Saturday, 21 December 2013

2013

This year has been a roller coaster of a year for me, I've learnt a lot on and off the bike, theres been some ups and downs, highs and lows but a successful year. 
I've achieved most of my goals this season, I won the National Championships in the U23 womens category, podiums at all the British national rounds attended and earned my first top 10 within the U23 category in 8th place at Nove Mesto World Cup which to be honest exceeded my expectations of myself.

Next year I am definitely looking forward to trying to step up again and achieve my goals I've set myself, them being challenging I've got that extra belief in myself I can now achieve them after a great first year in the elite category. I love racing my mountain bike and I look forward to every race I attend and relish in the challenges I face. 

I have to thank my sponsors for this year as with out them my achievements wouldn't be possibly. Massive thank you to Hargroves Cycles & Specialized for supplying me with my race bikes, equipment and support throughout this years domestic race scene, the support has been brilliant and I couldn't ask for anymore and can't wait to continue to ride for them again next year. 
Another thank you goes out to Prendas, the clothing accessories are fab they keep me warm in the winter and are comfortable all year round, big thank you to them.
Schwalbe also have been a fab personal sponsor of mine who have continued to support me for the 4th year running, I can always rely on Schwalbe rubber to keep me up and rubber side down. 


And finally a big Merry Christmas to all of you who take time to read this, and a Happy New Year! Heres to another successful year in 2014 and I hope you'll all follow me again through the year with more race reports, pictures and updates! Don't forget to follow me on twitter too @BethCrumpton !

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

No World Champs for me..

Tomorrow I was suppose to be jetting off to a continent I had never visited and country, South Africa for the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships for the biggest race of the year, which I had been targeting and working for all year.
Getting selected was a job in itself, I had worked hard in training and got the results domestically and internationally I needed in order to get selected. South Africa was going to be a big experience, learning how to operate on the back of a long haul travel and on such a technical track which I was really looking forward to. I had been on pre-worlds training camp in the peaks, being the only girl for the majority of the camp, I was working hard and was getting into the form I wanted after all the hard work I had been doing, I was happy and looking forward to the upcoming championships as well as the last British round. 

Unfortunately last week, I started to feel ill with a sore throat which meant I missed the round at Hadleigh to try and feel better but devastatingly I was diagnosed with glandular fever just yesterday. Which means after all my hard work and trying as hard as possibly not to get ill, it didn't happen and unfortunately I'm unable to fly off to South Africa and compete at the World Championships. Of course I am absolutely gutted about this as I was really looking forward to race and give it my all. I'm now trying to rest and get better at home and hopefully be well enough to race the last World Cup in Norway to end my season. On the positive side I finished the British Mountain Bike Series in 2nd place overall in my first year elite which I'm really happy with and was not expecting at all.
I wish the rest of the GB team going off to SA the best of luck.

Monday, 29 July 2013

British Mountain Bike Championships at Cathkin Braes, Glasgow


After a long drive up to Glasgow on the friday ready for one of the biggest races of the year situated in Cathkin Braes, where in a years time it would hold the Commonwealth games, I was ready to race after a good couple of weeks preparation. It was probably the first time I had been to Scotland where the temperatures exceeded 20 degrees and the sun was shining without clouds in the sky. The course was very fast and flowing, man-made, fun and very loose with gravel. 


Sunday morning arrived and I had prepared well and was ready to race, with the race behind schedule by about 25 minutes, the U23 category was finally called up some 6-7 minutes after the elites and junior had set off. The gun went and I had a good fast start off the line and around the start loop leading it out, getting into the single track first with Becky Preece(U23) on my wheel I hit it hard to get a good lap in and see if I could drop her so I could get away early on my own. After lap 1 I had dropped her and got a lead of just over half a minute, lap by lap I extended my lead catching up with the other categories in front of me, riding on my own and reeling others in. I was so determined to win this race, ride it smoothly, be careful on my equipment and avoid any crashes, to get round and win the race. Coming up the finishing straight, I celebrated my first win of the year and even better earned myself another red,white and blue stripy jersey. 


I'm mega chuffed with the result, this means I have a year to wear the jersey in the U23 category at World Cups abroad and I'll definitely be proud to wear it in my races to come up within the next year, before defending it all over again next year. Thanks to all my sponsors at Hargroves for the support up to this event, Schwalbe tyres for some new rubber and Prendas for some new shiny socks to wear.

Monday, 8 July 2013

British Mountain Bike Series Round 3- Hopton Woods

The sun had finally decided to make an appearance in the UK just in time for the third round of the British series in the small village of Hopton Castle in the Shropshire hills. Coming off the back of the first two World cups, I knew I was in good form and after a training camp with the Olympic Development in a very wet Derbyshire the week running up to the race, I was feeling good and looking forward to race.


