Tuesday, 28 June 2011

British Downhill Series Round 4 - Llangollen, Wales 26th June 2011

The British Downhill Series Circus rolled into Llangollen in Wales for their round 4, you can already guess the weather…. chucking it down!

This course followed on from the Dunkeld SDA race rather well in that it’s a nice and steep track, largely out in the open. Saturday was on and off with the rain, so Maxxis ‘Wet Scream’ tyres were the call of the day, perfectly suited. Queue times for the uplift were quite lengthy thankfully the lift itself didn’t take too long and I kept a beady eye on my brake hose this time around!

(Photo courtesy of Laurence Crossman-Emms)

The track started with a long traverse across the hill with a series of steep and tight corners. The middle section of which was absolutely flat out and my plan of attack was to death grip it, this is where the speed-trap was going to be. As the weekend progressed it became rougher but nothing that the FB10 couldn’t handle. Following on were more loose corners the last of which spat you out into a new off camber section followed by three drops and a sprint to the finish line. On the filmed run I landed quite sketchily sending me towards a tree, which made my arse twitch like a rabbit’s nose!!

(Photo courtesy of Tim Joyce)

As Saturday progressed the course became dryer. I kept the Wet Scream tyres on for the rest of the day as it was still patchy in places but swapped to the Minions on the Sunday due to improved course conditions. As a result Sunday was a hell of a lot faster! Managed to pull two practice runs out of the bag, which was good considering the uplift queuing and the fact it was blisteringly hot. Must have drunk about two litres of Vitamin Water to keep hydrated!

(Photo Courtesy of Tim Joyce)

Came down from my first race run disappointed to find myself 14 seconds off the pace and tried to figure out where I’d gone wrong, admittedly I semi-stalled higher up on the course, the rest of the run seemed perfectly fine though. Kept trying to visualize where I’d gone wrong.

(Photo courtesy of Tim Joyce)

My second run, well I felt loads quicker, pretty much nailed the top sections and had a good race pace going on. Flew into the off camber section and took a wider line to carry more speed however little did I know that the corner had disintegrated over the course of the day’s racing! I had a huge moment here yet somehow managed to stay on. I hit the field off the last drop flat out, got my head down and sprinted as hard as I could. Unfortunately I put the posted the same time again I was pretty damned gutted!

(Photo courtesy of Ian McConnell)

Other than the lack lustre result I loved the course and can’t wait for National Championships there in a few weeks’ time. I’m heading off out on the road bike now, gonna get some miles in around the Teesdale countryside!

Monday, 27 June 2011

Some snippets of Angie at Fort William

Just a few snippets on YouTube of our fabulous Angie Coates from the Fort William World Cup. She's the one in the black Fox kit with Development across the chest area, wha-hey :)

Friday, 24 June 2011

Scottish Downhill Series Round 3 - Dunkeld

First and foremost.... WE HAVE THE NEW TEAM STRIPS!!! *Dances a jig* Soooooooooooo impressed with them, a big "Thank You" to David K for taking the vision I had of the tops from my head into an actual design and Brian at The Cycle Jersey for sorting them out at the very last minute, we are completely over the moon with them! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

(Nick looks all set for the breakdancing competition by the looks of that 'pose'...!)

Dunkeld? Two words for ya - steep and technical, 'nuff said! This is one of both Angie and Nick's favourite courses....so, without any further ado...

Everyone was greeted by a dry course on Saturday morning, hallelujah! However it was very much short lived, should've known, it's Scotland and soon rained heavily, joy! Having typed that things were going pretty damn well, Nick was looking as smooth as butter although took a wee tumble in practise, Angie was pretty much pinning it.

(Photo courtesy of Ian Porter)

New sections had been cut into the course to prevent it from becoming 'routine', as time went on the exposed roots became more polished, the mud was nice and sloppy, and in some gloop covered technical sections it was sheer pandemonium as riders did their rather superb impressions of 'Skippy, The Bush Kangaroo'! There were however some more welcome sections, the rock garden being especially so, having the balls to stay well off the brakes and hammer through it lead to it being a total blast! The team's Sun-Ringle wheels were more than up to the job all weekend. Regardless to the weather both riders were loving it.

