I have registered for the race in February on the day when the entries have opened. I was highly pregnant then. But I felt I need to have something to aim towards after my baby is born.
Long story short I have been able to ride much less than I thought I would have. Not just because of time and breastfeeding but as well because I want to spend time with my daughter. And when I’m on bike I think of her and I tend to do short ride and rush back home. Yes motherhood changes you!
The closer the time of W2W came the more I was thinking what did I get myself into? Am I being a bad mother leaving my 7 month old baby at home? I registered to race with my good friend Lara Woolley and that was a motivation not to pull out of the race. I haven’t seen her much since I have had the baby so I wanted to ride with her at last.
We started in E group which was bit below our league but since we haven’t done any races this year we haven’t gotten better seeding. We were excited to ride together and the aim was to have fun. The start is quite tough with long steep climb on gravel road. We managed to get away from the bunch with few more guys and then had the single track for ourselves. Once we hit the portage section we realized we are bit stucked as the pace was much slower than in the front groups.
Anyway we enjoyed the beautiful views from Sir Lawry Pass and joked around with the other riders. Once we reached the top it was little bit of a fight to get ahead of some of the slower people so we could enjoy the single track in fast speed. We got to Oak Valley on a high from an awesome day in a saddle and finished 4th in our very competitive age group.
This day is always lot of fun even though the start is not easy as your legs are tired and you have to push hard from the start to get a good position for the single track later. 85% of the route was single track heaven this year. But don’t think its easy. One must be able to master switch backs, riding between trees in forest and over A – frame and lots of bridges. Me and Lara had lots of fun. I was just a tad bit weaker but managed to hang in there. We finished 4th again and realized we wont reach the podium with all the pro ladies ahead of us. Which we more less knew as the competition is every year stronger.
The afternoon is spend by chilling around with friends and telling stories from the bike. I had to pump the breast milk also! Which isn’t so much fun but necessary if you want to keep breastfeeding. It can be done and its so good for the baba. So if you are a new mum you don’t have to wait to stop breastfeeding to ride a race!
I was bit worried how the legs will feel as I haven’t done many long rides. From the start I could feel the racing legs are not there but I could go reasonable speed and I just kept positive attitude which is very important. Once you start thinking negative that you don’t feel good or that you are the weaker link in the team you are finished. So there we let the C bunch drop us and had the single track and roads to ourselves. Which was actually awesome. We enjoyed the views of coming down towards Himmel en Aarde and first glimpses of the sea. We absolutely loved the single track there. My racing legs were suddenly back. Yes bit late!
This is an awesome race and definitely on your to do list if you haven’t done it yet. But remember don’t forget to practice your mtb skills. Thank you ITEC for support and Concept Studio for getting me ready and lastly my amazing husband to letting me go and looking after our daughter so well.
- Practice race nutrition before the race
- Find out what they will have at water points so you don’t have to take everything in your pocket
- Pace yourself – don’t go all out in the first hour of race – especially for the boys!
- Practice carrying your bike for the portage section – your lower back will need to be strong – do some core exercises during your training as well as uphill walking or running so that your calves don’t cramp once you are on the top
- Practice switch backs, riding over rocky terrain, sand, bridges and A-frame
- Drink enough water during race and after
- Have lunch as soon as you have finished
- Have few massages before the race if you have booked your massage package
- Practice how to plug a tubeless tyre and fix broken chain
- Have fun!