Monday, 16 August 2010

SDA round 4 - Ae Forest, 15th August 2010

Set off from home on the Friday and it was absolutely chucking it down with rain (can you spot a trend for the racing this year yet?!) thankfully being kept nice and dry in the van with classic KISS rocking out from the stereo system. Amazingly it wasn't raining by the time we arrived and I got myself up the track for a look, no major changes to report on just little bits snipped here and there.

Practice came, blue skies above and pretty warm, the track was more or less bone dry with only a few damp patches in the tree sections, the bike was running really well. There was this one tricky line that a lot of people were struggling with; just after the step-up was a left hander that went across the grass and into a step-down. With the first couple of runs I was hitting it flat out and getting a little sideways, not getting the correct speed to clear the step down. As the day progressed the grass was thankfully getting cut up a lot more making it grippier.

Photo courtesy of Ian Linton

I came off on the lower off-camber section, slipped into a lower line which I didn't want and I was carrying a little too much speed to get back up as a result I washed out. Got straight back on, just sitting on the bike felt a bit odd, transpired I'd bent my seat big time. I channelled the 'Tom-Barker-Book-of-Fixing-Bikes' and used brute strength to straighten it out, got to the bottom of the course and then decided to put the GoPro camera on and film a run or two. (Footage to follow).

When race day came I had enough time to squeeze in two practice runs which I kept steady and clean. When it came to race run number 1 I was feeling quite good although didn't get the start I was hoping for. The beginning went staight into a rocky chute and I managed to find every one of those damn rocks! Hit the step-up that I was talking about earlier at full pelt and on landing I kept the speed up into the grassy left hander that was giving me problems on the Saturday. Was a little over confident here going sideways all the way to the step down which seriously killed my speed, I nearly didn't make it up the jump. Got to the bottom knowing I had time I could make up. I was standing 9th after run one.

Photo courtesy of Ian Linton

I went up for the 2nd run and was feeling really good, unfortunately again I didnt have the best start but everything else was pretty good. When I crossed the line I thought the run was a lot quicker than my first one, unfortunately I only knocked 3 seconds off, I felt it should have been more.

One thing I definately need to start improving is with my sprinting as there were about 100 yards across the fire road which had an incline, I know I can kick in more speed with some more training. Hamsterley Forest here I come!

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