(Photo courtesy of Barry Primrose)

Blue skies greeted everyone come race day, oh hang on...de ja vu? Best not tempt fate. It was a hell of a lot drier and in some respects worse as the mud was really thickening up...not good! I think both riders got two practise runs in, a few dabs hither and thither but both looking pretty much on it. 

Nick was flat out in the top section, full bore rock strewn, the FTW 'FB10' bike was perfectly at home here. Although a bit of a dodgy moment he didn't lose much time, keeping consistent and coming across the line in 3rd place on his first run. Angie had a few dabs and sat back in second from Bex in front with a 7 second gap. She knew she could make up ten sections on her final run mind you.

Nick wasn't so lucky on the last run after his brake hose was ripped out on the uplift, ....Nick being merely pissed off with this is putting it politely here....! Anyway he bit the bullet, spoke to his minute man, Ryan Chambers, to say he was still doing his run and to give him a shout if he was being caught up. Let's face it, racing's more fun than just pootling back down a fire road looking sorry for yourself! 

Straight off from the start Nick was actually feeling rather confident, this quickly diminished by the time he hit the second corner and realised it was a crazy idea with only a front brake! That said he was pretty much on form, hitting the steep rocky corners with riding tactics that Mr Kovarik would be proud of. He crossed the line with a sub 3-minute time beating plenty of people who had no drama's. The wee lad done well although no podium for him this time around!

(Photo courtesy of Barry Primrose)

Angie was looking pretty confident all weekend, she loves this course and it really suits her riding style. I will get some GoPro footage up shortly. She had a totally mint top section, absolutely flat out however got tangled in the tapes half way down, gutted. She kept it pinned for the rest of her run and held onto her second place but she so wanted to take the win!

(Photo courtesy of Paul Cram)

Next up is the British Downhill Series at Langollen in Wales, bring it on!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Fort William World Cup - 4th and 5th June 2011

Hi everyone, Angie here!

After a beautiful drive up through the Scottish Borders and Glen Coe we got to Fort William on the Thursday before the weekend’s World Cup Race. Got signed on straight away, donned the boots and went for a wander up the track with everything looking sweet, dry n’ dusty.

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

On looking back, one of the things I learned from last year’s race was not to tire myself out so limited myself to 3 practice runs and sectioned the bits in the woods. Felt completely in my element and was loving the course however was finding it hard to get my head around the big drop. It seems a lot of the European and Canadian girls, and obviously the seasoned Pro’s, have much more confidence on this type of drop because of the terrain and trails where they live/race on. Here in the UK there is limited access to trails like this and I know that I'm definitely going to work on stuff like this from now on. So that’s a trip to France for me sorted out at the end of the month….. I’m a-gonna nail me some big drops. :)

The practice went well and I was feeling pretty quick. Walked the track again on Friday night just to check out some lines and make sure I was hitting the right ones.

Got two practice runs in on Saturday morning, hitting all the lines I wanted to, shot through the woods fast and clean, was feeling pretty happy with myself.

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

My qualifying run came around and I was pretty on it until I hit the deck on a stupid loose corner up top, jumped back on quickly and got away again. With trying to make up the lost time I pushed too hard in the bottom section of the woods and came off again, felt absolutely f**king gutted.

With all that said and done I did pull some positives from the weekend; I LOVE my new purple Burgtec pedals, they are super grippy, a big “THANK YOU” going out to the Burgtec guys, you rock!! And I love my new Sun-Ringle wheels too, can you tell I’m a very happy bunny here? I hit a lot of the track faster than I ever have done in the past so I'm really happy about that, a lighter bike certainly helps matters. And of course….. total respect going out to Danny Hart for his 2nd place, you ruled the weekend!

Now there’s the work to be done on the big drops! (These mental notes have been taken down in Biro on several Post-its and are now stuck on my forehead!).

I will get some GoPro helmet cam footage uploaded shortly from the practice runs, there may be some more surprise GoPro footage too but I’m not tellin’ you all just yet!

Next weekend is the Dunkeld SDA, very excited, nice and technical, pray for good weather! See y’all there!