21st August, 2016
At the beginning of 2015 I was not feeling the MTB love; not doing enough off road riding meant every time I did head out on the mountain bike it was seriously hard work. When Kelli Salone of Dame Cycling asked if I could take the place of injured rider Marcia Ellis for round 1 of the 2015 series I said yes just to 'force' myself to ride the MTB in anger again! I came 3rd and went on to make the podium in the open category in every race representing Dame Cycling/Quidne IT.
2016 saw me step up a category to the Veteran Females, fast and furious racing with an extra lap - how is that right? You get older and have to go faster AND further.
This weekend was the last in the 2016 series and the battle continued between Sam Jones (Fourth Lights) and I. I have only beaten Sam a few times and this has been on hilly courses so I knew it would be a tough battle on the flat, technical course at Checkendon.
'Stealth Seear', as I am now known, held Sam's wheel for 1.5 laps and feeling good I thought I would stay here and out sprint her on the last section of lap 3 for 2nd place (Caroline Goward, Scott Racing, had already left us eating her dust from the start line). However mountain bike racing is not all about speed; a moment of lost concentration saw me ride off the edge of the course and unclip to save myself resulting in a huge effort to chase back to get Sam in sight again and no chance of sprinting for 2nd.
Overall I was happy to take 3rd spot on the day and 3rd place overall in the series. My mountain bike mojo has certainly returned over the last 18 months and I would like to say a huge thank you to Dame Cycling/Quidne IT for supporting me, to the lovely Dame women who I have been racing with and against and to Lisa Pugh, the best supporter/photographer ever. Looking forward to some muddy winter races next!