Isla reports from a classic cyclocross battle in the mud, cambers and hills of Bradford’s Peel Park:
“I had an awesome start from a 3rd row grid, getting onto the wheels of Evie Richards [reigning World Champion] and Ffion James. The three of us had just started to open a gap part way round lap one when I slid out on a corner and dropped 9 places. The course was super muddy, almost every corner was foot out survival mode! There were lots of crashes, lots of running and no rest. After the crash I spent the next lap recovering from my attempt to stay at the front of the race. Then I got going again and raced back to 5th U23. I felt a little disappointed after the race, but having checked the lap times I can see that I would have been battling for a medal had I not had a lie down. It didn’t quite go to plan but there’s no way I can be disappointed with my result against girls who train for this! It’s the first time I’ve really felt I can be competitive at national cross which is a great feeling. I need this level of racing to keep me on my toes through the winter, and reflecting on the race it was a really positive day in the saddle which bodes well for the months to come when I get back to wide handlebars and fat tyres!”
Isla’s performance against some very talented cyclocrossers really shows her to be capable of mixing it with the best despite cyclocross remaining secondary, even through the winter, to mountain biking. More importantly, however, is that this weekend’s race shows Isla’s self improvement and with that comes so much positivity and confidence going into the 2017 season. Things are looking good for the year to come!