Maxine Filby News 2010 Archive

Merida Brass Monkeys - Round 1
28th November 2010

On one of the coldest days of the year so far we headed to Porridge Pot hill, Deepcut for the first round of the Merida Brass Monkeys Enduro series. As Pete has been away most of the year and missed out on all the fun we thought this would be a good place for him to catch up on some of the action and to break up my winter training a little. I was also test riding a shiny new Scott Spark that Baines Racing had kindly organised for me to try, I thought a good Gorrick course would give me a good indication on how the bike handled. We were running a little late so didn’t have time for nerves or a practice lap. We rushed to the start line and lined up near the back thankful we’d at least made it on time. It was a lovely happy and relaxed atmosphere, the gun went and we started pedalling, it was really good having Pete next to me chatting away. We hit the first section of singletrack and I heard a little ‘uh oh’ from Pete behind me, his freehub was playing up but he assured me it would be fine. I carried on believing he was right behind me when I heard an almighty crash, “Oh no” I thought that has to be him (he has a small reputation for big crashes!) so I jumped off my bike and ran back and was very relieved to find some other poor soul rolling around in agony! Pete then caught up and announced he had to pull out, his freehub had finally given up the ghost. I left him at the crash site with the stricken rider (later I found out he was ok other than a bit bashed and was able to carry on). Not wanting to spoil my fun I was told to keep going and give the bike a good test. The course was fab, lots of swooping singletrack with some tricky descents and short sharp climbs, a typical Gorrick course. It was such good fun, I couldn’t believe it when I came round for my first lap and the commentator announced I was the leading female, I was having far too much fun. Pete dashed out of the pit to give me some encouragement, a drink and homemade flapjack and off I went with a grin for some more fun. I managed three fun filled laps and finished just over the allotted 2 hours in first place. It was a great event and I’m really looking forward to the next one, hopefully Pete will have managed to fix his bike by then!

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Roc d'Azur - Women's Race
9th October 2010. Frejus, France

Having enjoyed the 53km Roc d'Azur race so much in 2009 I returned to Frejus to have a go at the women's race on the Saturday followed by the Roc d'Azur on the Sunday. I travelled to France early in the week so I could relax and spend some time riding bits and pieces of the course to make sure I was happy with how I was feeling. I lined up on the front row and was gridded 23rd which was a bit of a surprise but a pleasant one at that. The atmosphere on the start line was electric with big crowds and music playing. We were counted down from 15 seconds to the start and when the gun went off there was a surge forward by the front group. I settled down into the top 20 as we left the arena. As we headed out on to the road section I felt my rear tyre lose grip and it became quite obvious that I had picked up a puncture. I jumped off and filled my tyre with an aerosol sealant and continued on. After this unscheduled stop I was pretty much in last place as so had my work cut out trying to make up as many places as I could. The course was quite challenging and to pass other riders as quickly as possible I was forced to the sides of the trails which put me very close to the surrounding undergrowth. It came as no surprise that I picked up another puncture yet this time I had run out of gunk to inflate my tyre. I resorted to changing the tube for my first spare and this lost me many of the places I had gained since last stopping. When I set off again I was determined to still make some of the places back. The course became rocky and technical and I was enjoying it immensely even though I was frustrated at having to ride from the back. I came to fast descent that I recognised from last year which had some particularly rocky drops and I managed to end up pinch flatting both front and rear at the same time! After more repairs I was on my way again but at a much slower speed having pretty much given up on the finish I was hoping for. I was very relieved to make over the finish line even though I was an hour off my target time. I learnt some valuable lessons that day and I'll hopefully be returning next year a lot wiser.

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Women's Team Series - Round 9
11th September 2010. Coalville

Following a respectable result at Darley Moor with the Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta team I was invited to join them for the final round at Coalville in Leicestershire. The team were the topping the series standings and needed a solid finish to seal the 2010 win. The 80km race was made up of four loops of undulating countryside and wind added another to the challenging race. The main tactical instruction I received was to go with an breaks and to make sure there was always at least one of us in the front group. Early on there was a break by three riders and they managed to make a gap to the rest of the pack. Motorpoint were working hard on the front to close the gap and when I took my turn at the front I ended up pulling away from the others with only one other rider coming with me. Even though we were from rival teams we worked together trying to catch the leaders and not get caught by the pack behind. We managed to hold our position for the remainder of the race which was quite hard work and when it came to the finish I got pipped in the sprint by a couple of bike lengths. I was happy with a 5th place finish as I was the first Motorpoint rider to cross the line and I can say I played a part in sealing victory for the team.

