Rachael Archer shares thoughts on how racing GNCC WXC has gone so far – from winning, to dealing with Epstein Barr virus, to having Mum and Dad come over for Snowshoe next weekend

Rachael Archer shares thoughts on how racing GNCC WXC has gone so far – from winning, to dealing with Epstein Barr virus, to having Mum and Dad come over for Snowshoe next weekend

Rachael Archer shares her thoughts on how racing GNCC WXC has gone so far this season – from winning Opening 2 Rounds, to dealing with Epstein Barr virus, to looking forward to Mum- Lynn and Dad- Kevin come over from NZ with Kevin racing Vets at Snowshoe this weekend!

Rachael Archer winning GNCC WXC Wild Boar Image: AmPro Yamaha

And, the visit from family couldn’t come soon enough. Not only has Rachael not been home in close on 2 years, but also dealing with flare up of the debilitating Epstein Barr virus, even when surrounded and supported by great people, has been exhausting to say the least.

For Rachael has always set the bench-mark high on what she wants to achieve. The quest to race in America’s most prestigious National Cross Country Championship was born long ago, while learning the skills, technique and levels of endurance back on the family’s farm in New Zealand.

After racing a couple of International races – in Australia’s Hattah Desert Race in 2018 along with Dad, followed by couple of Rounds in GNCC WXC same year, Rachael gained ride under AmPro Yamaha from 2019 to present day. Fiercely determined to edge her way up the table board, Rachael achieved 4th Overall in 2019, 2nd in 2020, 2nd in 2021 and currently stands 3rd after 8 of 13 Rounds.

Never one to shy away from challenges, Rachael shares her thoughts on what Epstein Barr has been like, from managing daily tasks, to 2 hour racing.

Rachael: ‘Pretty frustrated honestly – I dug myself a hole, I got Epstein Barr last year and once it went away I completely ignored the fact that it could come back at any time. I was going way too hard, I had 5 weeks of racing in a row and I was training 4 days a week twice a day during that time, so it flared up again due to the fact I was putting myself under way too much stress and not enough recovery.

Rachael Archer recovery after racing GNCC WXC John Penton Image: @mackfaint

You can see it in my results at GNCC, I would lead the first hour and then my body would totally surrender and my heart rate would get so high I couldn’t breathe. At John Penton my average hr was 189 for 2 hrs and the last 2 laps I was purely fighting off adrenaline. I should have won that race, I was in the lead the first hour. And when I got to the finish my vision was blurry and I was so weak I couldn’t stand up. Ended up 3rd with Brandy passing me with 2 miles to go.

It’s a super frustrating illness as it isn’t visible to people like a broken arm or leg, you look fine on the outside but on the inside you feel totally wrecked, drained of all energy and a super high heart rate all the time. I was making the bed the other day and my hr was 110.

I am working with a lot of people to learn more about it and doing everything I can to get it to settle down. The virus stays in your system forever but it can be dormant and you can be normal, it flares up with stress or inflammation. So diet and stress management and recovery are key!

For sure, Rachael is not alone in battling the fine line on how many races are possible to achieve top end results in a season – taking into account time for training, Team meetings, bike set-ups, travel, and rest. And, take the fact that America’s National Cross Country Series races are around 2 hours duration, at speed over uncompromising terrain- there is risk that rider’s exceed physical capabilities to produce maximum performance week-in-week-out.

Knowing Rachael, and her family, performing in robot mode is no option when health has been impacted. Rather, placing utmost importance on managing recovery to be able to perform on the track, without compromising Rachael’s overall health will be priority over final 5 Rounds. And, who better to share the task than with Mum and Dad by her side.

Kevin Archer with NZ’s Chris Birch training for 2019 Merzouga Rally

If ever there is a rider and family who set and achieve goals, so far out of your average comfort zone, it is the Archer’s. Well, for one, Dad- Kevin is making most of opportunity while in America with Rachael to race GNCC Vets at Snowshoe this weekend- adding to list of Enduro/Extreme Enduro accomplishments Kevin has achieved in his racing career.

Speedy recovery Rach, enjoy family, and all the very best for rest of GNCC WXC season.

GNCC WXC Round 9 Snowshoe, July 26-27. Header Photo Rachael Archer, GNCC WXC Camp Coker Image: @actionshotsmx

Words: Sharon Cox

 

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