Today I raced in Derby for my first ever national race: National Trophy Cyclocross round 1. I was nervous to see how I stood against the other girls of my age, and excited to experience such a big event firsthand.

The course was primarily grass with a set of stairs, some hurdles and a steep ‘bridge’. It wasn’t muddy to start off with, but with the Vet 40s and 50s racing first it soon became quite slippy.

At the gridding I was called 9th, first on the second row, which I was pleasantly surprised by. I got a good start and was fifth coming into the first few corners, but I couldn’t stay with the leaders and dropped down into a group made up of 7th, 8th and 9th place. We worked well together, with each of us taking a turn on the front, and it was relatively issue free.

On the penultimate lap one of the riders got a mechanical after the hurdles, so it was just me and another girl. The finish was a tarmac straight, and on previous laps I had noticed that I was stronger on this than the other girl, so at the end of the last lap I stayed in front and won the sprint. At the end of the day I had finished 7th, which I am pretty happy with. There’s always room for improvement though, and I look forward to the next National Trophy race in Abergavenny.

Goals for next time: 1. Become more confident on the skippy corners and downhills. 2. Train harder so I can contest podium perhaps.

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