Sunday 10th May was an opportunity for Frog Bikes rider Gracie Fox to forget about her troubles at the previous round and look to the future in Round 3 of the Southern XC Mountain Bike Series.
Wasing Park in Aldermaston presented a beautiful setting for bike racing as Gracie returned for the 3rd year in a row. Victorious in both of her previous visits, Gracie was hoping for another good finish in order to climb back towards the top 3 of the overall general classification.
The course offered new challenges this year by taking the Under 9 Girls further out of the arena and deeper into the woods. The biggest challenge being a long technical section that really tested the riders strength and focus by meandering its way back to the main arena over roots and through small ‘bomb’ holes. A good start was also required in order to conquer the heavy field conditions in the main arena and get a good position before the road climb.
Gracie begun her race in true ‘Gracie Style’ by heading out as fast as possible from the starting whistle. A slight mishap in the woods involving a crash in front of her between two male riders meant that she began her second lap in 6th position losing time on those in front of her. Not panicking Gracie got back with 5th and 4th place midway through the final lap only to be held up again due to another faller. Now sitting in 6th position and eagerly pushing for a top 5 finish Gracie entered into a sprint finish and grabbed a very well earned 5th position.
This season has so far been a real test of Gracie’s character. In an Under 9s Mountain Bike race the laps are generally short, and almost always involve single track. This not only underlines the importance of a good start but also demonstrates how one small incident can change the dynamics of the race. For Gracie this has been the theme so far during 2015.
After the race I asked Gracie how she felt the race went, this is what she had to say:
‘I thought I was in third place when the first crash happened. I couldn’t see the other girls ahead because of all the other riders. The sprint finish was scary and now my legs really hurt but I’m really happy with 5th place!’