The most challenging 56km ever
How big of a difference can it be? From short mountain bike racing to a two-plus hour mountain bike race. But it’s the story of this week. So, a new weekend a new race, and this time it was the 56km long Return to Racing Trailseeker MTB Challenge on the Mushrif Park mountain bike trails.
Riding in the UAE means setting up alarms early morning. And for this week’s race, there was no difference. Although the race venue was much closer this week than last week, we still had to wake up before 4 AM to do proper pre-race preparations. And so, at 5 AM, we reached the racing venue to prepare the bike. Do the warm-up and be ready for a new race day. After a couple of sprints and a good prep, Rachelle worked her way to the start line to pick a good spot, to ensure a good start and possibly a good result.
Shortly after the start sign was given, the pack picked up speed and made their way through the loose sand and tight corners. Rachelle, who had a good start, was immediately in front of the pack and turned onto the single tracks as the first lady. A position she defended for the rest of the 56km. This didn’t mean that the race was easy. With strong ladies chasing Rachelle, there was no room for errors. As minor mistakes would cause a drop in positions, with a gap of around 25 seconds maximum.
The race went with three laps. The starting lap, the middle lap, and the finishing one. With each lap, the body protests more and more. And with the entry of the last lap, the gap to the second was only fifteen seconds. This meant the race was on, and Rachelle should give her all to maintain the lead. And she did. She dug deep as her body wasn’t used to this distance, but with an eye on the price, she found a second life, and with some support from fellow Wolfi’s team members, she managed to stretch the lead in the last sector of the race. Finishing with a massive outburst of emotions and finishing the first long MTB race in the first place.
Rachelle about her race: “The race was tough. It was long, maybe a bit too long, as I struggled in the last lap. I could see Helle the entire race on some parts of the track. So I knew she wasn’t far away and there was no time to go easy. When we entered the last lap, and I heard the gap was only 16 seconds, I must admit I panicked, as I doubted if I could maintain my speed. I don’t know how I managed my last lap, I know I had some moments where I really had to put myself together, but in the end, it felt sweet to cross the finish line, knowing I won the race. I had much support from my fellow Wolfi’s riders, which was helpful. So also big thanks to them!”
This result boosts confidence as we head to a busy mountain bike season. First, we celebrate today’s win and then focus on next Saturday, when we will travel to Showka for the next race in the UAE Mountain bike Series.