines. I was really excited about the track as I felt it played to my strengths.
Then Daphers and I rode the course once practice was open. I was practicing the A-line through the rock slabs when I was wiped out by a woman from behind. I bashed my knee and shin on the rocks when I landed which really upset me, and I couldn’t practice anymore.
When Evie’s dad Kevin washed my bike off for me, he noticed two cracks in the frame caused by the crash. The advice from the team was it would be too dangerous to ride. I was gutted. [As a professional mechanic, there was no way I was letting Aelwen ride a potentially cracked frame. Google ‘catastrophic carbon frame failure’ if you want to know what can happen to cracked carbon – Han]
The team rallied together, and Joolze and Han used their bike industry contacts to find a loaner bike. This being mountain biking there is always someone willing to help out and the lads from Jungle Products very kindly said I could borrow a beautiful Santa Cruz for tomorrow’s race.
In the morning my knee was really swollen, stiff and sore. But I was really determined to get the series off to a good start. Off the line I had an okay start, but we soon caught up with the under-16's and I struggled to get through the traffic. Whilst stuck in fourth place for the first two laps, I had a clear run for the last lap and moved forward up to second – I was loving the bike and the course too! Crossing the finish line, I REALLY wanted to do another lap!
So it was a stressful start to the series, but I’m really proud of what I and the team achieved under the circumstances.
As for the course, it was my favourite ever to date. And yes, very sadly I had to give the bike back!
- Aelwen finished 2nd in the Juvenile Female category
Evie (Short Course and Youth Female)
Great weekend for the 1st national round of the season! I had a practice on the Saturday afternoon and really enjoyed the course in the mud - definitely one of the best courses I’ve done.
I also signed up for the short track race for later on the Saturday evening and had a great race (despite being the only girl) enjoyed the challenge and had a great time, can’t wait to do it again!
My very first national youth race was on the Sunday morning so it was an early start. I was excited to race the course and compete in a new category.
Was feeling a bit nervous for the start of the season but had a blast and super pleased to finish 11th!
Had a laugh after the race trying to fold up the tent with Becca and Daphne before watching the rest of the races in the sunshine! Overall had a great weekend and can’t wait for the next round!
- Evie won the female short course and came 11th in the Female Youth Category.
Becca (Youth Female)
My first race of the season and what an awesome course! Super technical and muddy but so much fun! Had a brilliant start and led going into the first single track, a couple of sketchy up and down hill moments within the 3 laps led me to 10th.
Overall, I was happy with how my race went, I was consistent with lap times and rode the A lines smooth and in control!
Massive thank you for all the support this weekend RR23! Bring on Newcastleton!
- Becca came 10th in the Youth Female Category
Daphne (Junior Female)
Last weekend I travelled up with the rest of the team to Tong in Bradford for the first round of the National mountain bike series.
The course was very technical, muddy and slippy so suited me very well and I loved every second of the race.
My first lap was very strong which I was happy about as I have often struggled with the high pace of the first lap in previous seasons. I then settled into a group of 3 for the majority of the race then I did get distanced on the last lap due to my legs not quite being there and a small mechanical but something to build on as the season progresses.
I came 8th in the end so was super happy with that as my aim was top ten going into the race and it was such a fun course to race proper XC. I'm really looking forward to building on this throughout the rest of the season.
- Daphne came 8th in the Junior Female category
Overall, all the girls raced well, and more importantly enjoyed themselves whilst doing so. It’s clear their technical abilities are improving, and that is helping with the racing. More confidence means you can ride faster and that is beginning to show.