Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Scottish Downhill Series Finals - Fort William

This is the track that my FTW's FB10 was built for, period! It's the ultimate test for any bike component with it being the UK's longest and most most brutal course, and the FB10 came into its own.

Woke up on Saturday morning to be greeted by lashing rain, it wasnt a huge surprise mind you and I was pretty much ready for it with a fresh pair of Maxxis 'Minion' tyres strapped on. Couldn't see the point of running a full bore set of mud tyres on this track, the Minions offered a plentiful amount of grip in the wet. Granted that there was one small section in the woods which was muddy in parts with some tricky roots to throw into the mix, no problem at all for the FB10, skipped and danced all the way through it. It's very unusual for me to be puncture free up at the Fort, one full weekend with no flats, hell yeah, suspension totally dialled in, felt a bit smug when seeing other riders come down air-less! That said, I still see this bike as an 'experiment' in a way, I want Frank to get the best feedback possible, as it stands, and yes I'm biased, I can't see how it can really be improved, it's bang-on. Can't help but feel that the combination of the front and rear Rock Shox suspension really compliments the frame as well. It's just awesome, it totally blew me away at Fort William. Bike set up is absolutely perfect, no faults with anything all weekend.

(Photo courtesy of the Ian Linton)

Saturday's practice went really well, squeezed in five or six runs, could have done more but didnt want to wear myself out. Come race day and I decided to put two practice runs in and kept it steady. I was absolutely belting it on the race run at the top and nailed all my lines. Let myself down on the bottom sections though as that's where the top fitness comes into play and I know I'm not at my peak this season as mentioned in previous blogs. Let it be said that I have already started rectifying this for 2011!

First run down came across the line in 7th place, pretty happy with that. Excited about second run however on the gondola going up we were being seriously buffeted by the wind and I knew it was gonna be hard going as the top of the course is completely exposed. On the course I stupidly pulled back, it was insane, came across the line in 10th place. In future I'll be going all out at the top. Still, 10th place ain't bad.

(Photo courtesy of Ian Linton)

The bike was completely unreal up there and cant wait to go play on that course again next year. Really chuffed with the brake set up as well, no arm pump all weekend of which I'm pleased about.

I've finished the Scottish Downhill Series in 11th Overall for 2010. That's OK, I know where my weaknesses are and the winter's training has already started. Gonna get a new road bike sorted soon too, whether I dabble in cyclocross over winter however remains to be seen!

Full race report of the SDA Final at Fort William can be found on Descent World:

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