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Read Uberbike's Enduro rider Rachael Gurney's Redbull Foxhunt report here

02 Oct 2014

 

Even when I am injured I still need to be involved in something bike related! Last weekend
it was the Redbull Foxhunt – an awesome event breaking boundaries in women’s mountain
biking and gathering together 150 gutsy ladies (hounds) for a mass start race down a
mountain chased by none other than Rachel Atherton, the fox. Held in the Pentland Hills
Regional Park, Edinburgh, the race had rural setting with amazing views over the city and
beyond. It looked fabulous bathed in the autumn sunshine that graced us with its presence.
I took the train to Scotland seeing as I was sans bike and got there Friday night. I met up with
Hannah from Flare Clothing, my clothing sponsor. It was great to meet them face to face,
I am very excited for the company’s future – there is some excellent kit in the making for
2015! We then hooked up with my enduro race buddy, Claire Bennett and went off to the
heated tipi, complete with DJ and dance floor for dinner. Through the night Rachel Atherton
was right in the mix with all of us girls, taking the time to come and talk to each group,
massive respect to Rach for doing this, if she’s as bad at small talk as me she didn’t show it!
Saturday morning was the start of race practice with uplifts running from 9am. I walked up
the course, compared to an enduro race it was pretty open with wide turns and plenty of room
for overtaking. Those that could, would pick up some immense speed that would make the
track much more difficult. Think flat corners, plenty of off camber fun and rough ground
under longish grass, easy when going slowly but becoming increasingly messy, exponentially
with speed! I chatted, watched and listened as the racers rode past and practiced parts of the
track. Every girl was kitted out in Foxhunt jerseys, these were a, let’s say interesting mix
of tweed effect and pink material to look like a hunting jacket. The effect was odd at first,
nobody looked good in these things but as I got used to it over the weekend it did grow on
me!


On Saturday afternoon the girls were set off 30 second apart to get a ‘seeding time’ this
would then denote their starting position in the grid on the Sunday. It took a couple of hours
to see each girl through. It was awesome to see the range of abilities riding the same track,
each and every girl having an awesome time, thumbs up to the course designers! The top 10
were rapid, the fastest girl making it down the 2.8km track in 4:02.
The main race was Sunday at 1pm. I positioned myself about a third of the way down the
course so I could see the start, watch a tricky corner and then see the racers as they continued
down the hill. It was a great place to watch, I felt the excitement in stomach as I saw the
competitors line up at the summit. My stomach launched as they set off, the front row sped
down the hill with Edinburgh city as their backdrop, I bet it was a fabulous feeling. The
first two riders, having broken away early hurtled towards me, chains rattling over the hard
packed ground, bodies low they pushed and pumped the bike into the ground. Shedding speed
rapidly they negotiated the off camber corners with ease. As soon as they were away the
rest of the field piled in! I didn’t know where to look, or who to cheer on! The line choices
were random, the course markers were disregarded by a few and there were definitely some
elbows out! It was such a sight to see the trail of women racing down the mountain – what an
awesome thing to be involved in! Rachel Atherton came though mid pack with a fox strapped
to her back, she sent it off a rock drop with such style.
The last ladies filed though in an altogether more polite manner and I walked back the finish
arena. I was disappointed to find out that Redbull UK had been ultra-efficient with the
podiums and I had missed them. The race was won by youngster Eleanor Melton, second was
my enduro buddy Claire Bennett and third was Elaine Hopley.
This race is without a shadow of a doubt on my race calendar for future years, the atmosphere
was brilliant, friendly but with a naturally competitive edge. No to mention so many
MTB’ing girls gathered on one beautiful hill. It’s a great way for first timers to get involved
in racing and at the same time a wicked race for the more experienced to get their teeth into.
Even on my feet I’m very glad I went and experienced it.....now, where’s my bike?



 For more photos best check out my Instagram @RACHAEL_GURNEY or Facebook
page.......https://www.facebook.com/rachaelgurneyblog

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