I was extremely enthusiastic to win the silver medal at the British Championships at Cannock Chase by Stafford. Despite the fantastic outcome, the process itself was very grim and painful.

While I was training for Cannock Chase I had struggled a bit with allergies in the woods.  I have had to regulate my breathing several times and found it very challenging, physically and mentally.  It was a battle of the mind that I can only describe as a silent protest with my physical self.

I had found that filming for BBC Alba with Calendonia TV – Barra to Butt, did however keep my mind off of Cannock Chase.  I had stopped training for this for around a week or so to cycle on the most ‘off the beaten track’ routes on mountain bikes, taking in the sights of the islands, starting on Barra and heading for the Butt of Lewis.  I felt a bit unprepared for the British Championships at Cannock Chase with little structured training around my filming time.   At Cannock Chase, I was in complete agony and I could not find a second gear when I was cycling to the finish-line.  I held on however, and I was completely relieved.   

The whole time I felt like 3rd place was closing in so I had to dig very deep during the last lap. I always remind myself that if I’m hurting then everyone else will be hurting too. It is funny how uncomfortable you can make yourself and how negatively your mind wanders when you are struggling.  Ultimately, your mind overcomes these obstacles and you just push through it.

It was great to share a podium with the illustrious Annie Last, World Cup winner (1st in 20 years for Great Britain) and Joanne Clay had a brilliant race to take third.

This weekend couldn’t have been more different for the final British series race in Builth Wells, Wales. It was a brilliant course- punchy, techy and some great features like log drops, steep shoots and drop offs, and I had a lot of fun riding in 2nd with Ffion James and actually loved racing. Once she snapped the elastic after 5.5 laps.   I allowed myself to enjoy the final lap knowing we had a big gap to the 4th. I felt much better than at the British Championships, mostly due to banking some good training, shedding 1 or 2 of the extra kilos I’m carrying and just focusing on being grateful to get to race.

The day before the race, when the course is open for practice, it had rained heavily and the course was an absolute mud bath, making it nearly impossible to stay on the bike, but the beating late afternoon sun soon dried up the mud and the course was super fast. The commissaires  added an additional lap 3 minutes before we started because of this! It was a good shout in the end as we did indeed finish around the 1hr 30min mark.

I’m now looking forward to the final World Cup race in Val di Sole in Italy at the end of the month and a few late season races including the Scottish Championships. It is now time to get planning and nailing the logistics!

 

16th August 2017