British Cycling XC National Series Round 3 - RR23 Race Report.
Updated: May 19
7-8 May 2022, Lochore Meadows, Fife
Off to sunny Fife (no, really) we went for round three of the National XC Series. The mid-way race of the points series and a very different type of track from the previous two rounds.
This was going to be close, fast and furious racing with sprint finishes in most categories including the girls’ races.
Aelwen (Juvenile Female)
Going into round 3 of the series I was really pleased to be in joint first place with Zoe [Roche, WXC Racing], and this was a great opportunity for me to take the series lead.
On Saturday morning I did the course walk with Dad, and we broke the course down into race and recovery sections, rather than technical difficulty. In my mind, I had a race plan. As the lap was rather long and took longer to walk then the time allowed, l missed a fair chunk of time from course practice so could only manage two practice laps, which was fine.
The morning of the race, I was okay physically, but felt amazing in the new team kit.
I had a great start, but pulled my foot out of the pedal during the sprint for the first corner. However I managed to recover and take the lead going into the first singletrack as we left the arena.
I managed to control the race leading from the front riding my own pace, with Zoe and Mazie seemingly happy to follow. On the final lap l put a big attack in on the climb but Zoe managed to hold my wheel so I knew it was going to come down to a sprint finish back in the main arena.
Going into the final wooded singletrack section I seemed to lose all energy, and when we entered the arena I wasn’t able to hold Zoe’s wheel, and contest the sprint. Still, very happy to take second and that leaves us close in the rankings for the rest of the season, too.
I’m already looking forward to round 4, Cannock in a few weeks’ time. Before then, I will make my only appearance in the National Youth Circuit series this year next weekend at Oulton Park. And the weekend after I will race Round 2 of the Welsh MTB-XC Series having missed round 1 due to other commitments.
- Aelwen came 2nd in the Female Juvenile Class so her third podium of the season in XC.
Evie (Short Course and Youth Female)
I had a bit of a rollercoaster weekend up at Fife for the 3rd round of the National XC series!
During our long journey up on Friday my Mum’s car started to have problems on the motorway which looked like it would stop us getting to Fife. We decided not to turn around and instead try to get to Fife and then find a garage. Luckily we did get there because I ended up having my best race of the season so far!
On Sunday morning I felt good and couldn’t wait to race in the new team kit! Our sponsors Schwalbe let me warm up in their tent before setting off for gridding. I had a good start off the line, with me and Becca setting off 3rd and 2nd.
I felt strong throughout the race and kept a good pace throughout the long laps and had fun down the descent and along the single tracks. I reached my final lap still feeling good so I
instigated a final sprint towards the line with Tulsi [Bakrania] from WXC - who also raced amazingly.
I loved the excitement and gritted my teeth all the way to the line and was super happy to finish 5th! [It was a very exciting and close sprint finish].
Overall loved the weekend and super grateful for everyone who helped me and mum throughout the event and got my bike up to the race, massive thanks!
- Evie came 5th in one of the exciting finishes in the Female Youth Race.
Becca (Youth Female)
R3 of the National XC was interesting. Starting the week off ill and ending with exams was not going to be the best race prep. So I went into the race with an open mind trying not to put any pressure on myself to do well. It must have worked as I managed the best result of my season so far!
Had a great start [scorching start – ed] and then just settled into a rhythm. On lap 2 I started to see a group of four girls in front and my aim was to catch them. However, I got caught behind a group of the U14 boys on the downhill which left me stuck behind them until the road section and by then the girls had gone.
On lap 3 I left everything on the course, fighting for positions and trying to catch anyone close.
I finished the race in 8th which I’m happy with! I had consistent lap times and a strong last lap so very positive. Got a busy May now with racing and mixing it up, can’t wait.
- Becca came 8th in a very hotly contested Female Youth race.
Daphne (Junior Female)
Last weekend me and the rest of team travelled up to Scotland for round 3 of the National MTB series.
The course was fast and hard but with plenty of tight technical places which could catch you out if you weren’t careful.
The start was fast and I was near the back of the field heading into the first lap but kept calm knowing that it was a long race and that endurance would be key for the course.
During lap 2 I started picking my through the field and then found myself in a group of 3 battling out for positions 4th through 6th. Then on the 3rd lap I managed to break away from the group and from then I just pushed on to the end whilst trying to keep calm so not to make any costly mistake. I managed to hold on to the gap to finish 4th.
Absolutely amazing race on a super fun course and my best result of the season so far and what feels like my best race ever.
Loved every second of the close wheel racing and can’t wait to go again in a few weeks’ time in Cannock.
- A very excited Daphne took 4th in Female Juniors and stood on her first podium of the season (Juniors have five on the podium due to UCI rules)
Also ‘racing’ was Daphne’s dad, Duncan, who decided to enter the open race seeing as he’d come all the way to Fife with Daphers.
National XC MTB is rightly serious and should be approached as such. However, the Open category race, which used to be called the Fun race should be just that. An opportunity for all the "all-so-rans" to experience a national course under race conditions. So when Daphs said, “Hey dad I think you could ride this course,” I jumped at the chance.
Can I ride a bike - yes, am I enthusiastic - yes, do I have well developed skills and bike fitness - no. Do I believe folk over 50 need to keep moving forward and try new things - absolutely.
So I raced in Open and throughly enjoyed it. I didn't break any records, no I was never going to. [He also didn’t break himself which was also of concern – ed] What it did reinforce was just how much skill, fitness and determination Daphs, Becca, Evie and Aelwen have. So if you are at loose end on the Saturday of a National, why not enter the Male or Female Open, just for laughs and a little bit more.
- Duncan was 12th in the Male Open category.
Well done, Duncan. We have to add that Duncan wasn’t exactly dressed for XC either in his enduro pants, and if his lap times stretched out a little the official Duncan Jones fan club started to get concerned that he’d got carried away examining plants in the woodland. But it all added to the fun of the weekend.
Overall, a cracking weekend away. Some good hard racing from the girls, more lessons and tactics learned. Let’s see what they get up to on their home ground of Cannock next round.
Huge thanks for Schwalbe for letting us commandeer one of their easy ups for the girls after we failed to find a way of getting the RR23 tent up there.