Jenn: Umm Jurn 24-Hour XC MTB Race
A remarkable Paddy's Day spent riding in the Rasen Sports 24-hour Umm Jurn XC Mountain bike race this weekend. A very successful race with lots of learning for everyone and another gold medal to add to the winnings. Hugs to everyone who wished us well before the race - much appreciated!
So proud of John Henry Hancock for a strong 3rd place podium just a wheel behind Davy Muller. The two rode together over 350km and still had time for massages, leisurely rest stops and full meals - machines!!
I had a nap between midnight and 3:30AM or so, but still surpassed my goal by a long way to reach over 250km! It was a painful race, but I don't feel the recovery will take too long thanks to all of my training this year. I took first place in the Women's Solo category - a win I won't soon forget!!
It was a real treat to ride Abdullah's farm - the forest section was alive with birds chirping, cicadas buzzing, frogs hopping, and the rain falling for much of the evening. I wasn't sure how I would feel during the race, but with all the training and preparation with coach Szymon Wasiak and team Tawaf, I was able to surpass my goal and even enjoy this crazy challenge. The strong headwind was intense, but also good for training for JoBerg2c coming in April.
Throughout the night, I kept thinking about how amazing the volunteers were for giving up their night to sit at checkpoints to track us as we cycled past in the dark. Thanks to the organizers, route planners and everyone at Rasen Sports who made this race happen. Kevin Hickey - you are a star race organizer (and congrats on your first place with the legend Les Brown)! Really appreciate all the effort it takes to pull this all together.
A very special shout-out to Natalie Pait (Jim Pait and Jodie Delich Pait's daughter) who persevered through her first endurance mountain bike race at just 13 years old and managed to ride a huge 85km with a smile on her face!
Also, big respect to Perrine Fages on her first mountain bike race...in classic Perrine style, it's all or nothing!! And she not only completed it (and got a very special medal), but also her and teammate Natali Van Loggerenberg rode consistently through the night to finish with a strong 4th place win in their pairs category (congrats to Kevin Hickey and Les Brown on 1st place, and Julie Melville and Neil Melville on their incredible 2nd place juggling racing and parenting through the day and night).
Thanks to Fawaz AlShammri for a fun lap and a chat while he was testing out his e-bike and unreliable light! He has incredible whistling skills, if you didn't know!
Super impressed with our support this weekend! Thanks Jodie Delich Pait for the coffee run yesterday morning. Ela Shaw Hickey you were a breath of fresh air! Great to see you there despite your injuries. So happy to see Szymon Wasiak all the way from Poland to show support for his Qatar athletes!! And the lovely Wajeeha Al-Husseini and Caroline van Aartrijk stopped by for some pit support and a chat. Also a brief appearance by Shawn Deleu and Joyce Malley who cheered us on while checking out the farm ;) And I just remembered Vlad Rosca Metaxa cheering us on in the middle of the course!! I thought I had dreamt it!!
Thanks to the Qatar Cookie Man for supplying us with what I am sure was life-sustaining chicken noodle soup (which we decanted into thermoses supplied by Gail Waddleton - thanks Gail!!) and energy bites.
Congrats to the other winners and competitors for a huge effort this weekend! Rest up and see you at the next one! :)
As always, thanks to Carbon Wheels Bike Shop for your support of women cyclists in Qatar!
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