|Read this post in Gangsta, home boy!|
**Warning: contains bad language**
I had been excited about this race ever since the seed of the idea had been mentioned on the Muckmedden website. The prospect of not only riding head to head with another rider on parallel trails but doing it through a barley field really floated my boat.
As the race date got closer, I began to scrutinise the photographs and videos on Facebook and wonder, was this really for me? It looks fine enough but what is the chance of me getting there and making a proper fool of myself? So, I hiked up the hill a couple of weeks before the race and sessioned the track. It was great; fast and flowy with enough in the woods to keep me on my toes. With the sun beating down on me, I set the second fastest time on Strava. Oh dear, I'd shown my cards too early!
|Riding head-to-head with Rob over the top jump|
Reaching the top, my heart beat faster as I saw, what to me looked like a huge structure rearing over the hill, magnified by the hill's drop to the Tay. This was new. I wasn't sure if I was up for embarrassing myself in front of serious riders. After some practise runs off to the side I took the jump faster and faster and realised that it could be taken at full speed. I don't think I've spent that long in the air before!
|Hitting the sketchy corner at speed|
Racing head to head with Rob for qualifying times was fantastic. We seemed to be very similar and on the runs I completed, we were almost neck and neck. The problem was, there were far more runs that I didn't complete. My chain was bouncing off at every opportunity and with a worn middle chainring, it wasn't keen to go back on. This was really frustrating so I spent the following couple of hours bodging a quick fix. My chain wasn't going anywhere by the time I'd finished with it!
Now, with a sense of the new conditions, I knew how hard to push it. I won all of my next races to the excitement of my family who new that I had promised to wear the Where's Wally onesie if I remained in the contest after lunch. Hearing the children shouting for Wally made this feel like real racing. Was I in Ft William? It felt like it!
|The Where's Wally onesy comes out! Photo: Marek Styczen|
|Liv completed balance bike skills course while Beth won 1st|
place in both skills course and xc children race (girls).
|No grip but a soft landing. Barley field was one of the many highlights. Photo: Marek Styczen|
|My first ever podium place.|