Mel reports from the BMBS Series Hopton

Our Elite rider Melanie Alexander reports from the British Mountain Bike Series race at Hopton 27th May 2012.


It has been a while since my last blog, so here is a catch up on what I have been up to in the 8 weeks leading up to Hopton. After 3 Weeks of having my right arm in a sling firmly strapped to my body (very frustrating) I returned to hospital where a consultant studied my x ray and was about to sling my sling in the bin, though I quickly retrieved it saying just in case I need it again. He sang music to my ears ‘’use your arm, move it as much as you can but no lifting’’.  This seems so long ago now but I am pretty sure my first question was ‘’can I ride my mountain bike?’’ With the reply of ‘’as soon as it’s comfy’’, next question ‘’but what if I fall of?’ His response was ‘’you will be very unlucky to break it again’’. The collar bone was healing fine and I was sent straight to see the Physio because at that point I had very little strength and movement in my shoulder which had not moved for 3 weeks. Over the next 3 weeks the movement and strength came back rapidly. I was considering racing at Wasing until the weekend beforehand I twisted my ankle stepping of the bottom step of our stairs, unbelievable!

I was lucky enough to almost not stop training with my fractured Collarbone. After a week I was able to train on the turbo twice a day, five times a week. In the morning hideous intervals and then a steady spin in the afternoon. I knew I was maintaining my level of fitness and the intervals could not be harming but I was concerned about what I was losing with lack of hill efforts, the longer rides and skills on a mtb. Four weeks after the fracture I could ride the mtb on the road though I could not ride a road bike. A week later I started riding on fire roads and soon after nervously off road. For the two weeks leading up to Hopton I have been able to train as normal, interval sessions have reduced and been replaced with more mountain biking and I have been enjoying it hugely. I’m still doing exercises to build my shoulder up but it is getting stronger.

The third BMBS Series at Hopton was great.  Luckily the descent was not technical as I have not got my confidence fully back but I am happy back on my bike building it up again and going down the same fun descent four times was great, so rewarding. Hopefully I will loosen up more in time for Kirroughtree. It was just great to be racing again.

I worked my way up to fourth up the first climb then at the top I just sneaked into 3rd in time for the descent. Louise Robinson who was right on my wheel passed me on the descent and I clung on to her wheel as long as I could but she was much smoother on this first lap. By the bottom of the descent Louise had gained a gap and Carla Haines and Zephanie Blasi were hot on me though I managed to gradually pull away on the climb again. For the Next two laps I had Louise in sight on the climb and descent, the gap could not be more than 20 seconds and I began to ride a bit smoother on the descent. At the start of the fourth lap I was 10 seconds down on Louise and I really believed I could get third, I just had to make sure I got to the top with enough of a gap so she could not catch me on the descent. Tough I knew but I felt good and she looked like she was tiring. I was slowly closing the gap but happy to not attack too early. At the top just after the feed station where it began to flatten off  I planned to go hard, though Louise had the same plan and she destroyed me, she rode away so strongly and must have flown down the descent overtaking Jessie on her way finishing 2nd overall. I had a not so smooth final descent just hoping to hold 4th, which I did.

Mel on the left on the Hopton podium


It was a fantastic race by many especially Jessie Roberts in her first BMBS podium, Louise Robinson with an amazingly strong finish and Gabby Day with a convincing win.

I enjoyed being at and racing at Hopton, the climb hurt and the descent was rewarding. It was a perfect race as a first race to ease me back in. I now feel in good position to train for the rest of the series and National Camps, feel focused, feel excited and just really appreciate being able to race, train and ride again.

Thanks again to my sponsors

Just Riding along

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