Well I had my feet up all week, I overdosed on paracetamol, garlic, ribose, L-Glutamine and Ian was starting to think I had obsessive compulsive disorder as I wash my hands with soap every chance I get. I’m eating as much vitamin C enriched fruit and veg as I can stomach and avoiding human contact just in case more nasty bugs jump my way. The doctor confirmed I have a chest cold…well I knew that, I have all that greeny gunky evidence on tissue paper, every sentence I mutter has coughing and spluttering attached to the syllables and every morning I wake up feeling like I have been run over by a truck…as a result I have been a wicked wife of the west in recent days…sorry Mr P J
I guess I hoped that there may be some magical 24hr cold cure that they would want guinea pig athletic nutters like myself to undergo medicine trials for, but no, to my dismay the common cold still remains a medical mystery. Even though doctors spend so much time studying medicine, as we all know there still isn’t a lot one can do to get rid of a cold except rest, drink plenty of fluids and not overdo it….But where there is a will there is a way, so I say. I’m no doctor, but do believe in the power of the mind and told myself that I would be A OK for the first round of the World Cup Series….mmmm.
It was a funny old week leading up to the main event.
Earth was having its own little coughing and spluttering issues as the volcano in Iceland sent ash up into the atmosphere and as we all know grounded flights all over the world. The Aussie mountain bike crew that consisted of TORQ Australia and some independent Australian racers were due to be collected from Manchester on the Monday before the race by Ian and I, but we stayed put in Nottingham until we knew whether they would arrive in time or not. On Wednesday it looked unlikely as all their flights had been cancelled and so Ian and I headed to Dalby Forest with an empty mini bus, but an overloaded trailer….I decided to stock up on my favourite foods now that we had more room. Ian went mad as he looked in disbelief at the dozen of 2kg sacks of oats, cereal, dried fruit and tinned soup that I can’t always buy in France or if I can it is quadruple the price. Ian always takes it upon himself to comment on all my bags and then questions every single item I pack, instead of just focusing on what he is taking. I just like to be over prepared and as a result never forget anything. Where Ian takes great pride in being a minimalist and packing light……….ONLY PROBLEM WITH THAT IS HE ALWAYS FORGETS THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS THAT HE CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY FOR…maps, passport, wallet, phone, tent?!?!? But this time he forgot his tooth brush, so not a major problem as he has been refusing to kiss my garlic scented lips lately anyhow.
Anyway I’m getting side tracked, as I could go on and on about the Potter marital problems of packing for the race season, it really is a blog all in itself.
On Thursday Ian and I decided to hit the course and spend time familiarizing ourselves with the track as I missed the British national round in 2009 so had no idea what the course was like. We had spent one day in November with Joolze Dymond checking out some sections of it, where we Potters posed for the camera as we dropped down off the edge of ‘Worry Gill’ with Joolze flashing our every move. But that was all we had time for, and nothing at that point resembled a race course.
I’m always excited to ride a new course, but know that my first lap is usually a shocker as Ian and I often stop and start to analyse different sections and look for alternate lines on the course. I think it is important to look at a course closely if you have time, but I always feel like I don’t flow as well on a course until the second lap when I have more understanding as to how the course works for me. On this occasion I kept forgetting to stop and found myself really enjoying the fast and flowy single track, jumps, drops, and for the first time in KP racing history I rode everything with a confident head on and the biggest smile. After several attempts I finally nailed the rocky climb near ‘Worry Gill‘, and then when I cleared it a second time, well I announced to Ian that my race here is done, as I don’t think it can get technically any better than that for me this weekend. On my fourth lap I decided to time myself and attack the climbs with more effort, energy and Potter oomph! Unfortunately there was no oomph and even when I dug deep, something didn’t feel quite right. Although I was riding technically well, physically I felt pretty rough. I thought the worst of my cold had gone, but I feel like it has left me with bruised lungs, tight chest and quite a fatigued body.
Perhaps I over did it on Thursday, but the next two days I felt worse. I started making silly mistakes on the technical sections in practice. This did my confident head no favours and that little doubting devil that sits on your shoulder from time to time made several appearances on Saturday….grrrr!!!
On the plus the Aussie team minus one all found their way to the UK. We didn’t have mobile reception or internet access where we were staying, but luckily we checked emails in Pickering Thursday evening and found out they were all arriving at different times Thursday night and early Friday morning. Ian had to leave almost straight away to collect Jo from York and then Matt from Torq collected Katherine and Ray from Manchester, with Dan and Bec hiring a car from Gatwick Airport. So on Friday morning the Aussies had arrived in full force.
If only our dramas ended there, as the next day Mini Blue our beloved AQR mini bus decided she would now start coughing and spluttering too....they do say these things happen in threes (KP, icdeland volcano, AQR's Mini Blue) Poor Ian not only had a poorly, and overly whingey wife, but now Mini Blue demanded his attention too….women! Fortunately for the Aussie Crew she was bump started no worries and our 40 minute journey to Dalby Forest was not affected until Ian made a sniggering comment that he wished he could kick me up the backside to get me firing on form…guess who got a kicking instead! J
However there were concerns that our planned 4 week trip across Europe would be an interesting one if we didn’t get Mini Blue well again.
Race day came around quickly, but I knew it was going to be a rough day in the saddle. Word Cup racing is hard enough as it is when you are racing the best mountain bikers in the world. I guess I kept hoping that I would find some Potter perkiness once the race started, but there was nothing. I couldn’t even push myself to get the legs to hurt and my breathing felt constricted on every climb….when I started to feel all wobbly on the descents I knew I was doing myself no favours staying on course. I crashed on an easy section of fire road which was the only pain I felt in my legs that day, which in some ways was a good thing because I was starting to think my legs weren’t attached as they felt lifeless.
It was a horrible feeling trying to fight my brain and body which for the first time sided with one another against my mountain biking spirit. I really didn’t want to stop, especially in front of an adopted UK home crowd. But I did and although only the second time I have ever quit a race in KP biking history, I can’t help but feel down about it. At the end of the day it is only a race, but racing is such an important part of my life right now and with all the support I receive from Cotic Bontrager, family and friends I don’t want to waste opportunities that one day won’t be around. So it’s time to rebuild and remind oneself that there is still a long racing life ahead of me for now and a lot more adventures to look forward to….but for now it’s time to rebuild and get back up to speed sooner rather than later me hopes J
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