When I went to the national MTB event at Aske Estate for R3 of the National MTB series. I was very nervous. We arrived on Saturday I went for a practice lap straight away with my friends and the first thing on the course was a massive hill and then a steep downhill corner followed by a very rocky section. After that it was the first A line which was a small drop and then a steep down hill. I managed to ride all the A lines in practice but the hills were steep and long and I didn’t think the course really suited me. There was something like 194 metres of climbing per lap and we had to do 3 laps in the race. It was quite a hot day on race day and I took it easy off the start as i knew the big hill would be difficult. I managed to stay mid pack all the way through the race gaining time in the technical sections and losing a bit on this hills. I managed to clear both log jumps which pleased me as obviously my bunny hopping practice had paid off. I came 32 and had to hold off a late charge from one of my closest rivals in the series.
I found this course really tough but i was pleased to hear that everyone had found the climbing really hard too even Evie Richards. I learnt that pacing yourself on the first lap is really important and having some fluid as the race was over an hour was a good idea. I now always take around a third of a bottle with me just in case.
When I went to the national MTB race at Dalby we left on Friday instead of Saturday like we usually do because we took the caravan as my Mum and my brother were coming with us as well. The course had been used for a World Cup in 2010 so I thought it would be quite difficult. The weather forecast said it would be very wet, so it would be muddy and slippery.
On Saturday while I was waiting for one of my friends to arrive Isla and I went on the skills track over the road and my dropper post broke so we went back to my dad. After a while my dad found out the cable had come loose so we tried to fix it but the cable came out of the lever and the end was frayed so we replaced the cable. When we put the new cable in we pulled it too tight so it was like the lever was being pressed so the saddle went down on its own. We eventually figured this out so we let the cable off a bit then we went on our first practice lap.
The course had two parts but one was much longer than the other. The first bit was a very good section with lots of flowing single track but as it was very wet and raining it was very slippery. Also just before a slippy hill there was a series of rock drop off which were massive The second section was a Brilliant one because there were three jumps in a row and then 4 burms then another 2 jumps after that the trail led onto a fire road with a rocky uphill that was really steep and intimidating but I managed to do it first try. Then there was a split where the a line was straight with drop offs and the b line was a zig zag with burms and I did the a line straight away but on my second practice lap I did the b line because it was quicker also most of the a lines were easier than the normal course.
On the race day( Sunday) it was very sunny and warm however it was very muddy. I got a good really start coming round the first section in 16th place way ahead of some much older and faster riders. I managed to keep going coming into the finish arena with 2 other riders. I started my sprint really early and one lad just gave up but I got piped by the other one. I got my best result yet 22nd and I really enjoyed the course. It was a really fun course and probably the best one so far. The next National race is the National Championships at Cannock and I’ve already been practising the rock garden which is normally part of the course. Isla also did really well and finished on the podium in second place…well done Isla she had a really big smile.
By Sulli Berry