Finally, the day we had been working all year towards was here!

In a normal year XCM World Championships are at the end of September, giving plenty of time to train, race and live life. But this year; with the first World Cup at the start of May and World Championships in the first Week of August, it meant there was very little time for anything. Especially a house move! Well two house moves, as we had to have a short stint with my parents before our new home was ready!

I have to say the Super Worlds passed me by somewhat, as I was focussed on my own performance, and didn’t plan to stay to watch any racing once I’d finished. It’s definitely hard to balance your own goals with watching others achieve their dreams.

We’d been up to recce the course the weeks prior, so it felt very different just turning up to race, and was certainly a different few days, staying at home far longer than usual.

The course was brutal in a fantastic way, taking on some of the local enduro trails and covering a vast amount of terrain along the way. It had rained incessantly in the run up and the first trails were wild! I had a pretty poor start losing a lot of places early on, this meant by the first descent I was badly positioned and I got stuck behind riders who’s descending was poor. I made up a few places by some good descending, but I really struggled climbing today, I just felt like the handbrake was stuck on. I settled in to just do what I was able and make up time on the descents.

One of the most fantastic experiences was the crowd, normally with marathon racing we’re mostly on our own, but at every junction and end of the descents there were people cheering. I had set a goal for myself to smile while I was suffering; for such a long time I believed if I smiled and enjoyed the experience people would think I wasn’t trying, especially as I can often be found at the back of the pack. So I promised myself I would smile and wave even whilst I was suffering. As a result, I had a much more positive experience.

Another of the great memories is riding with Abi from the USA – we were so well paced, we encouraged each other up the climbs and I chased her down every descent, she was on rails!! And shared a hug when we crossed the line, her incredible descending pipping me to the post.

While in the immediate aftermath it wasn’t the result I was hoping for, it was the commentator that will stick in my mind when he said “I’d love to be 50th best in the world”.

In the days afterwards, I was so unwell, and so it may have been that I was riding with the start of illness and that the feeling of riding with the handbrake on may have been due to this. And it was a massive shock to the system to go from World Championship level fitness to in bed for a week, it definitely took me a long time to bounce back to full health.

It’s likely to be my final World Championship, and what a location to finish at. I feel incredibly privileged to be able to race my bike at the highest level. And I’m sure there are more emotions and other adventures to be had.

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

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