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Women's Team Series - Round 8
27th August 2010. Darley Moor

I was very kindly asked if I would like to ride for the Marshall Motorpoint team in the penultimate round of the Women's series. I accepted as I thought it would be good experience and a fun bit of training. I was with a great team of girls who filled me in on tactics for the race. There were 32 competitors and one thing I'm still not used to riding on the road is the closeness you ride to each other so it took a few laps for me to gain some confidence. I settled in and kept an eye on my team mates to make sure I was in the right place at the right time. I was feeling quite good, there were a few attacks but the pack worked to reel them in. It looked like it was going to come down to a sprint finish. I tucked in behind one of my team mates on the final lap and moved up the pack we came round the final bend and the sprint began. I managed to stay with the front group and finished a respectable 10th earning my first road ranking points; not bad for a mountain biker!

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National Championships
17th July 2010. Pippingford Estate

The highlight of every British racers calendar, the National championships, the one everyone wants to win. As it's still my first year at this level I had set myself the target of finishing top 5. The course at Pippingford contained a little of everything, short sharp climbs, an awesome descent with berms and jumps and an extra steep climb leading to the finishing straight. It was a good course although not quite scary enough for my liking!

There was quite a decent number of us lined up at the start and I was feeling quite good. The gun went and we were off, three girls went off really fast and I decided to try and pace myself as it was going to be a long race especially with the sun beating down like it was. My first lap went well, I rode everything cleanly and had settled into a rhythm. I kept an even pace and felt strong, I could see the girl in 4th just ahead of me and decided to try and catch her on the last lap. Half way round the lap I could feel my body start to cramp, I slowed a little to try and stop major cramp then pushed hard again. I could see the last climb ahead with 4th position just in front of me then as I came to climb the girl in 6th caught me; I had nothing left for the final climb. I was gutted when all I could do was spin up the climb as she crept past. I finished a very tired 6th, not too bad a result and a solid base to work on for next year. Top 3 next time!!

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British Mountain Bike Series - Round 3
29th May 2010. Margam Park

After the disaster of the last round of the BMBS I was determined to show how I'd improved. I set out on my practice lap looking forward to whizzing down the great descents at Margam Park. The sun was out and the track was fast and dusty. The climbs were tough but that's what Margam is all about so I really couldn't wait to get out there on race day. As I opened the curtains the following morning the sun had disappeared, replaced with grey skies and driving rain. I didn't panic as the trail was so dry the day before it was hardly going to get very muddy now was it?! Luckily I had decided to change my front tyre to a something with a bit more grip and this was just as well because as soon as we hit the singletrack I discovered just how slippery it had become. Even the more experienced riders in front of me were struggling to stay upright so I knew it was going to be a challenge. As we made our way down the first of the descents we all hit the deck; I couldn't believe how little grip there was. Then when we got to the fire road I decided to dig deep and get ahead of the pack I was in as I knew I was faster than them through the tricky singletrack. By the time I'd reached the next descent I had managed to pull a little bit of a gap but it was short lived as the mud made it seem like I was riding on ice. I went flying off the bike, landing in a heap next to it. As I began to pick my bike up a young guy from the youth category did exactly as I had only he landed on top of me and my bike. I felt something dig into my leg but didn't really think much it. We both got up and he tried to separate his bike from mine but unfortunately luck wasn't on my side again. Unbelievably his pedal had become stuck in my front wheel with my chain ring stuck the wrong side of his rear tyre. I eventually had to take my front wheel out of my fork to free his bike and by the time I'd got myself in a position to ride again I was dead last. I couldn't believe it; I mean how much bad luck could I have! I set off determined to get back into the race. As I went through the first lap I could see the other riders in front me and set about trying to catch and pass them. I had noticed my knee starting to ache a little, as I looked down at my leg I could see it was covered in blood which didn't look too good. It wasn't affecting my riding though so I chose to carry on and see what I could do. Slowly and surely I managed to pass some of the other riders to get myself up into sixth place. I finished just about in one piece which was an achievement in itself; I have never seen so many riders falling off, it was like a Charlie Chaplin film although nobody was laughing. As I took a closer look at my injury after I'd finished it became apparent it was a pretty deep slice into my knee and required yet another trip to A&E. A few stitches later and I'm off my bike for a few days rest. It's was most definitely worth it though, my highest placing in a National Elite race. Roll on round 4!

