With her first ever Elite win, Isla wrapped up the British XC Series title in fine style this weekend.
Isla had produced solid rides at each round of the British Series this year but luck had never really gone her way. However, with a string of strong international results under her belt, Isla went into the final round in Cannock Chase with fine form, confidence and the stars aligning.
Here’s how the race panned out for Isla:
“Beth and I got away on first lap and stayed together for two and a half laps. I kept testing her legs on every climb, getting out the saddle and pushing on but she stuck like glue! We switched the lead a few times but I didn’t let her get away. Then suddenly on a short steep climb I got a few bikes length advantage, and then went down the rock garden quicker than her so I attacked to get out of sight ASAP. This was halfway through lap three. Then I just got my head down and kept gaining time.
I felt really comfortable when I was with Beth and I knew I could come strong at the end given a comparison of our recent lap times. I just waited for a bit, tried to gauge how Beth was feeling and then make my move when the opportunity presented itself. I felt really strong on the climbs and was able to get out the saddle and put the power down every time.”
After breaking her back last year, Isla’s plan was to come back in 2016…but not too early. She had a steady start to the season, as planned, but that’s not always easy for an athlete to deal with. Steady is not what Isla wants to be! However, the pace picked up quickly as she started hitting form, with a brilliant World Cup result in Albsatdt, followed by even better in La Bresse and better again in Lenzerheide – just missing out on a top 10. Last week at the Hadleigh Park International Isla stormed to 9th place in a World-class Elite field, and now finally her hard work and determination sees her atop the podium.
To be honest it’s not really hit me yet! Six months ago I thought I was a long way off winning a National again, and taking the series is such an awesome bonus. I’m in total shock that I keep having good races..like why has nothing gone wrong! I’m feeling great, and what’s better is I know that there is more to come.”