In this new series I’m going to be looking back at the major races of 2023; giving you the low down of how the race went, what I learnt along the way and some tips if you want to try racing.

One of the many reasons I race a bike, is so that I know how it feels when I’m coaching. I’ve experienced the highs and lows, the hard work, the disappointment, and the incredible sense of achievement of a job well done.

First up in 2023 was Nove Mesto World Cup; the excitement of finally having world cups for Cross Country Marathon (XCM) was palpable! It felt like we were on the same footing as the XCO stars, and starting in the famous arena was electric.

While the course was long (120km) and punchy (2,500m elevation) it wasn’t as technical consistently as I’d like. I had surgery on my arm about 7 weeks prior, to remove some metal work that was causing me a lot of pain, so the run up wasn’t ideal to say the least. And this meant when the gun went, I was very nearly ejected out the pack up the first steep climb on the biathlon course.

I dangled off the back for the first half of the first lap before the elastic broke altogether. The it turned into a solo time trial, something that is very common in women’s XCM racing, not matter where you are in the pack. However, each time I came through the technical zone, the feedback from my team was that I was moving up a number of places each time! How could that be?! I hadn’t seen any one for ages! But it was such an attritional race, the racers ahead were dropping like flies while I kept plugging away at it. One of my major strengths is my fatigue resistance, I’m as likely to set a 5 minute power record at the end of the race, as at the beginning (more on that at the Finale Liguere World Cup Report!). So while the other races blew themselves up at the start, my diesel engine was just warming up.

To come away with a top 25 at my first World Cup was incredible, I was on the first page of the results! It really showed where my weaknesses lie, but wow I was happy (later down the line), initially I felt I had somehow ‘got away with it’. But with hindsight, I know you have to finish the race to get the results. A fast first lap isn’t important if you can’t keep the pace going!

Next time in our real races review it’s Finale Ligure World Cup, stay tuned, it’s a dramatic one!

If you’d like some help with your training to race MTB marathons, please drop me a message or get in touch below.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.