Race report from Aine Doherty at the British MTB Series in Norwich

Over the past few months I have been travelling back and forth to England to compete in the British National MTB Series. The level of competition in England compared to Ireland is incredibly different as I am racing with 30 girls at such a high standard. The past few rounds I have placed 6th in round 1, 5th in round 2 and my best result yet 2nd in round 3. Unfortunately, round 4 was cancelled which left one final round in Norwich.

Travelling to England means very early starts- I woke up at 4:30am to travel to the airport to catch the early flight to Birmingham. Once arriving in Birmingham, we had an additional 2-and-a-half-hour car journey across England to Norwich. We drove straight to the race course arriving just in time for the practice session.

I quickly got changed in order to get that essential practice lap in. The course had very long open grassy fields with a few strong headwind sections and this is where the road tactics came in to play. In the trees there were lots of technical features with a few sharp kickers. There was a steep descent followed by a long steep boardwalk and a few difficult corners. After I was happy with all the features and the course, I headed back to the hotel. Once at the hotel I relaxed in my room for bit followed by a quick swim in the pool. With a long day of travelling and another early start on race day I headed to bed early to make sure I was well rested.

Race Day

My alarm went off at 6.am. I got ready and headed for breakfast where I had bowl of porridge to set me up for the day. We headed to the course so that I could have a quick lap of the technical section and feel more confident going into the race. After, I headed to the tent to start my warm up routine on the rollers. I was feeling good and strong I ready to give my final race all I had.

During the Race

I had a really strong start, taking position in the leading group with 5 other girls where the pace in the group was very high.  One girl in the group attacked and went solo and I tried to push on and go with her but with the strong headwind I decided it would be best for me to maintain my position within the bunch. This was a very challenging race from start to finish as the standard was incredible, so I am very pleased and proud with coming away with 4th overall in my first year competing at the British National MTB Series.

Thanks to Aine for her race report; Aine was supported through the Women’s Commission bursary in this race.