• Hannah Collingridge

British Cycling XC National Series Round 5 - RR23 Race Report.

Updated: Jul 20


Team RR23 battling it out at the British Cycling National Series Round 5, Cornwall

25-26 June 2022, Woody's Bike Park, Cornwall


The final round of the XC series. What a season! Full of ups, downs, wiggly bits and the odd jump, literally and metaphorically. The final course was a banger – technical downs with rock gardens and drops, plus a lot of fun bits with berms and jumps but then hard uphills. Fitness and technical skills both play a crucial part racing here.


Here the girls reflect on racing at Woody’s and their season as a whole.


 

Aelwen (Juvenile Female)


Aelwen Davies, British Cycling National Series, Round 5

After the disappointment pulling out of Round 4, I was looking forward to a strong performance at Round 5.


The weekend didn’t get off to a great start, as we had mis-placed the wheel axles but thankfully we borrowed Paul Oldham’s (Hope Factory) for course practice. Having already done a course walk first thing I was happy after 2 laps.


We had a great evening as a team. Dad was cooking pizzas for everyone plus there was lots of chat and laughter.


Sunday morning was bright and breezy, and the heavy rain that was forecast stayed away.


Thankfully Nick Craig (Scott UK) had leant me his axles for the race.


On the start line I was feeling a bit nervous but my coach Max came and had a chat giving me reassurance that I would be fine.

On the whistle I had a good start, letting Zoe lead us into the first singletrack descent, but I took the lead to control the pace until the final climb where I tucked into the lead group of 5.


On lap 2 I re-took the lead attacking the descent and where we became a group of 4. And, on the gravel climb before going back into the arena, I picked up the pace leaving just Daisy with me starting lap 3. Daisy and I worked well together pulling further away. At the bottom of the final climb I picked up the pace once more, pulling away for a solo win.


Crossing the line I was feeling happy and emotional and I dedicated my win to Gareth.


So I finish the series with 2 wins, 2 seconds and a DNF finishing 2nd overall in the series. Congratulations to Zoe Roche (WXC) on her series win and to Daisy Wilkinson (Edinburgh RC) for her 3rd place. I’m really looking forward to the championships next month.


Huge thanks to Paul Davis for his time and guidance over the weekend, to my team and to my coach Max.


- A great race with cunning tactics employed. A cracking season from Aelwen with lots of very competitive racing with the other top girls that has been very exciting to watch (except the DNF which was more heart-breaking). First in the race and second in the overall – brilliant.


 

Evie (Youth Female)


Evie Strachan, British Cycling National Series, Round 5

Wow, what a great weekend at Woody’s for Round 5 of the National XC Series!


The team and I did the course walk and practice on Saturday and I loved the course straight away. It was definitely a challenging course with the long climbs and super challenging downhill sections. I really loved it, the A lines down the descents made it one of my favourite courses this season!


Race day was on Sunday and what a day it turned out to be! The start was on a grass slope so would be a good uphill sprint from the line.


As I went to sprint from the line my chain slipped and came off my cassette and jammed causing me to have to run up to the pits to get it fixed. After it was fixed by some great helpers I was dead last with a gap to the rest of the group.


I set off as fast as I could to catch the group and make up some places. I managed to see the group as I came onto the first climb so pushed hard and began coming through the riders towards the back. I tried to keep pushing my pace throughout the lap and eventually reached the top five riders going into my second lap! I was still feeling good and made it into 5th but as I came into the first A line I over shot the jump and crashed over the bars losing a few positions again - and a bar end!


I quickly got back on and set off again and I didn’t let the issues phase me. On the last climb of the final lap I was in 4th and closing on 3rd. I had emptied the tank and given everything pushing up the hill to the finish and holding on to 4th place!


I’m super proud of my efforts and loved every minute of the race! I ended up finishing 4th in the series which I’m really happy with since my target at the start was to aim for a top 10 for my first year in the youth category!


I loved all the races this year and proud of all my efforts and can’t wait for champs!

- So, 4th in the race and in the season. What a great year. Well done, Evie. Also note, never get in the way of Evie when she’s on a mission.



 

Becca (Youth Female)


Rebecca Woodvine, British Cycling National Series, Round 5

Saved the best till last, Woody’s!


I struggled with hay fever and headaches all week leading up to Sunday so tried to not put too much pressure on myself. Woke up Sunday morning, did everything I usually would on my race day and had a good strong warm up.


Was aiming for a good start and I’m happy I delivered it, however I got to the first climb and struggled, a lot. I knew mentally by the second lap, that I wasn’t performing as my normal self, so ended my race early.


Looking back, I had a really positive race, smooth on descents and gave it my all. Time to rest up and go hit champs with a bang!

My season as a whole had its ups and downs to say the least. From struggling with illness and exams to having the best race buzz of the season at R4, I’m proud of myself. I may have put too much pressure on myself all season to do well and may have got slightly too nervous

at some rounds but it’s all about the learning curve.


Massive huge thank you to all the sponsors in supporting me and my teammates. In the first 6 months with the team it’s been mental but amazing! Bring on the National Champs!


- Sadly, not the best way to end the season for Becca but, as we’ve said before, that’s racing. It can be properly rubbish at times as well as the best thing in the world. And as she so wisely notes, lots of things to learn from for the coming races which is such an important thing. Eighth overall in the series.



 

Daphne (Junior Female)


Daphne Jones, British Cycling National Series, Round 5

Last weekend me and the rest of the RR23 crew travelled down south to Cornwall for the last round of the National MTB series.


During practice on the Saturday I felt good and was loving the course, the jumps and berms meant it was right up my street from a fun point of view.


The race itself on Sunday started well with me finally having a decent start (still lots of improvement to go, long way till they are up to Becca’s standard).


During the first two laps I was going well battling around 5th / 6th positions but started to slip back on the third and by the fourth it was fairly obvious that I had bonked. However, on reflection it became evident to me that it was fuelling prior to the race and not during it that led to me fading towards the end of the race.


Overall, I loved the weekend and had a great time racing and riding bikes and have plenty of learning points to develop on moving forward into Champs.


Series recap: WOW! What a National series it has been. There have been some lows but some incredible highs which have made it all worth it. This year’s series has taken us all over the place. Up north to Scotland, to the good old Midlands and right down south to Cornwall, allowing us to travel to new places and see some stunning views.


I think it’s fair to say I have surprised myself a lot this season and have achieved more than I thought was capable. I started the season aiming for top ten results, and finishing it not being satisfied with top ten as I now know I have capable of more. This is a massive development point for me.


My stand out performance has to be round 3 at Fife where I managed to squeeze my way onto the podium with a 4th place - I was over the moon with that one.

My favourite course from a fun factor has to be Woody’s – I absolutely loved the berms and jumps. From an atmosphere point of view Cannock is the stand out with the local crowds, chain saws and Giraffe. To summarise, it’s been an awesome series and I can’t wait for one last smash out at champs to conclude the season. BRING IT ON!


- 10th for Daphs in this race and 7th overall in the series. That’s certainly a lot more than a vague desire for ‘top ten’. And her technical ability and general steeliness has also improved which always helps with the fun side of things. I’m sure we’ll see a lot more development on that side as well as her constant desire to improve her starts.


Overall, what a season. So much excitement watching the girls race and develop. A lot of this is new to us all, support team included, except for wise old Paul, so it’s been a huge learning experience for us all. Lots to think about and develop for next season, but of course we have the national Champs first.



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