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Southern XC - Round 2
23rd May 2010. Pippingford Estate

I had decided to do the Southern XC round this weekend instead of the Midlands Champs race as the Southern used the same course as the one that is going to be used for the National Championships in July. For a change Pete was home so he was racing as well and I was looking forward to a good day. The weather forecast was set for a scorcher which suited me fine. Unfortunately my body didn't feel the same way when I got up that morning; I had bad tummy cramps and really didn't feel right. But it was such a nice morning so we decided to go down to the race and I was sure I'd get better as the day went on. I was doing Pete's bottles for him so had a relaxing morning lying in the shade as it was too hot (yes that's right too hot!) to be in the sun. He managed a credible 25th, which is not bad considering he hasn't been on his mountain bike since Dalby. He came back with the view that the course was pretty tough and I headed out on my practice lap with this mind, taking it easy and saving my energy. I felt quite weak but it was such a good course I decided to race. There were only three of us lining up for the Elite race, a bit of a shame considering it was such a good course. I started well but as we hit the first climb I felt the strength drain out of me and I soon realised this was going to be a bit of a slog. I tried to keep on even pace but eventually riders started to pass me, it was the worst feeling knowing I just didn't have the strength to respond. I managed to finish a very tired second but looking back I probably shouldn't have raced. I just couldn't resist having a sneaky go round the Nationals' course although I now know for next time; if I don't feel quite right to stay under the duvet at home.

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Gorrick Spring Series - Round 5
16th May 2010. Frith Hill

After the disaster of last weekend I thought I'd go and have some fun at the final round of the Spring Series. The Gorrick races always have fab courses and a good standard of racing. I arrived early so I could get in a practice lap, the course didn't disappoint with tight single-track making up the majority of it plus a few short sharp climbs and some quick descents. There were only four of us in the Expert category although this included World Cup cyclo-crosser Gabby Day; I set my aim to stay with her as long as I could. Gabby hasn't been racing mountain bikes for long but is such a strong rider she's taken to it rather well! I got a great start and managed to be the first rider into the single track but I could hear Gabby right behind me. I was trying to stay as relaxed as I could and let the trail flow but that's easier said than done when you have another rider breathing down your neck. As soon as we hit the fire road she came storming past but I was determined to stay close to her. I was closing the gap in the single track only for her to pull away again on the fire roads, it was very frustrating. I definitely need to work on my power output on the flat! I eventually finished just 80 seconds behind her in second place which I was pretty pleased with and again had lots of things to take away from the race. An added extra was that I had won the Spring Series overall so all in all a much better weekend. My thanks have to go to the Gorrick team on organising such a great series with fantastic courses that are so much fun.

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British Mountain Bike Series - Round 2
9th May 2010. Wasing Estate

I was really looking forward to this round of the British MTB Series. I was feeling quite confident after the World Cup that I have improved a little and closed the gap to the faster riders. I completed a practice lap which was made up of twisty single track, lots of rooty sections to catch you out and one big bomb hole which had a scary drop in. Thanks to Ian's help after Dalby I tackled it with a renewed confidence. I couldn't wait for the race the next day but before that I had been asked to be a part of the Dymond Allstars Relay team along with Billy-Jo Whenman, Steve James and Matt Page. They're just as competitive as me and we were going to go all out for the win. The relay consists of a 2 minute sprint round a loop with each member doing two loops. It was fast and furious; we were just pipped by the XCracer team. It was such good fun and a great way to start the weekend.

