The world's largest women's mountain bike race, Red Bull Foxhunt with Rachel Atherton, returned for its 3rd year this weekend but with a twist: a new venue making for a longer and new, improved track.
After being held on the outskirts of Edinburgh previously, the Foxhunt chose a new location in the heart of the Eden Valley that could accommodate over 230 riders. With its rolling hills, endless trails and breathtaking backdrops, Cumbria is a destination hotspot for UK mountain biking and is by no means short on space, which makes it the perfect venue to hold such a number of riders.
With the opportunity to create a fresh, new and exciting course came the opportunity to create more chalenging features. Speaking of the new location and course prior to the event, Rachel Atherton said: “This new course is in a gorgeous location and it’s set to challenge the racers with some technical features - including switchbacks, some steep and rocky terrain, and multiple line choices for maximum over-taking! I can’t wait
The event is not solely about the racing, however, it's also about strengthening ties between women in the cycling community. It's an event in many women mountain-bikers calendar not to be missed, and there was no less of a sense of anticipation this year as all the tickets were sold out within 8 hours of release. The event brings together women from all over the country and creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere for the highly experienced rider and also the newcomer. It depicts how relaxed and welcoming the mtb community is, whether you're a man or woman, and is the perfect place to meet up and relax with friends and make new ones.
Saturday morning began with a rider briefing and unfortunately the weather wasn't on the riders' side and the uplifts were cancelled, but that certainly did not dampen their spirits. The women pushed on through, hike a biking, through the mud and grass, with friends by their side to ease the push.
The majority of women had not seen the course, only the preview that Rachel had posted only hours before, meaning that many had not prepared for the terrain and conditions they would soon face.
Before they knew it, race day was upon them, and the sun shone through the morning fog to make a bright start to the day. The grass was glistening with the early morning dew and the uplift Jeeps were ready to give the climb another go. As race practice started, the tensions rose for the many that had not experienced race nerves before.
The track had dried out over night making the dirt grippier for the riders. This was a welcome change, as the slick conditions the previous day made for many crashes, especially on the off-camber sections. Despite the increased grip a "foot out, flat out" approach would have to be taken in order to make any overtakes and to beat Rachel. But the hardest part that the riders had yet to face was seeing if they could hold their lines from practice when accompanied by hundreds of other riders come race time.Results:
1st Rosie Holdsworth
2nd Roslynn Newman
3rd Rosy Monaghan
Find the full results here
See you next year!