Thursday, 24 May 2012

Nineteen - Mummy be not too unfit after all!

I did it!

My first mountain-bike race since pre-Willow times.

And, wow, did I love it! More than I remember loving it. This sport is fantastic! I'm back and I'm loving it!

There is a local mountain-bike series held in the deep east of Kent. Where the land is flat, the terrain is bleak and the wind and the weather are more than unforgiving. Many a day have I spent fighting the relentless gales and the pelting rain on the Fowlmead track. But equally, I have spent many an evening riding twisty and tight singletrack; kicking up dust; and, in humidity and heat.

I'm trying to describe Fowlmead. A country park found near Sandwich, Kent. A country park that only knows extremes. And, its latest extreme, applies to my elatedness!

Last Thursday, I raced round 2 of the Fowlmead Summer Sizzler. I hadn't raced one of these since 2009 and I was incredibly anxious about how well I would cope with riding my bike at threshold and above for more than an hour. Forget the racing!

In true Gemma-now-a-mum style, Nick was building my bike the night before. How things have changed from the precision I used to apply to bike maintenance! I was out riding it that Wednesday evening at about 10pm just to check the gears didn't slip; and they did. But, so what! I was going to race - no matter!

And I did! And, I am so glad I did.

I felt like a bit of a novice: I didn't know where to sign in; I had to ask which direction around the track the race would be going; I had to beg help with my slipping gears; I forgot to wear my timing chip ... In fact, I had forgotten mountain-bike racing in its entirety. I even went to the back of the line forming at the start because I felt so new to the sport.

But this newness is similar to how I felt when I discovered mountain-biking.

With the blast of the gun, everything I ever knew did return and I felt like I was me 3 years ago. Only slower. But, strangely, not that much slower. In fact, I was surprised to be as strong as I was - but, every mother knows that it ain't easy spending 50% of your day with a 12kg weight attachment. However, I was first lady and very surprised to be ahead of my very own first mountain-bike mentor, Debbie Burton. (No doubt she'll make me pay for this at some point.) And, I was 18th, I think, out of the whole field. I used be a top 10 finisher ... But I mustn't dwell on what I used to be.

I am, now, a proud mountain-bike racing mummy. And, my smile, from Thursday's race, was stuck for the rest of the night and some of Friday ... (yes, some of Friday - working with Willow's sickness bug depleted my enthusiasm for anything except curling up on the floor.)

Anyway, one week on - I STILL LOVE THIS SPORT!

Thank you, Dave Hayward, you made me look like a racer in your photo! xxx


  1. Great report, great race, you did so well, can't believe it's nearly all turbo stuff you've been doing! Do you remember once telling me that I was the same age as your mum? You made me feel it as you went past! ;-) x

    1. I can't believe my mum is the same age as you - you could whip my mountain-biking behind if you really wanted to! Mrs B is a legend! In the cool, hip, trendy kid sense! Lol! Thank you, Debbie xxx