I entered the full 2018 ArdRock race last year with all good intentions of training and being in good shape to cope with it. All those plans went out the window when I bought a house and discovered DIY (or rather it discovered me), but I decided I would race regardless and enjoy the weekend and the who festival experience – I won’t lie I was dreading it.

Friday I signed on and hot footed it straight to the Flow stall to check out the merchandise (and spend pocket money) before heading out to practice stages 6 and 7. At the end of stage 7 I had a massive off after pushing back up to do the jump again, my first mistake, and I banged my head and landed badly on my arm. I headed back to base and luckily Anita at Flow had a new helmet that fit me and matched my DHaRCO gear, phew! My advice is don’t bother trying to get a cool profile photo because like me you’ll probably end up looking very silly instead!

Saturday morning came and I was very sore and not really up for riding at all, after a pep talk from Rachael Jevons I dragged myself to the start line and off we went.

The race stages were amazing,  so much fun and plenty of varied riding – a lot of work had gone into this race.

Stage 1 I managed to loose my multi tool, inner tube and pump out of my frame strap and at the end of stage 2 I suffered a puncture and had to wheel my bike a considerable amount of the transition. Fellow rider Paul had waited back for me and a passing rider managed to help me out and lend me a pump, who says chivalry is dead?!

When I started the transition to stage 3 I didn’t know how I would finish this race at all and I genuinely debated turning back, not to mention suffering another puncture and a crash. My friends rallied me on and before I knew it we had finished stage 5 – Diane, Adam, Andy and Paul I am eternally grateful!

The feeling of accomplishment when I rolled across the finish line of stage 7 was unreal, this race is definitely called ArdRock for a reason! Although the day didn’t exactly go to plan I still had a really good time and challenged myself.

To summarise, this race is type 2 fun: enjoyable in retrospect! I will be back next year and would recommend anyone to try it at least once!

I would also like to mention how rewarding it was to see the combined Flow MTB and Send It stall bustling with customers checking out and treating themselves to the latest DHaRCO MTB gear – there was a lot of brightly coloured jerseys out there on race day!

Emma

Flow MTB Rider

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