Sea Otter – Rachael Atherton Reportage…


Ahhhhh where to begin. It feels good to know that the first big race is over and done with. I feel tired, no exhausted. We’ve been flat out almost 2 weeks now, every day. Hectic springs to mind but I’ve had alot of fun and thats what counts.
So….downhill. Morning saw a clear day, not many clouds and we all held our breath that it would hold out untill after the racing was done. It turned out to be beautifull all day. Two practise runs saw me wondering wether I’d actually manage to finish the race, my legs were pretty recked from slalom and my throat felt raw from all the air con! but I was looking forward to racing and with it being only one run i felt pretty confident.

The track benefitted from yesterdays rain and the dirt was perfect, the dust was under control and it was just nice and grippy. The first turn was so much fun, all loose and drifting into a perfectly placed rut, foot out, flat out. I practised with the bros and tucking down a reall fast straight into an uphill I knew I’d have to dig deep come race time. There was a small step down thingy at the bottom that i hadn’t bothered to do, figuring by the time i got to it id be so knackered I wouldnt have anything left to do it with, but it was niggling away so i just hucked it. (it might not have been big enough to warrent ‘huck’ but it was slightly
hipped so was wierd) i knew Mio Suemasa was doing it, but Im not sure about anyone else, so in my head I felt i already had an advantage, wether it was true or not didn’t matter.
After about an hours sleep i got to the top knowing that I wasnt worried about one thing on the track, which is unusual and good as all I had to worry about was riding it fast, not wether id even make it over this or whatever. does that make sense?
Being a pretty short track, with alot of pedalling we knew we’d have to warm up good, so you were breathing hard before the race. As I warmed up on the turbo i knew i was gunna have some fun, at least on the top before the pedalling, and felt quite neutral in my mind. I knew though that I wanted to take Sabrina down.
I was down mid pack having never raced Sea Otter before, but it was good as I was the first chick to do all the jumps so everyone was going nuts. The first turn was mint! i got a little sideways and legend tells it that there was so much roost no one could see to take a photo. I had a pretty nice run, nice jumps, nice turns. nothing special. I made an effort to breath deeply and try to keep my legs fresh for the bottom, caught
the girl in front of me which sort of made me forget to pedal so hard. Thats no excuse though for not getting a better time. About 15 secs down on Affy on a 2.33 track? Oh dear. After a while, Sabrina crossed the line and I was pretty stoked to beat her. Again, legend says she had a good run, so thats always good. Fionn was pretty quick, maybe 1.5 sec behind in 2nd place.

It was a hard track but not as bad as expected, the pedalling hurts but its over pretty quick. remind me of that half way down Fort William! So then the guys were coimg down, and ill just say now that after the race
we found out about the gate. The lady says’ go on the sixth beep’ so we just assumed not like a world cup where there only 5 beeps, turns out you actually have to GO on the sixth beep as thats when the time starts ticking from. so there I am half way thru the beeps thinking damn I forgot to count… The last beep is a long one, so it goes and im like, ok, ready? BANG. Im not saying the results would have been much different, not for women anyway! It must have meant at least half a second, maybe even 1 sec. difference either way…

I get to the bottom (after pointlessly riding back up to the start from the pits) and Kovarick leads, Gee then Affy. then I think Polc comes down and leads for a while, which no one seemed that stoked about! Then some legend dh racer thats like 40 who all the old schoolers remember comes down in his skin suit and killed it! That was funny! Eventually Rennie leads and Steves on track. As usual i want beyond wanting for Steve to win, I’m all fluttery in my stomach and everyones rooted to the last corner, he blasts through and heaves himself over the line, not good enough to beat Rennie. Cedric misses his start and graves just misses out on top spot by this much (thats not much). Rennies all holding up his arms and everyones stoked for him, then the commentator says ‘Cedrics on track’ so rennie says, “Oh hold on everyone, false alarm!” We all wait to see if the C-dog can do it, he slots into 6th, just in front of gee which again was funny!
There were some funny results, like Sam was way down, maybe a crash? But all in all it was a pretty fun weekend racing. The yanks all seem really excited about mountainbiking which is good and fresh to see.
Oh yea, in dirt jumping our very own Lance Mcdermott took the win with a flip to front flip to something else that I forget. so the brits really do rule! With 6 podium spots of the whole weekend! Brits abroad? Hell Yeah!
Tonight we head out to a Fox 2008 product launch, before hitting the beach in the morning then flying back to London. We get home on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday im going to Manchester Velodrome to film a tv show with current world gold medallist Chris Hoy, so ill keep you posted on that. Can’t wait to race the national at Innerleithan (but not before a seshion on the ttr) with jet lag and sleep deprivation, which I guess is sort of the same thing… Oh and I won a stuffed toy otter. Great. No seriously, Great.

Team Animal Commencal

Ahhhhh where to begin. It feels good to know that the first big race is over and done with. I feel tired, no exhausted. We’ve been flat out almost 2 weeks now, every day. Hectic springs to mind but I’ve had alot of fun and thats what counts

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