Friday, April 13, 2007

British NPS round 1 :: Marathon :: Kate's Report

‘I hurt’, were the first two words I muttered to Ian early Sunday morning. I overdosed on TORQ Ribose and forced porridge down me before a cold shower to try and bring me back to life. The next race was an hour away and it was a huge effort just to put my shoes on. However as soon as I jumped on the bike and started warming up I could feel my body start to perk up. The sun was also shining bright and it was much warmer than I expected. I had no race strategy, as I wasn’t certain how I would cope racing 100km today. Whenever I race a marathon I focus on beating myself and seeing how long I can push myself for. I had 8 laps to ride at roughly 12.5km. I wasn’t too sure how long it would take, but my aim was to finish inside the 5 hour mark and I wanted consistent strong laps. That is what I was thinking, but what I was feeling as I stood on the start line, was ‘holly cow there are a lot of big lads behind me’. I imagined being flattened and decided that I was going to stay focused and try not to be run over.

Fortunately I had a great start and found myself close to the front. The pace started very comfortably and as we all hit the single track I expected mayhem, but I found myself behind riders who were very smooth on the single track and there was no starting or stopping as I expected there to be with so many riders on the course. I wasn’t pushing the pace to begin with, but at the same time was using the first lap to get my body into race mode. Then my coach Matt from TORQ flew by and instructed me to stick on his back wheel. I know how fast Matt is and I gave it everything to keep up with him. I didn’t want him to think I was a wimp, but I was soon forced to ease off the pace as I was trying to keep up with men who had fresh legs and more power than me. On my second lap I discovered a new lease of life, and that 20 minute intense effort with Matt paid off as my body awoke from it’s slumber. I rode comfortably and at times pushed myself to see if I could keep up with faster guys in front. I was having a brilliant time and really enjoyed the new section of single track that had been added to the cross country course. I couldn’t believe how much grip I had, as I have been riding sandy trails in Oz for the past 5 months where grip is unheard of.

Half way through the third lap I felt like I was slowing down though, and it became more of an effort trying to keep up with riders who were zooming past. Then as I took a bend and almost came off, I knew I had a soft tyre. I quickly checked it over and it didn’t appear to be going down quickly. I continued on thinking the feed zone wasn’t too far away, but it was further than I thought. I contemplated changing it there and then, but knew Ian had a spare set of wheels. I decided to risk it and rode on, thinking that any minute I would be riding on the rim. Fortunately I reached Ian just as I felt the rim digging into the ground. He quickly swapped back wheels and instructed me to pull in again on the next lap as the spare wheel had a mud tyre on the back of the bike….and as Ian admitted later only a couple of bolts holding the disc rotor on as we weren’t expecting to use the spare wheels this weekend.

I didn’t notice any extra drag and continued on my way determined to make up for lost time. I rode by myself for quite a while and was lost in my own little Potter world as I blasted along the swoopy single track sections, when suddenly I almost passed out. I have a terrible fear of snakes and I managed to only just avoid riding over one. That was it, every twig or root that I passed I had to check twice over in case it moved.

With only a couple of laps to go I was expecting my legs to start to tire, but then I managed to ride behind this very skilled rider who I really enjoyed riding with. He did some great little bunny hops over roots and logs and I tried to follow suit, just not so gracefully. As I hit the last lap I found more energy and really enjoyed riding the last loop. Before I knew it I was crossing the finish line in first place and managed to finish inside the four and a half hour mark.

I was very happy with the result, but more importantly loved every moment of the race. Then I hopped off my bike and realised I had caught Thetford back ache, and was hobbling around like that 100 year old woman I mentioned before whom I woke up as this morning. But it was worth every ache and pain, as there’s nothing better than riding single track in the sunshine.

Thankyou Martyn Salt and his team for the first of many great national events in 2007.

Special thankyou to my title sponsors –

Cotic Bikes (
Bontrager Wheelworks and Components (

Plus my co-sponsors:

Pace Suspension
Hope Brakes and Headsets
Nike Cycling Footwear
TORQ Fitness
AQR Holidays
Crank Bros Pedals and Tools
Bigfoot Bags
Catalike helmets
Endura Gloves
Cyclops Powertap

As always couldn’t have been at the race without the support of partner and team mate Ian.

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