Friday night we set off from the rainy Highlands for the Pentland Hills surrounding Edinburgh for this years Red Bull Foxhunt. This was the 2nd year of the Foxhunt and hopefully the 2nd year of many! The event is the only female mass start race in the world!
We arrived at the site on Friday night (after getting lost numerous times) just in time to register! Even in the dark it was clear to see the effort Red Bull had put into the event! Tippee’s galore and loads of happy riders roaming about I could already tell it was going to be in awesome weekend.
Saying that Saturday morning didn’t feel so awesome when I pulled myself from bed at around 7 in the morning (this time should be illegal at weekends). I headed back to the race JUST in time for the 8:30 briefing and to grab a quick breakfast of porridge and flapjacks.
Heading up for the first practice run we loaded our bikes onto the Jeeps and headed up the Pentlands. Once the Jeeps had gone as far as they could up the hill our bikes were moved from the trails and moved by the event team over onto buggies to take them most of the way up. The whole uplift system worked really well and judging from what the girls that were there last year were saying it was pure bliss in comparison! The small walk up by foot was good warm up for the ride down anyway.
The first practice run down was more of a track check. The track wasn’t really techy so there wasn’t really any line choosing but it was super-fast!
We continued practice through the morning and early afternoon on the Saturday before taking a break for lunch! After lunch we launched straight into seeding, I was at the top end of the numbers so had a bit more waiting round at the bottom.
The seeding run was going so well until the bottom stage where I launched off track and had to turn around and cycle back up to re-join the track! I came down and finished seeding in 45th place out of the 150 riders so I was feeling pretty stoked going into tomorrow’s race.
Lululemon were on hand at the race too, to put on yoga classes for the girl on both the Saturday and Sunday morning!
After another briefing and breakfast on the Sunday I soon realised that there was going to be no hanging about! First practice was straight after the briefing at half 9 and last practice uplift was 10:20am. I opted for half a practice run on the more technical part of the course as I felt I had done far too many practice runs on the Saturday and tiered myself out for seeding.
After an hours or so chilling in the glorious Edinburgh sunshine I headed up on the uplift for one last time! I hadn’t been nervous about the race at all as I think I had forgotten that it was a mass start race till that moment! At the top of the hill 150 girls waited anxiously all lined up ready to take on the fox (Rachel Atherton). I think most people there were a bit apprehensive about the mass start as there aren’t many mass start events so must people weren’t sure how to approach it. Then the Horn went off and so did we. The mass start was carnage! The uphill section straight after the start saw mass collision and falls. Most of us opted to hop off and run up! After the uphill section we were met with continuous obstacles all the way down the course from disgarded bikes in the middle of the track to people falling into you it was downright carnage yet so much fun! Sprinting across the field I felt like my lungs were going to collapse at some point in the race!
I headed into the final more bike parkish section of the track where I heard from behind me ‘come on Rach’ and I knew I was about to be caught by the fox!
Second later Rachel flew past me! But I knew I was near the bottom and should just keep pedalling!
I rolled across the finish line in 39th position out of 150 making up 6 places on my seeding time! The real congratulations should go to Bex Baraona who stormed down the hill in under 4 minutes no way the fox was going to catch her with a time like that!
1st BARAONA Rebecca
2nd MILLS Cheri
3rd BEATTIE Fiona
One thing that struck me with this event was just how friendly everyone was! All the girls made a really effort to talk to one another, so whether you came to the race on your own or with a group of friends you were sure to make some new friends by the end of the weekend.
Now to wait for next year and the goal for next year is to not get caught by the fox!