Jac Marquis reports from her special view of last weekend’s Red Bull Foxhunt in Scotland.
When Red Bull contacted Singletrack earlier this year with dates for this year’s Foxhunt with Rachel Atherton, Jenn e-mailed a few friends straight away asking us to keep the weekend free because we were going to ride together. Although Jenn has been ill, she’s still been riding, running, walking, working and leading what, for most of us, is a pretty full on life. So, as soon as entries opened, we were all on it to make sure we got our entry.
We didn’t know how much riding Jenn would be able to do, but we planned to have a girls weekend of messing about with bikes, drinking tea and eating cake.
Unfortunately, as the Foxhunt drew closer, Jenn’s illness started to get worse, so she had to make the tough decision to start taking things a bit easier, starting with the decision to stand down as deputy editor of Singletrack. It also means that she really hasn’t been able to ride, which is such a big, big part of her life.
Although we’ve all known Jenn’s been ill for a long time, this has really brought home to Jenn’s friends just how serious it really is and what it really means. So in an attempt to show Jenn how much she means to us all and just how influential, inspirational and encouraging she has been in our lives (not just our cycling lives) we’ve begun to go on #jennrides. Taking photos of the rides we’ve been going on, either inspired by Jenn or rides we’ve gone on with Jenn in the past and sharing them as a #jennride.
The RedBull Foxhunt was an event that Jenn really wanted to take part in and one that she had encouraged Kat and I to do to push ourselves, as well as to prove that we can be trusted to do this sort of ride without breaking ourselves (those who know us will know that Kat and I have a bit of a reputation for being accident prone when we ride together). So when she wasn’t able to take part, Jenn was really, really disappointed.
Kat and I both did a lot of soul searching in the run up to the event because it just didn’t seem right to do it without Jenn – after all, it was Jenn’s idea. But we both got a firm instruction from Jenn to get on and do it. So for Kat and I, the RedBull Foxhunt became our big #jennride.
Jenn may not have been there in person, but she was with us all weekend in spirit sending us texts to encourage us, asking us why we were being so cautious, convincing us that we were just as gnarr as all those other girls, telling us to stay safe and telling us to stop making rookie mistakes like forgetting pads and pies (yes, pies! That’s another reputation Kat and I have for our rides together).
It wasn’t the same without Jenn to ride with us, but thanks to RedBull and AthertonRacing it was a fantastic event which turned out to be the biggest all women MTB event in the UK and the biggest all women downhill event in the world. It’s also given me lots of tales of sketchy lines, great trails, almost crashes, oh, and that moment when Rachel Atherton flew past me shouting “come on girls” that I can’t wait to tell Jenn about next time we have tea and cake together.
I reckon even without being there, Jenn did her usual job of inspiring me to WTFU and give it a go.
If you think you might be interested in taking part in the event next time, take a look at the race report below:
This weekend saw hundreds of female downhill mountain bikers take on the Pentland Hills, just outside Edinburgh, in a bid to out-ride multiple World Champion, Rachel Atherton, at Red Bull Foxhunt.
With the magnificent Firth of Forth providing the backdrop to the race, over 100 female competitors wasted no time in racing down the challenging course to avoid getting caught by the fox, Rachel Atherton.
The riders took off from the top of Caerketton Hill and at the end of the 2.75km course, 22 years old Rebecca Baraona, from Manchester emerged victorious, managing to keep in front of the fox. Speaking of her victory she said, “I didn’t ever think I’d beat the reigning World Champion, I kept looking behind me checking to see if she was there, but it must have been hard for her to get past starting from the back. It feels awesome, brilliant, happy days!”
Having offered a few tips and techniques to the competitors the day before, Rachel was impressed with the level of riding, “It was so much fun, absolutely epic, waiting on the top a few hundred yards behind the girls and waiting for them to get out of sight before I set off. It was crazy, there were girls everywhere. All the riders were loving it, they were cheering all the way down. It was amazing – such a good race!”