I knew 2016 was going to be a big year for me on the bike.  My first full season racing (after only starting last year) and 13 races booked. Missing out on the European rounds of the EWS through the lottery, I decided it wasn’t necessary to do as much training as I had planned. So, I took a step back to enjoy the races I already had entered, including two feeder rounds for the 2017 EWS; one in France in July and one in Scotland in November to try and get enough points to be guaranteed for next year.

Two months passed by, then the night before I was set to travel to Scotland for the first round of the Tweedlove Triple Crown, I received an email with the attachment for me to enter the 4 European rounds I previously missed out on. This changed my outlook on the racing I was going to be doing. Also upping my total amount of races for the year to 17.

May was the most stressful time for me.  I was racing 3 weekends in a row, one weekend off then another weekend racing. Trying to get all my college work finished to a high standard, training, having time to recover – as well as keeping my social life alive – was very difficult.

The first weekend saw me racing the PMBA Enduro in Lee Quarry. The weekend was the first sunny ride that I had done in the year. The trails were dry and I was confident going into my race after practice. The confidence continued throughout the race, even with a crash on the fire road during the final stage, I managed to finish in 1st!! This left me on such a high for the following weekend, where I travelled to Ireland for the 3rd round of the EWS.

Podium for Abigale at PMBA

Ireland was completely different to any race I had done before. It was by far the longest and most technical. But I found that there wasn’t anything I wasn’t able to ride.  The only thing I struggled with was the transition times on Sunday race day – taking a step back in training and finding out so late that I would be racing, I wasn’t prepared. Peddling up the same hill 6 times in one day and in the blazing sun really took its toll. However, I stuck at it and completed the race well within the timings I had been allocated. Finishing my first world event in 4th U21 women.  I was yet again going to race the following weekend at Scotland in the Tweedlove International, the second round of the Tweedlove Triple Crown series.

Abigale Lawton at EWS Ireland

Scotland was another great weekend, although I was very tired from the two previous weekends on the bike, travelling around and trying to fit life in in between, I was looking forward to it. Unluckily but luckily for me I wasn’t a seeded rider so my racing could be as slow and relaxed as I wanted it to be, this came in handy with it being a two day race event.  Near the end of the first stage on the first day I crashed, so I decided to play it safer for the rest of the day and the following day in order to not repeat it. After a good day of racing on the Sunday I finished my 3rd weekend racing 4th U21 women again.

Abigale Lawton on the Flare stand at Tweedlove

Having the next weekend free from racing gave me the time I needed to catch up on some much missed sleep. I also needed to complete my college work to make sure that I have the grades to start Uni I September. (Even having time off to race I managed to do all my work and finish with full marks.)

Then I headed up to the Lakes to race in the next round of the PMBA Enduro series, Northern Champs, at a secret venue. This was another amazing weekend on the bike as all the trails were new, unridden and cut in purely for the race. After feeling fast all day Sunday race I managed to finish 3rd in the women’s category with fellow Flare rider Claire taking the win.

I’m hoping the rest of the season will go as well as it has done so far this year. The races that I have lined and the experiences that I am going to gain will be ones that I’ll never forget.

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