Race day arrived and I warmed up, my legs were feeling good and I was pretty excited going into the race. We were called to the start line and I managed a great start and settled into about fifth spot. I relaxed into the course and flew through the bomb hole and headed for the first part of twisty single-track. As the track began to rise I felt my saddle start to creak. I had been having problems with the clamp on my seat post so Pete had treated me to a new seat post that I had fitted earlier in the week. I put the creaking down to the post being new but then disaster struck as I took a corner my saddle flew off complete with clamp. I jumped off and scrabbled in the undergrowth for the clamp and began to try and fix it. Riders began to go by and I could see all my hard work going down the drain. I eventually managed to get my saddle back on only for the same thing to happen a few minutes later. We'd been told at the start that you had to be within 20% of the lead rider's time to stay in the race but I had wasted so much time and still couldn't fix it. I made the decision to pull out; I was absolutely gutted. After calming down I reflected on what had happened and have learnt some valuable lessons. Always use Loctite on Ti bolts then check, check and check again. And finally, when something goes wrong rather than wasting tons of time trying to fix the problem I should just get myself back to the pits as soon as I can. I guess this race will just have to be put down to experience!

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UCI XCO World Cup - Round 1
23rd-25th April 2010. Dalby Forest.

The week leading up to this weekend had not run smoothly. Pete was meant to get home on Monday morning giving him plenty of time to help prepare my bike and me. Unfortunately the Icelandic volcano didn't understand how much I needed him back to help and kept him firmly stuck in China. A few frantic phone calls and I'd managed to persuade my mum to come up with me to help with keeping me calm and doing my bottles. More phone calls to John and Geoff at Baines Racing meant they could help out and give my bike a final once over to make sure everything was in order. So I was finally off to my first World Cup, something that this time last year hadn't even entered my head. It was less than a year ago that I was at Dalby doing my second national race in the Sport category and I could never have dreamt that a year later I would be back here competing with the best riders in the world. I was completely overwhelmed and kept getting star struck when I spotted riders such as Christoph Sauser and Gunn Rita Dahl, it was truly crazy!

We arrived on Friday in plenty of time so I could sign in, even that was a task, after a long queue I got my numerous passes allowing me access to the course and my helpers into the feed zones. I met up with Jessie Roberts of WXC racing team for a practice lap. We're both pretty similar in standard and it was so nice to go round with someone who was as nervous as I was. We had decided to just tackle the more technical parts of the course for that day and do a couple of full practice laps on the Saturday. We had a quick warm up and made our way down to the infamous Worry Gill, which is a near vertical drop with a quick right handed berm leading to a rocky gully. It looks very scary and there were lots of people milling around to see how the riders tackled it. I had been up to Dalby earlier in the year so I knew I could do it. I slowly pedalled up to the drop-in and popped down, very relieved to make it through in one piece. I had another couple of goes down it just to make sure it wasn't just luck that had got me through that section. Next we moved on to Medusa's Drop, as I've already mentioned, I'd been round the course earlier in the year but unfortunately I'd had a rather big crash on this section so was extremely nervous. It comprises of a couple of rooty drops down a very steep hillside. Jessie and I stood at the top watching riders go down so we could see the best line; we were both debating whether or not to take the chicken run (the easier but longer alternative). Another couple of riders came by and I thought I'd give it a bash, I mean I'd got here so I might as well give it a go. I entered into it slowly and picked my line I managed to get down to nearly the bottom when I made the fatal mistake of looking down and that's just where I ended up! It sounds silly but tackling it gave me the confidence to try again this time I remembered to look where I was going and got down it without a mistake, it was such a good feeling. Finally we went to a little rooty drop between two trees; it was on a flat piece of the course that took you up a little incline round a tree and over the drop. I'd done the two most difficult parts of the course so this should have been easy. Unfortunately I just could not get my head round turning to go down the drop. Corby from Columbia Bikefood race team was marshalling and gave us lots of advice but my mind would just not let me get over it. I then managed to fling myself over the handle bars, thanks to Corby for picking me up and making me laugh. Both Jessie and I decided to leave the drop and try to tackle it again in the morning. I went back to the B&B quite frustrated, how on earth could I do the scary parts but get stuck on a relatively simple section. To take my mind off it and to entertain my mum we went down to Pickering Town centre where the Pro Sprint Eliminator was taking place. Some of the riders were racing round the streets of Pickering which made for an electric atmosphere and there were so many people there to watch. It made me excited that I was actually here, part of the whole World Cup thing! When we had finished cheering the British riders home we set off for an early night in as the nerves were definitely taking over.

