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Race Report – Racers Guild, Stile Cop – Rebecca Smith

Flow MTB rider Rebecca Smith, Riders Guild January 2017 at Stile Cop

Flow MTB riders Kate and Rebecca entered their first race of 2017, Racers Guild at Stile Cop

Racers Guild is a West Midlands based club with a focus on Downhill MTB who organise downhill races and events at Stile Cop, Cannock Chase.

The event took place on 23rd January there were 132 riders competing with 9 in the women’s category. Here’s Rebecca’s race report.

Last weekend was my first race of 2017 at Stile Cop in my childhood home county Staffordshire. This was exciting for a number of reasons; I love Stile Cop, my family could come and cheer me on and I could stay at my Mum’s the night before rather than an early o’clock start.

I was so chuffed to be racing for Flow MTB this year and I felt super excited as I stickered my helmet and bike and lovingly added my new mudguard. I literally couldn’t wait to get on track and get this year’s racing under way.

Saturday came and I had a netball match to play before driving north, it was a tough game and the score was really close with the lead flicking back and forth. The ball was approaching their goal circle and I knew I could get to it before the attacker did. I dove across the circle and sure enough got to the ball ahead of my attacker. Unfortunately I got there at the same time as my team mate and her attacker, no worries I still got to the ball first…..on the end of my finger! #### I was pretty sure it was broken, it didn’t move. After a bit of wiggling it popped again and worked, hurrah! With no sub I shook it off and carried on, winning was way more important…..we lost.

Ok so I’d dislocated the end of my finger but it now worked again, didn’t look or feel that bad and I was pretty sure I could still race the next day so I loaded the car and off I went.

Race day dawned cold and frosty with a bacon sarnie and tea in bed! Yeah go Mum! It snowed as I loaded the car but that couldn’t dent my excitement.

The track looked great. I met my new Flow team mate Kate, checked lines, signed on and I begrudgingly took off my toasty down jacket and pulled on cold cycling kit. Practise was fun, I met up with a various mates, got cheered on by my Dad and my finger still didn’t feel that bad.

The only problem I had was that even when I was pedalling down sections I was being caught by people free-wheeling, that made no sense. My back brake was sticking so I sorted it, better but still way off the pace. My finger was sore but ok, my bike was now working properly but I was quite clearly not riding well. Hmmmm I hate to lose but I just couldn’t work it out. Free-wheeling into a section following my mates I was dropping further and further behind. The track is super-fast so I didn’t feel the need to brake much and was trying to go faster pumping every whoop and pedalling every straight but it made no difference.

I lined up for my go dreading the results but still telling myself I could do this and once I was on track I’d be fine. After all I am always faster in race runs than practise. Nope. I was sitting in 2nd to last and only because someone else had a huge crash. I am a bad loser and I’d never done so badly before. Oh well time for a sandwich and catching up with the other girls before run 2.

My sister and her boyfriend arrived and promised to get some pics and footage of run 2. The camaraderie between the ladies field was ace with people chatting, laughing and practising manuals together in the car park. I set off and again pedalled my bum off, hit all my lines and other than the energy sapping bog at the end I had a great run. The others came in and it was official, I was last. My sister didn’t manage to get any pics as they were discussing the best setting to use when I went past. I put a smile on my face, said I’d learnt an important life lesson about how to lose and after saying good bye to friends set off for home feeling thoroughly demoralised.

I went to my friends house and they’d cooked me roast dinner, mmmm amazing! I was happily chatting away and had decided that someone one had to lose, I’d still had fun so maybe I really did learn a good life lesson?

Then I tried to cut up my roast potatoes and failed miserably! I couldn’t grip my fork. Well that explained everything!!! I laughed and got laughed at, failed to cut up my Yorkshire pudding too and then laughed some more. I looked at my race pics and sure enough I am holding on with my good finger, yep that’s right the one I brake with! I was pedalling my bum off and braking at the same time! We then all laughed even more and I really did learn a good life lesson.

I’ve decided to listen to medical advice and dropped out of this weekends Mini DH at the Forest of Dean. My finger still doesn’t work and I still can’t use a fork! I can’t help but feel like I’m wussing out but on the other hand it isn’t worth risking a big crash because I can’t hold the bars.

Someone has to come last and it doesn’t matter if you crash, can’t hit your lines or simply can’t hold the bars. The winner rode an amazing race, deserved to win and put down a blisteringly fast time. That is racing. It’s apparently also eating roast potatoes!

RankBibNameRun 1Run 2Best runDiff
1307Ellie DEWDNEY1:28.977 (1)1:29.773 (1)1:28.977
2309Gabriele GELGOTAITE1:31.589 (2)1:31.125 (2)1:31.1252.148s
3313Caroline HEATHCOTE1:36.453 (3)1:32.944 (3)1:32.9443.967s
4312Kelly WITTS1:49.241 (9)1:35.140 (4)1:35.1406.163s
5310Kate GRIES1:37.012 (5)1:36.381 (5)1:36.3817.404s
6308Jenna FELLOWS1:36.856 (4)1:38.234 (6)1:36.8567.879s
7304Beverley ADIPURA1:39.132 (6)1:39.203 (7)1:39.13210.155s
8306Ellie COPE1:41.353 (7)1:40.560 (8)1:40.56011.583s
9311Rebecca SMITH1:43.347 (8)1:44.512 (9)1:43.34714.370s