The route was slightly different from last year's (so I'm told) with extra bits of singletrack cut in, keeping it interesting and not simply following the existing World Champs course. These singletrack sections proved to be quite challenging as the day wore on and the fresh roots became more and more exposed.
Lap 1 went as expected with queues (?!) at most of the tech-y features with people either crashing or getting off and pushing. But by lap 2, it had all strung out well and Maddy and I found our flow. We decided to take turns doing 1 lap each, which I think was the fastest option for us, and we were sitting in 3rd place from the off (I think!).
Photo: Pete Morgan
We were completeing our laps in quite consistent times with no mishaps, until.....BANG!! Two thirds into my 4th lap I though one of the other competitors had resorted to underhand tactics and tried to take a shot at me. Turned out they hadn't and it was just my back tyre exploding! With no option but to leg it back the 4miles to the finish area carrying/pushing/swearing at my bike, it felt like I was on foot for hours and was convinced I had lost us our 3rd place. But it turned out it only cost us about 15-20mins and we were still safe.
In the end, Maddy & I completed 9 laps in 10hrs40mins and earned ourselves a respectable step on the podium.
The Walkers Cycling girls Alexis Barnes and Julie Nimmo took second, while the Craigie girls Kim and Lee took 1st with 10 laps.
Photo: Ross Black
We also took the opportunity to model the new kit at the race. The fists on the shorts seem a lot bigger when I'm wearing them though....