I woke up in the morning feeling very nervous as expected but finally had some good news though; Pete had managed to make it back to the UK so he could come and watch my practice lap and make sure everything was in order with my bike. I was very lucky to have Ian Warby from Firecrest Mountain Bike skills up there; I managed to pick his (skilful!) brain to help me get over my mind block at the root drop. He came down to the section and talked me through it and just like that, I managed to conquer it! I couldn't have done it without him there, so I owe him tons of thanks! I did a couple of complete laps riding the technical parts cleanly and not pushing too hard on the climbs to save some energy for the race tomorrow. Pete gave my bike a quick once over before he headed off to do the Dalby Dare. This was the part of the event where those who weren't able to compete in the World Cup got to ride the course with an extended loop. It was advertised as a challenge and not a race but it looked very much like everyone was racing to me. I went over to watch at Worry Gill; I was almost as nervous about Pete doing it as I was doing it myself. I knew he hadn't been out on his bike much and being delayed on China meant he hadn't even done a practice lap. He finally came round, he looked very calm as he just pootled up to Worry Gill and popped down it, so smooth and calm. I was massively impressed and very proud as there weren't many people going down it at all. My mum and I wandered back to the car to wait for him to finish, all of sudden he appeared. He'd crashed on the dual slalom section and had decided he didn't want to risk himself anymore. I was just so proud he'd had a go; I think he's rather looking forward to the BMBS going there so he can have a go when he's a bit fitter. We got an early night ready for race day!

I slept surprisingly well, I think knowing that I could do the technical parts had given me a lot of confidence. We arrived with lots of time so I could do a good warm up but I was still so nervous; I had a whole family of butterflies in my tummy. I did my warm up and made my way to the pens ready to be called to the start. There was quite a crowd building up, they called my name and number, hearing it over the loud speaker and people cheering made me smile and just enjoy the moment, I mean this was a World Cup. The gun went and we sped off. Avoiding crashes and other riders was quite a challenge but I made it through in one piece. I settled in behind Jessie and began to enjoy myself. Coming into Worry Gill I heard people cheering for me, it was amazing, and I made it down cleanly. I decided to make a push on the flat to get pass Jessie as I knew I had to gain some ground on her as her climbing is much stronger than mine, I got alongside her and then hit a rut which flung me right over my bars and the tape that marked out the course, not great! I quickly checked my bike; it was still in working order although my hand felt a little grazed but nothing too bad. I jumped back on, furious with myself, why could I not have just waited, instead I'd lost a load of time being stupid. I had to be careful not to make any more mistakes. As I approached Medusa's Drop I could hear the crowd, there was just so many people, and it gave me such a lift. I kept pushing, I took it lap by lap just trying to stay in, I was finally pulled from the race with one lap to go (you have to be within 20% of the leaders time to stay in the race). I was so pleased and was just bouncing, I had done it, I had raced in a World Cup, awesome!! Immediately Jessie and I were discussing which other rounds we could make it to. As I went back to the car to meet Pete I pulled my gloves off to reveal not a little graze on my hand but a big swollen bruise, oops!! A trip to A&E showed it was just bruised, phew!

I had an amazing first World Cup experience and I am now planning to do another before the end of the season. I finished 78th and 5th British girl, not bad for only my second year of racing! My thanks goes to everyone who helped organise such a fantastic event, the crowd whose cheers kept me going, the guys at Scott who lent me a seat post when my died on the Saturday, to Ian for getting my body to win over my mind and my mum and Pete for putting up with my nerves!

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Midland XC - Round 1
18th April 2010, Hanchurch Woods.

