• Hannah Collingridge

Welsh MTB XC (R4) & Midlands XC Series (R2) - RR23 Race Report.

Updated: Jul 28


Aelwen Davies gridding alongside XC World Champion, Evie Richards at the Welsh XC Series Round 4, Monmouth

19th July 2022


Out racing again in the heat were Aelwen and Daphs. Top racing tip this weekend was parents with water bottles and small children with water pistols. Crucial strategies. Last race for both girls before the national Champs so ideal for a leg sharpener. Whatever that means.


 

Aelwen (Juvenile Female)


Aelwen Davies alongside XC World Champion, Evie Richards at the Welsh XC Series Round 4, Monmouth

Last weekend we travelled Monmouth, the same venue as used at the National XC Series last year Round 4 of the Welsh MTB XC Series.


The course designers Jon and Lynn have put a huge amount of work into the course since then, so that it rode smoother and faster but still felt natural.


We arrived on Saturday as dad was helping with final course marking, so we had a peaceful evening camping on the hill with stunning views across Herefordshire.


Sunday morning there was a buzz around the venue I've not felt at the previous rounds. This was helped by the gorgeous weather and the surprise visit of none other than the current XCO World Champion, Evie Richards turning up!


At gridding it was a lovely opportunity to chat with both Evie and Ella McClean-Howell (Tofauti Everyone Active).


On the gun I had a good start and managed to hold Evie’s wheel for the first few minutes, (almost) to the top of the hill.

But on the descent she dropped me, and I didn’t see her again LOL!


The weather by this time was extremely hot, so mum was at the top tech-feed-zone with drinks and dad at the bottom with open bottles of cold water for cooling. The 3 laps flew by, and I was hoping I could get a sneaky extra lap in, but Liz (Chief Comm) suggested I stop because of the extreme heat.


I loved the course which was easily the best I’ve ridden all season, with its super-fast single-track, twists, turns, bump, jumps and drop-offs.


Only three more races left for the season. The National Champs next weekend in Scotland and R5 of the Welsh Series and the Welsh Champs.


- She doesn’t actually mention it in the report, but Aelwen won her category. I wonder in years to come whether Evie will look back at the race as the one where she beat Aelwen Davies... who knows. Legs duly sharpened for the Champs.


Incidentally, team support coach Max Gibbons was also at the race and also won his category. Nice work, Max. Good to see him get through a race without injury or mechanical.


 

Daphne


Daphne Jones, Midlands XC Series, Round 2, Eastridge

On Sunday I raced Round 2 of the Midlands XC series at my local trails at Eastridge.


The course had long rooty climbs and fun technical descents meaning it suited me really well.


The main factor to contend with on the day was going to be the heat (was probably the hottest conditions I have ever raced in).


I started steady as I knew pacing was going to be vital to prevent things such as heatstroke or dehydration occurring. I took on drink at every opportunity and also had my mum in pits giving me extra water as well. The main cooling down tactic came from the U12s of Mid Shropshire Wheelers who stood in the pits with water pistols (and they were a proper life saver).


I managed to pretty much nail my pacing and was catching riders throughout the race and finished feeling strong. I came 1st Junior so super happy with that - it’s also my first MTB XC win of the season.

Legs and form felt really good and I felt really good on the bike. I'm really looking forward to National Champs now next weekend. Also big thanks to Mid Shropshire Wheelers for organising such a good event.


- Well done on the win Daphs. Legs also sharpened and don’t worry, girls, it is forecast to be a lot cooler at the Champs with possibly some rain.


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