When I saw this 4 day stage race in the calendar, aptly named the Mediterranean Epic, held about an hour north of Valencia in a place called Oropesa del Mal, I instantly thought that it looked like a great early season opportunity to escape the Scottish weather, race some really strong girls and on some brutal and rough terrain. Only 4 massive mountainous stages… how hard could it be?! I’ve never done a stage race before but have always fancied it as I love big days in the saddle and back to back days too. This fitted the bill perfectly and, not to go on about it, the weather in Scotland was making it very appealing to escape!
The toughest thing for me about racing is definitely the getting there and as this was going to be a longer trip than usual, I wasn’t comfortable asking people to take time out of work to support me. However, never one to let a barrier get in the way and knowing that nobody stage races without a support team, I thought ach… I’m sure it can be done and I will prove to myself it can be!
When I first see a race in Europe I want to do, the next stage is always the logistics. Can I afford it, am I looking at the right town (Valencia in Spain not Valencia in South America :-)), what hotels are close to the venue, how comfortable can I go without blowing the racing budget, is breakfast included (VERY important), is my hire car big enough to fit a bike, how far from the airport am I, are there toll roads I need to budget in, where is registration, do the stages start in the same place, can I find someone to take my jacket and kit on the start line, is my bike race ready, what tyres will I need, what’s the weather there going to be like, do I have all my nutrition…. the planning takes ages! I often feel like the racing is
the easy part and the stuff nobody sees is where the work really is!
Kerry MacPhee is a professional mountain biker from the island of South Uist in the Outer Hebrides. The first woman athlete to represent the islands in the Commonwealth Games – and only the second islander to be so honoured. Kerry Macphee receives financial and dietary support from Loch Duart Salmon in her attempt to win in the mountain bike event in the European Championships in Glasgow August 2018.