I knew we couldn't get lucky two weekends in a row with the weather over in the UK. Ireland was fantastic and the Irish reckon that that was their summer. Scotland was not looking so fantastic, with lots of rain, cold temperatures, heavy winds and even snow in the forecast, I was pulling out all my warm and wet weather riding gear. It was going to be a tough week and weekend. Even with all this bad weather talk, I was super excited to be back in Peebles and actually be able to race and ride this time around. I tore all the ligaments in my right ankle one day before getting to Peebles last year, so I couldn't ride the trails in this beautiful valley. So that was exciting for me.
I have to say having back to back weekends of EWS races are hard. I was still super tired from a big week over in Ireland, then straight into a full travel day, one recovery day to get everything ready again and then right back into practice for Scotland. The long practice days are killer too and by the time the race days roll around, your feeling pretty beat up. We had a blast on the first day of practice, exploring new tracks, riding them once, trying to remember any vital sections and obstacles and then you move on. It was cold and wet and after stage 1 & 2 we opted to stop for a proper warm pub lunch before moving on to the next two stages in the pouring rain. Good times. I love the practice days so much more than the race days!
That evening I headed over to the annual kids skills evening. It was freezing cold outside and the last thing I felt like doing was get back into my wet riding shoes and kit and head out into the cold, to get my bike all muddy again, but it was such a blast. The kids over in the Peebles valley are just amazing and so incredibly skilled. I loved every minute of it. Most definitely a highlight for me and I ended up leaving there having learnt a thing or two myself.
The second day of practice was even colder and wetter - we even got slate and hail to help us through the day, but again riding with your mates in miserable weather somehow makes it all better. Most of the riders opted for a rest day on Friday, and I was really looking forward to a day off the bike eating scones, clotted cream and jam and drinking flat whites with pretty much half the women's field. Perfect race prep right?
Saturday. Race day. O crap. My legs were dead. I had nothing. There was no fire. Shit. By stage 3 I felt better and that was my favorite stage of the day, but all in all it was a pretty average day of bike riding for me. I loved the longer liaison times, it was so lovely, it was social, it was perfect. Results for that day, not so perfect, but there's not much you can do if your body just won't respond. Sunday was much better. I felt stronger, I rode better - loved stage 5 which was most peoples worst nightmare. I loved it and did pretty well on it. The day was cut short by two stages due to terrible weather and crazy winds - a welcoming thought, but also a bummer, as I was hoping to use those two stages to make up some time and positions. The last stage was super long and very pedaly. I was a rad track, if they toolk out all the crazy uphill fire roads. O well. Still a super rad day and ended up in 15th again. I was happy to make up a few spots due to the crazy, muddy, un-rideable stage 5 which I loved :) All in all, obviously I would have liked to do better. I made silly mistakes, I felt tired and I didn't feel focused, but I loved the tracks, I loved Peebles and I did well on the two hardest, techiest stages, so that makes me happy.
I spent a few days in Peebles after the race, explored the valley, rode some more beautiful heather clad trails, got rained on some more, ate lovely food, wandered around the history steeped Edinburg and marshaled at the local kids race. What a trip. What a place.
Thank you to Allan and Tom for keeping my steed happy and rolling despite all the mud and pressure washing, and to Chris & Kate for putting us up in their lovely home and as usual thank you Sven Martin for all the bangers ;)
Next stop, France, back to mum's house to get ready for the upcoming Trans Provence adventure.
peace out x