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The Matrix Fitness GP Series - Part 2

Being in the teaching profession, it is sometimes hard to get to mid-week events with not having ‘time off flexibility’ but luckily for me the second round of the Matrix Fitness GP Series fell in half term week. This was taking place in Motherwell, a fair few miles north from my Yorkshire home, meaning a couple of nights away.  One of the best things about being part of the Carnac-Planet X Ladies team is the friendship and support we all give each other, and just as I was starting to look for accommodation, in came a message from Nic, telling me she had already booked a place for us to stop.

Rolling over the A66 and then up the A74 was a scenic drive for me, even the sun was shining. I arrived there shortly before Nic and Sandra and had just enough time to suss out the parking arrangements for the hotel. Stewart had also travelled up to support us, so Monday evening was a ‘Frankie and Bennys’ night for a meal together.

Tuesday dawned and after a good breakfast, we all kitted up and rode out to the course. Not knowing the area, we did take our lives into our own hands, riding briefly down a dual carriageway before turning and heading up towards Motherwell centre. The Scottish police had obviously been warned of our presence and not long after coming off the dual carriageway we came across several of them waiting with their motorbikes. After being given instructions of how to get back to the hotel without the dual carriageway we couldn’t help but make the most of this opportunity to take a team photo with our latest recruits. 

Up to the course, a few laps to get the feel and all of us were happy with the circuit. There was nothing too technical or hilly, just a slight drag up to the start-finish area and a short downhill on the other side of the course.

We headed back to the hotel via the more scenic route around a watersports centre with a large lake and planned out the rest of the day; Stewart would collect our rollers and kit in the afternoon and drive them to the HQ for us, whilst we cycled there for the team briefing and warmed up before the race started at 17:30.

Shortly before 17:00 we finished our warm ups and headed up to the course which was a short distance away. We joined the other riders on the course, keeping our legs warm, checking out entry and exit lines into the corners, feeling the wind direction on each section and watching the clock tick down towards the 17:30 start time. Ten minutes to go and the race line up began, the crowd being whipped into life by the commentators and the atmosphere becoming electric. 

Then, we were off! Calm (ha ha!) neutralised lap to begin and then the race properly began. With the smell of carbon brake blocks from the first descent into the left hander, the race already began to split with groups forming.  Sandra and I were in the same group, and we worked hard, picking Nic up a few laps later.

We had lots of encouragement from Stewart in the pits and we kept working together. The slight drag up to the start-finish area became harder each time. It was fast and furious, hard-work, but great fun too with the crowds, atmosphere and superb organisation. So, race over, it was back to the hotel for showers before out for a meal together. A Mexican restaurant was decided on this time before bed and alarms set for an early start to travel home in the morning.

It was a really great and memorable couple of days. Many thanks to Stewart for taking time off to come and support us. As for me, it’s a real shame I can’t get to any of the other events.

Words by Sarah Cramoysan

1 June 2015