The course was a long one, longer than normal, of 7.5km a lap and lots of climbing with fast flowing decents and a fair bit of fire road, which meant it was going to be a long race. Sunday morning arrived and being a 50 minute drive from the venue meant another early morning was needed, but the sun was shining and I was off to race my mountain bike so it was worth it.
On to the race, I’d warmed up enough to not over heat but just right and went to gridding, where this time I had earnt enough points to make it on to the front row. The start field on the other hand made you feel like you were crawling out of the arena like a snail, it was so bumpy and sloggy and then straight into the very steep part of the first climb. I had a good start and got out in second wheel and then slipped into fourth wheel on the main part of the climb, just sitting in as this climb was a long one. I jumped into second wheel to get in to the first decent and started to press on on the final part of the climb up the fire road, going over the top I put my effort in and soon found myself on my own which I then decided to press on some more. I found myself on my own with about a 30second lead after the first lap and found myself leading the race for the first time this year in the elite category.
Going into the second lap I had just about the same lead but with second place making a charge for me. I still had 2 laps to go and it was starting to slog, and at the top of the climb in lap 3, Mariske in 2nd had caught me and we were together. Going down in to the finish I ended up getting caught behind some back markers of other categories and dropped of the back of Mariske by about 15 seconds and I also knew I was starting to suffer with the longer race, 1 more lap to go I just had to try my best and give it my all, the first half a lap I was feeling ok and starting to dig in to catch up but Mariske was just that bit stronger and started to pull out a gap on me even more and with me blowing half way round the last lap the gap stretched open even more.
I was more than happy to finish the race in 2nd and having lead for two laps, my plan was to go out hard and start the race fast, and I knew I’d suffer in the last lap as the race was much longer but again it’s all another learning curve.
Another learning curve this weekend was experiencing dope control for the first time, being followed and watched at all times for 4 long hours, being too hydrated became a problem, and third time lucky I was let free, next time I’m hoping it will never take that long again and I’ll learn not to drink back loads of water after my finish.
All good preparation for another tough training block before the third round of the World Cup Series in 2 weeks time and the European Championships the following week after.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

UCI MTB XC World Cup Round 2 Nove Mesto Na Morave, Czech Republic

After a great start to the World Cup season in Germany, I was more than looking forward to see how I could do at round 2 in the Czech Republic, after a speedy trip across Germany and a days’ worth of travelling, we arrived in the scenic country-side of the Czech Republic in the cross country ski region of Nove Mesto na Morave.

I had a week to prepare before my race on the Saturday, a few steady road rides and a couple of days on course and I was feeling good, rested and fresh and feeing good on the back of the previous world cup and I was really looking forward to it. The course was a great one, and one of my favourites, it consisted of 5 short climbs with roots and rocks everywhere, on the flat and downhill. All the features were man made, including rock gardens, drops and jumps which made it a really fun course and a great one to race on.
Saturday morning arrived and I had my lines dialled and was ready to race, my nerves were fluttering but nowhere near the amount as the previous week in Germany, I warmed up & put my tunes on and went to the start. All I needed was a good start to get in with the front of the race and see how long I could last there.
The gun went and again bad luck struck again when a group of girls crashed in front of me as the road started to bottle neck and I came tumbling down as well and got all tangled up and caught in bikes, a road crash is never nice, it hurt but I got back up and was on my own as I saw the kick up of dust from the back of the race ride away from me. Shaking my head my adrenaline kicked in, along with a little bit of anger I chased after the race, coming round the start loop in 40
th place and 2mins down. I wasn’t going to let this stop me have a good ride, I knew I had good form and I wanted to better my position from last week so I could earn some more UCI points. I rode my own race picking of girls as I raced through, riding over the top of the climbs and descending as smooth as possible so I was able to recover but gain time at the same time. Lap 2 I was 22nd and moving forward, lap 3 I was 12th, the same position I finished the week before but with a handful of girls in front of me I wanted to get into the top 10. I made sure I wasn’t making in any stupid mistakes and rode well technically and climbed well, going into the last lap I’d got up to 8th spot and couldn’t believe it, I just had to hang on for one more lap. Last lap was a struggle and my early efforts were starting to hurt and the climbs started to feel longer and steeper, legs were burning and a girl was closing in on me who had earlier punctured, I just had to get to the top of the last climb and I knew I could pin the descent and gap some time on her in to get into the finishing straight first and sprint to the line.
I finished in 8th spot, my best race and best World Cup result ever, I finished the line in bits and just wanted to sit down and not get back up.
I was over the moon with my race and was just annoyed that I didn’t get the start I wanted, but there’s enough more races to come in order to get the start I want so I can get in with the front of the race. On the positive side I came away with a handful of more UCI points and even better some prize money!
It had been a great 10 days away, a lot learnt from yet another couple of mega World Cup experiences and looking forward to getting back in to another block of training in preparation for World Cup 3 in Val di Sole in Italy and the European Championships in Berne, Switzerland.
In the mean time I have the 3rd round of the British Mountain Bike Series this weekend at Hopton woods, which I’m looking forward to as it’s a fun course to ride and looking forward to better my 3rd spot from round 2. Also keep an eye out of the British Cycling insight Zone for some video footage from the Czech republic from the race and interviews.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

