I feel like I’ve learnt a lot this past week in the Portugal MTB Tour, in particular about how my body reacts to consecutive days of racing. Racing in a two man team has shown me that I have the mentality to follow orders during a race rather than being impulsive. It’s also confirmed that I really like the lifestyle of race, eat, sleep, repeat. No, I bloody love it!
The final day (80km) turned out to be probably the most technically challenging stage. After the initial road section and wider paths, the track switched to steep single-trails. Being at the front of the race was always going to be key to success today.
From the start I made it up to the front of the race and rode with the leaders, hoping my team-mate, Juul, would fight his way up to me. Unfortunately, he was boxed in and couldn’t get through on the single trail. I dropped back to him and tried to ride him back up to the front but my accelerations were too hard and he couldn’t keep up. I tried again and again but each time he couldn’t follow. There was nothing I could do, I had to ride at his tempo.
Several teams ahead of us had technical problems, which made the battle for the top places very exciting. Meanwhile, Juul and I were more or less where we had been most of the week, safe in our position but unable to move up the GC.
We crossed the line 12th, 13th on GC.
There are so many positives to take away with me from my first ever marathon tour and team race. I had a lot of fun with the lads and I’ve grown in confidence. I would have liked to have ridden at the front end of the race more and I’m curious to know how my body would have reacted to a more intensive daily effort.
Thanks to everyone who has helped me get to this point. I would not be anywhere near here if it wasn’t for you.