British MBS – Wasing Estate

photo credit: Tor Olav Kjøren

British MBS at Wasing Estate in Reading, a course I hadn’t raced before and having heard it was fairly flat and uninteresting I wasn’t expecting to like it. However after a practice lap I was pleasantly surprised, not much climbing but some great singletrack through pretty woodland (similar to Castlewellan in places though without as much wow factor). Until Thursday I wasn’t looking forward to racing, still having problems with super sore calves I knew I would be there making up numbers again which is no fun at all. Then I had 1.5 hours of deep tissue massage on my legs and the effects were miraculous, I still wasn’t 100% but only felt slight tightness rather than pain so went into the race with a bit of confidence for the first time in weeks.

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On race day my prayers for rain were answered and although it wasn’t quite muddy enough to slow the race down as I’d hoped, the singletrack had become nice and slidey making for some fun racing. I got an unusually great start and was soon into 3rd place sitting on Maddie Horton’s wheel. WOW, this is racing! I hadn’t had that feeling for so long, pain free legs and feeling strong, brilliant! For a couple of laps I was back and forth between 2nd and 3rd place with some great battling on a close course and several other riders hot on our heels. The twisty trails flowed really well with rain making wet roots and corners all the more interesting.

By the end of lap 2 Mel Alexander and Mel Spath had caught me and we rode together for a while. By this stage my calves were beginning to tighten again and I felt like they were reeling me in from then onwards. The two Mels got a gap on me when a junior crashed in front of me and I got stuck behind another one – one your were into a singletrack section it was very difficult to pass and then hard to close a gap. I could see them ahead for the rest of the race but couldn’t do enough to get back up there, instead enjoying the increasingly slippery trails and keeping an eye out for other riders close behind.

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Under normal circumstances I’d be annoyed for throwing away a couple of positions but 5th (results here) is a big step in the right direction and most importantly I got the race buzz back and feel like I can go at some proper training now and get back on track. What a relief. More killer massages this week will hopefully get me fully sorted, bring on the hills of Margam! Thanks to WXC once again and great to see the team dominating the podiums.
Check out the race video here.

Racing aside it was a very English weekend with tennis on the lawn, stonehenge, winsor castle, a tour of Cambridge, pots of proper tea and real ale. I like England. Identity crisis, haha.

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