The course for the second Jayco XC National Round held just out of Shepparton in Victoria was dusty, rocky and largely off-camber. There was also nothing to grab onto if you fell off the side of the hill. After my first lap was miles off the pace of the other women, I decided to back off the intensity and enjoy learning to ride sections I found difficult early on. The track had a high potential for crashes, punctures and other damage so I was pretty stoked see my decision pay off and to finish unscarred in twelfth place (ninth in the elite category) while a quarter of the elite women’s field and a third of the elite men suffered in the conditions and weren’t able, or chose not, to finish the race.
I was looking forward to having the chance to race against other women, but unfortunately I don’t have the fitness at this stage to be part of the game. I think there’s a couple of reasons for this: The first is that the Aussie girls have been working hard and are increasingly competitive on an international level, and I’m just not that fast (yet!). The location and timing of this race also attracted more of the pointy end of the field than the riders at my level who would normally flesh out the competition at the mid to back end of the pack. The second reason for slowness is to do with preparation and the difference that a ‘racing’ attitude has compared to one that is simply seeking experience. Hopefully I can improve on the latter for the next month’s race in Thredbo.
Congratulations to every rider who gave the race a solid go in hot, windy conditions, to the recently formed Goulburn Valley MTB Club for hosting the event and to the Shepparton Council for supporting the growth of our sport in regional Victoria. It would be great to hear that this track is becomes the beginning of a bigger trail network and more riders in the area getting hooked on the sport.