I thought I'd combine a visit to my mum's house up in Cheshire with a race at a fantastic venue. Both Pete and I had done this race last year and loved the course, Pete declared it as his course of the year, so I was really excited to be going there again. As it was the week before the World Cup there were a few International riders there, I was glad as it would give me a gauge of how I compared with the riders for next week.
I wasn't disappointed when I did my practice lap, the swoopy single track and tricky root sections were all still there, it was fast and dry. The lap went surprisingly quickly and I wasn't surprised at all when it was announced that we were to do five laps. I was feeling good so was quietly confident of a good performance. We lined up on the start line for a very long start straight, we would certainly be all sorted out by the time we hit the singletrack. The gun went and we were off I tucked in behind Jessie Roberts and Catherine Vipond (Canadian rider), I was pushing quite hard. As we hit the first climb Jessie and Catherine pulled away a little. My climbing isn't all that great but I told myself not to panic, I'd done a lot of work on my technical skills so was hoping I'd catch them again as we hit the more technical singletrack. As I came round the corner on to a fire road before the tricky sections I managed to push myself to get past Jessie. Catherine had disappeared off into the distance but I kept pushing just in case anything happened and I could catch her. I loved the course and managed to get into the all important flow, it was a great feeling and I felt strong. The five laps seemed very long but I was extremely happy to get another second under my belt. I was still ten minutes behind the leader but felt so much stronger, hopefully everything is beginning to fall into place just in time for the World Cup!
Many thanks to James and Nadine for such an excellent course, can't wait to get back there next year!

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Southern XC - Round 1
11th April 2010 Wasing Estate.

I was quite looking forward to this race as it was at the venue for round 2 of the British Mountain Bike series so I'd get a sneaky preview. I went to pre ride the course, it was fab, twisty single track with a big bomb hole drop. I wussed out on the drop taking the easier ‘chicken run' although I promised myself that I'd do it when I returned for the BMBS. It was a little muddier than I first thought it would be so I had to do a quick change of tyres before going to the start line.
There were only three of us in the Elite category, Rossara Joseph and Carla Haines being my competitors. I was aiming to try and keep up with Rossara for as long as I could. The start gun went and I went hard from the start, I was in front for a minute or two when Rossara inevitably whizzed past, I was really pleased with my start though and settled into a rhythm. I loved the twisty singletrack then pushed hard on the short sharp climbs. The big clay climb defeated me and I had to run up it all four laps. I hate running and would much rather ride everything but it was so soggy and slippery I had to jump off. I felt strong for all the laps and was delighted to finish in 2nd place, 15 minutes behind Rossara, A long way to meet up but not impossible. Now back to training hard for the World Cup in two weeks time at Dalby Forest.

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British Mountain Bike Series - Round 1
Sherwood Pines, Mansfield.

My first Elite race, only a year ago I had stood on the same start line ready for my first ever national series race in the Sport category. As I stood at the front surrounded by some of cycling's finest women I really did wonder how I'd got here, my heart was hammering in my chest and I was feeling seriously nervous. Was I up to it, had I done enough/the right training? I had pre ridden the course the day before, I knew it wouldn't really suit me, it was flat and going to be fast, no scary descents and killer climbs to slow anyone down, I was still looking forward to it though and was going to give it my best shot. Before I could fret anymore the starter called 15 seconds to go, the starting gun went and I powered into my first pedal stroke straight into the girl in front of me, she hadn't got her cleat in and had come to a stop. I quickly resumed, very cross with myself for not choosing a clearer space on the grid. By the time I had got going the faster girls had already pulled a gap I managed to overtake a couple going out on the fire road, I knew the gap was too big to the main bunch and I was going to have to settle into a pace rather than killing myself to catch up. I settled in behind a rider I had raced last year, we exchanged places for the first few laps. On the fourth lap I was beginning to suffer I went to grab one of my gels from my shorts but found that they had slipped out, luckily the Carla the girl I was riding with had a spare and generously gave it to me, it's the one thing I love about the sport, we're all so competitive but willing to help each other, I guess it's because we know we're all in the same amount of pain! Unfortunately the gel had little effect and my legs began to tie up with cramp and tiredness, as I came round for the last lap I felt slightly better and pushed on again, I had to settle for 12th, which for my first Elite race I wasn't too disappointed with, I hope by the end of the season I'll be battling further up the field. Now it's back to reassess my training and see where I need to improve for the start of the Southern series in a couple of weeks. I can't wait to get back out racing again!

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