• Hannah Collingridge

Cannock Chase Winter Classic 2022 - RR23 Race Report.

Updated: Mar 8



Sunday 27th February was a bright, slightly breezy day on Cannock Chase. The course, which had been laid out in hail on the Thursday, had dried out and instead of unrelenting slop the ground was dry to tacky, and very fast to race on.





Welcome to the start of the XC season with the Cannock Winter Classic. It was also the first race for the new RR23 team. Becca was away working hard at the British Cycling National School of Racing meeting, but the other three girls were out in force. It also happened to be Daphne’s 18th birthday so there was plenty of cake as well. How did they get on?


 

Evie


"Sunday was my first race of the mountain bike season and also my first race in a while due to not competing in the cross at the end of last year. I was super excited to finally be out racing (especially for the new team) and I couldn't wait to try out the new kit - which was amazing by the way - and finally race on my new bike.


I felt nervous for the start, but it became excitement as I lined up on the line.

I loved the course as it was challenging due to its long laps and climbs, but I also enjoyed the single track sections (some of my favourites over the chase). I had a good start and managed to get away quickly with the front group. I felt I kept a quick pace up the hills which allowed me to get round a lot of people who had started in the earlier men's groups.


Half-way through the first lap, I went too fast into one of the corners which caused me to hit a tree and come to a stop, making me lose a few positions as my teammate Aelwen and some others got past. I chased the group back putting in slightly too much effort on the first lap tiring myself out a bit too much, but I recovered on the first section of the second lap and ended being able to put more power in the third lap and finished with a sprint to the line.


I'm super happy with the result especially for racing in the adult woman's category and super proud of the whole team for making it onto the podium, especially Aelwen who went on to win our race! After finishing, I attempted to hand a cupcake to Daphne as she crossed the finish line but it didn't go to plan - so the team enjoyed them after as a recovery treat! Overall it was an amazing day with a great atmosphere and good weather luckily."


Evie came 2nd in the Female Enthusiasts.


 

Aelwen


"Today was my first MTB-XC race since the Welsh Champs held last summer, and so it was great to be back at it. After a good night’s sleep we travelled to Cannock in the morning and met up with Evie and Daphers. Becca was away on an NSR, so it was the three of us for our first race as a team.


The sun was shining through the trees and there was a great atmosphere with Matt on the decks and Joolze and Han on the mic.


I was asked to sweep the younger riders’ races, so it was a good opportunity to recce the course.

It rode fast but still had slippery sections to keep you on your toes. There were wide sections for overtaking and twisty single-track through the trees. It was mint!


I was slightly nervous on the start line as last time I was in Cannock it was the Nationals and I had a slight off on the first lap which ended up a trip to hospital with a suspected broken wrist. But once I got going all this was forgotten and I was loving it.


My race plan was to do more consistent lap times, as this was a weakness of mine last year. Out on course I was held up in the singletrack sections a few times at various points throughout the race, so I wasn’t quite able to achieve my aim.


Overall, I was pleased with performance and look forward to the Dirty Nocka where I’ll be teaming up with Becca, in a few weeks’ time."


Aelwen came 1st in the Female Enthusiasts.


 

Daphne



"Getting to race on your birthday is always a bonus and was made even better by getting to do it with my teammates on a fantastic course.


The race was fast and furious from the start and I struggled a bit to find my rhythm which showed me I need to work on my top end speed a bit.

However, I came into my own in last 2 laps and managed to pull back some places and get 2nd Elite. My favourite part of the course was the second half through the tight singletrack. Lots of cake was also consumed after the race."


Daphne came 2nd in Female Elite


 

Overall, a great debut for the team with some hard, fast racing, some gritty determination, a close encounter with a tree or two, and lots of sunshine and cake. The team was immensely supportive of each other, and overtook those in front of them with great politeness and consideration. The support team were most proud.


A fantastic day out all round. Roll on the next race.

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