Tuesday, 20 July 2010

2010 National Championships - Ae Forest

Here's the low down fella:

Usually I am not very impressed with Ae Forest, mainly because it's always wet. Walking up the track I didn't think it was going to be much better, however the lads ain't half done a lot of work from the last time I was up there. Come Saturday it had been raining (quelle surprise!) however the track was actually great fun to ride. Up at the start it had a new long straight that traversed across the hill into a tight right where the track soon joined the older one and then down into the woods. A good choice of lines, all of which were full of nice and slippy off camber roots. The track opened up into a section resembling a BMX track so I felt at home there, however at the end of this section was a right hand hip jump which I had been struggling with for a while as I cant hip to the right for toffee! Damn it!

(Photo courtesy of Ian Linton - http://www.ianlinton.com/)

The course continued through a few drops and corners, across a fire road and through the main rock garden. The bike was pretty much soaking everything up, perfect. A sprint to a step-up had a boggy and rutty take off which sent you sideways, it was a great laugh yet pretty scary at the same time, you were never sure you'd land it right! If you got the step up sorted you could pedal down to the coffin jump which covers a 20ft gap, it was fairly easy to clear this and then you dropped into the last wooded section which was pretty slippy with exposed by this point. Hitting the left hander you covered the huge step down straight into some monster berms. Got straight on the gas in this section for the small uphill before dropping into the 'elevator', a huge almost vertical shoot, quite scary getting airborne at the top and this then took you head on into the finish area.

It felt bizarre, what with it being a race weekend and managing to get loads of runs in, I must have hit about nine in total but could have easily done more!! Virtually unheard of anywhere else, excellent!

Come Sunday it was a little wetter (to put it politely!) which wasn't good, there were literally little rivers running down sections of the track, cue: lots of muddy spray! M
y qualifying run went 'OK', just the one mistake where I slipped off the track. Having said that I felt pretty much on it for my race run.

(Photo courtesy of Ian Linton - http://www.ianlinton.com/)

The weather was absolutely crazy, really wet and windy, I had nothing to lose in my race run. Went from the start sprinting like hell and halfway down managed to clip a rock, I bounced sitting on my seat into the first corner where I managed to get my feet back on, numpty! After that mistake everything was cool I really nailed my lines including the bottom sections of the course. Sadly the mistake at the top cost me a good 10 seconds, I missed out on the top ten. All in it was a great weekend, the bike is riding really well, no faults with anything.

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