This was probably the best race I've ever had. From heavy rain all weekend the course was damp and I was certain that the start line would be similar to cycling cross to race on. We went round the course which was slippy on the rocks but pretty similar to what I'm used to. When we got to the first A line I watched a few people do it then did it myself to find out it was fine.the next A line was easy which we didn't stop to look at however the B line was quicker so I decided to race on this line. The rest was simple although I had to practice the muddy hill as I struggled to get up it as it was so slippy! The course suited me well because it contained a lot of hill. On the first practice lap I took the down hill drops slowly however the next lap I fell off here and badly hit and injured my knee so decided not to ride this in the race because if I fell of in the race it could lose me a lot of time. After a few practices of the next A B C lines I discovered the C line was quicker so decided to race this.
On the day of the race I just practiced the small single track start trail a few times and found a secret quicker line up the hill that could potentially save me some time. I had an awful start and had to really sprint to catch back up with the group where I got into fifth. From here I used the line I found and moved sneakily into fourth where I gradually gained some time on the hills and moved in to second. But on the down hill I dropped into third after getting stuck behind some u16 riders but back on the up hill I moved back into second and got quite a big gap on the other riders. On the next lap I rode on my own and maintained my position for the rest of the race and managed to get my first ever podium position at a national race, finishing in second.
By Isla Mason