MTB XCO World Cup Round 1 Albstadt, Germany


This weekend was my first U23 World Cup in Albstadt, Germany, the first weekend when the big racing begins and nerves are running very high.
I was really excited but ofcourse nervous going into this race; 1- I had no idea where In the pack of girls I thought I could be finishing in or racing around, 2- The course was a beast and 3- I couldn’t wait to smash some mega racing.
World Cups have been great experience for me as a junior which I had the opportunity to do so and my opportunities have increased being part of the programme.
Going in to the race I was feeling good, my legs were feeling fresh and physically all well. The course was a steep one, mega steep climbs up and very technical steep, rocky and slippy descents.  With a few tumbles in course practice and a swollen egg on my chin and my chimp put back in its cage, I was ready to race my first U23 world cup of the year.
I was gridded in 27th position which was on the 4th row of the grid and was going to be a battle for positions into the first lap. That it was and I was off and running up the first climb, jump back on for a bit and then back off running down the first very technical muddy descent which wasn’t perfect and was in about the 30’s and having to make up some places, by running at girls standing in line waiting to walk down a hill, it’s a bike race, I wasn’t going to wait around… elbows out all out!
For the rest of the race I was picking up places as I went through, making efforts up the climbs to make sure I could get in to the descent first and catch places up downhill as well as up, which was more fun as the descents were awesome, slippy and fun made for something to look forward to at the top of a gruelling climb.
Going in to the last lap I was on my own, I wasn’t even sure where I actually was in the race, I thought I was in about 16th which I was happy with, but coming in to the finishing straight, I finished 12th! I was so happy and dead chuffed with this result and now have a marker to where I am in the U23 field and where to improve, definitely to have a better start for sure!
My fate rode mega on the descents and rolled over the rocks b-e-autifully and made them very enjoyable. Now I know where I am on form and in the field I hope to improve and gain more experience next week at round 2 of the World Cup Series in Nove Mesto in the Czech Republic. Wish me luck!
J

British Mountain Bike Series Round 2 Redruth, Cornwall



I was looking forward to racing somewhere new, this being a very long 6hour drive to Redruth in Cornwall. Arriving friday night in plenty of time and went out for a spin with Grant & Kenta, coming across the race course and it looked really good, so good we were itching to go for a blast around but had to resist.
Saturday was practice day and a ride down to the course with the guys and get on course which I was looking forward too, I headed out on my first lap to try and attempt to keep up with Grant and the first bit being a descent was great fun and I nearly kept up.
The course was very loose, rocky/shaley and hilly. A mega fun track which was going to be a very quick lap, something I really enjoyed and was looking forward to the bike race and more definitely needed on the UK race scene.

I was gridded 12th, on the second row, so I lined up hoping that the girl in front of me had a good start so I could get in the single track in the top 2, as it was a 1.5k descent and a mega fun one. The gun went and the girl in front missed her pedal, so as I’ve learnt from junior world cups, elbows out all out, as I weaved through riders through the start field, I got into 2nd  behind Lee Cragie who led it out down the first decent. The first lap was fast and I was hanging on the back of the leading back of 3 in fourth on the climbs and gaining time on the decents, I then started to settle in sitting fourth before we hit the bus stop where carnage occurred in the front 3 which meant I was off my bike and sliding down on my back side down the other side and getting back on the bike made it very difficult.
As I saw the front 3 ride away I made a big effort to get back up to the 2 in front, I managed this going into lap 2 catching them up on the first decent. I was happy with how I was riding, as I knew I was riding good technically catching up riders and could potentially pull out gaps on others.
Half way round lap 2 I passed 3rd position and 2nd was about 10 seconds in front and I was on my own in 3rd just in front of 4th by about another 10 seconds. Going into lap 3 I wanted to try my best to catch up to 2nd but that was looking unlikely so I focussed on not blowing and riding my own race. I was gaining time on the descents and riding well technically and keeping it on up the climbs. Coming in to the finish I had come home in third a result I was dead chuffed with, happy with how my form was coming along and really enjoyed the tighter racing. I also loved my Fate 29er round this course, it rode mega, and love it the more I ride and race it.
 

This result has put me 2nd overall in the standings now and definitely put me in for the fight for the overall series, keeping racing exciting and competitive. So 4th last time, 3rd this time, I’ll try my best for position higher next time round. Between now and then I’m racing the Scottish XC on the Commie games course which will be great to check out and then the first 2 rounds of the World Cups begin in Germany and the Czech Republic something I am really looking forward to kick off in the U23 women’s category.
Thanks to Andy Whitehouse for the Photos.