Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Aston Hill race report

I was stupidly nervous. I hadn't ridden the course yet and had only spent an hour on my brand new bike. It wasn't fear of crashing, it was fear of doing badly, my sponsors are chilled, they understand that I'm gaining experience, but I was putting pressure on myself. I WANT to be good, and now with a good bike I have no excuses. This race was the race that, to me, would let me know where to aim this season, it was to realistically show my ability, and that bareness left me scared.
I got to Aston at about 0830 and walked the course. I met the guys from Aztec who immediately made me feel welcome and looked after. They checked my bike and changed the spring and even helped me with the push-up!!

The black run at Aston Hill is described as the most technical descent in the south east, I'd looked at YouTube vids but wasn't really sure what to expect. It started off long, straight and pedally, that pleased me because I know I've got a good sprint. There's some bomb holes that if you hit too fast and don't suck it up you get air and that's slower. After a bit of flat single track it suddenly becomes very rooty and very steep. I might use the wrong words in my descriptions here as I don't know all the terms, so bear with me! The steepness and rooty ness and tightness of the turns made it hard, it wasn't scary as such. Any ok rider could get down it, but getting down it fast was a trick to my mind, I didn't know how to or what to do. I was right over the back trying to lean hard into a corner and get traction, but at the same time wanting to unweight to allow the bike to flow over the massive roots. Some of the drops were about a foot and so tricky to understand how to do that fast on a tight turn. The course finished with a 3 foot drop with a steep landing, it was easy and fun to hit with a bit of speed, and then a final sprint to the line.

On my third attempt of the steep section I felt myself relax and was able to think about what I was doing and how to do it best. I wish I'd had more practice though, because it takes a long time to learn a 2 minute course and I wasn't really ever sure of what was coming next.

The 7 girls waited in queue together after introducing themselves, and we were chatting and sharing past expereinces until our go. 3 beeps and a couple of metres to clip in and then I went through the laser that started my timing. I went balls out. Half way through the flat section I had to sit down, I was so tired already! I went as hard as I could, I could hear my panting in my helmet, but could still hear people cheering for me and my hot pants! (such a show-off!). My arms, chest, thighs and calves burned before I finished, down hilling is going to take a lot of strength, fitness and core training. After the first run I was in second. I was so happy!
I hoped to maintain my position, I knew that first place was miles ahead and that third was only a second behind. Your fastest run counts, so I had to go faster or hope that third didn't go faster. Unfortunately for me I wen't the same speed and third place went 3 seconds faster to take second! Chapeau, she gave me a hug and we all walked back up.

I had a wicked time, my teamies the MuleBar Girls came to support me and we did a photoshoot after. It was lotsa giggles, lotsa fun and good to be out on a new bike, pushing my body and my knowledge with a bunch of my mates.

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