MTB Race – Hylands Park, Chelmsford

Yesterday I competed in the final Mountain bike race of the summer series.  Even though the course was flat it threw many challenges against every pedal stroke. Sticky mud, slippery tree roots which tried to throw you off at awkward angles, leaning trees that would thump your shoulders as you ducked and swerved around them, off camber trails, thick muddy patches ready to snatch your wheels and leg energy zapping dense bumpy grass fields into head winds.  Parts of the course that needed to be taken quickly to ensure prompt passage were plagued by incapable riders who dismounted and pushed their bike up to an easier situation. To top it all off I’d been down with a cold and chest infection the entire week beforehand and I felt weak and shakey on the start line.

Then the icing on the cake, one of the very fast women who normally competes in the category above mine had to drop down to our category meaning 1st place was pretty much untouchable unless she fell off and injured herself. Therefore myself and the other women – a few of which I’d never seen before, were out for the 2nd and 3rd takings. If I’m honest all I was out for was to finish, without killing myself.

The course was tough and it wasn’t until my final lap when I looked around and saw no one behind me that I realised I’d made good headway and was in for a chance on the podium. Up ahead my closest competition in her red shirt was dropping me and I got stuck behind a fat guy who seemed more up for a gentle roll down the shops than an hour enduro race. Waiting for a safe passing place on the tree lined path I called his right and zipped round him, snapping into a faster gear I stood and sprinted until finally I could count less than 15 seconds between me and her in front.

As I turned onto the final straight I was counting about 10 seconds between myself and the girl I was trying to catch. My legs were on fire and my breathing loud as I involuntarily shouted with every breath exhaled. The head wind and slight incline fought every movement as I tried to catch up and the gap was closing. With 100 or so metres to go to the finish line, me sprinting as hard as I could and the girl ahead seemingly riding like she had it in the bag, she suddenly turned around and clocked me catching up. Instantly she put some effort in, widened the gap and left me to cross the finish line in 2nd place. I took 3rd place – an great and unexpected result.



  1. Bro said

    Great result – without the cold and chest infection that would have been 2nd place, and without the winner dropping down that means 1st place in your category – well done! 🙂

    • foxsden said

      Ha!… I like your thinking. Actually in all seriousness I have been ahead of the girl who came 2nd in all of the other races I’ve done in this series so there is probably some truth in that!

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