Wednesday, 18 April 2012

British Downhill Series Rnd 1, Combe Sydenham 15th April 2012

I am totally LOVING my new colourful Fox Racing kit, it stands out loads more and I'm sure that pink makes me go faster!! :D

Travelled down to Combe Sydenham on the Friday, it took about 7 (long!) hours and then I walked the track. I had heard rumours it was going to be a really pedally cross-country fest but it wasn't that bad actually. Had some cool sections in through the trees and then some flat out parts with doubles and table top jumps with a rocky chute at the bottom, not half bad!

Practice went well, a drizzly start to the day but the track dried out super quick by the afternoon. I got about five runs in which wasn't bad considering the uplifts to the top were slow. Did a second track walk and found a few new lines I wanted to try the following morning, felt good.

(Photo courtesy of Paul Aveil)

Sunday came and I only managed one practice run, the seeding run was OK, I went a bit squirrely on a couple of lines and didn't pedal enough on the fire road sections. Took a 5th place but knew I could improve on my time of 3.28.
I'm not normally very good at eating on a race day but forced some food down with the hope it would make a difference and headed up for my race run. Once out of the gate it was evident that I was on a faster run but had slightly messed a line up top, I never got to find out how that panned out however as unfortunately my run got red flagged, a rider in front of me had hit the dirt and was waiting for the medics.
(Photo courtesy of Dave Barton at Burgtec)

So, headed straight back up for a re-run and admittedly was getting pretty tired by this point as had just sprinted all the pedally sections just a few moments before. My final race run was good though, got every line dialled in and knocked the gear down to push it harder which I think made a big difference. I finished 11 seconds faster with a 3.17 which pushed me into 4th place, go me!!

That's my best result in the Elite category so far, I was buzzing!

(Photo courtesy of Adam at AMS Photography)

Had another (loooonnnggggg.....) 7hr journey home after that so I'm off today to chill in the sun!



UK Gravity Enduro, Innerleithen 24th/25th March 2012

Here's quick wee report from Innerleithen for you all, yep, we're back up here again, can't keep myself away!

This was the first proper enduro that I have done using my experience from the previous night & day 'tester' and I have to say that although it was so much fun it was so physically difficult too.
The format was practice and qualifying on the Saturday with racing on the Sunday, some people turned up on the Friday to practice so they weren't too tired for the Sunday. I however couldn't get the time off work so crammed all practice into the one day, which was fun, phew!

(Photo courtesy of Ian Linton)

I practiced all five tracks on Saturday in the roasting hot sun, I'm typing this slightly manically at the moment I must add, and then I had qualifying in the afternoon. After riding 32km of either steep uphill or downhill runs it wasn't the best time to do a qualifying run obviously. It went OK though and I came over the line in 8th position, which is not too shabby cos then there's less pressure behind me for the race runs, clever eh!?

Sunday came along and it was blisteringly red-hot again. I had sunstroke combined with dehydration from Saturday to deal with resulting in an headache all day. I kept on the hydration gels (energy drink in gel form) to help me through and was getting bad muscle cramps as well. Not good!

(Photo courtesy of Ian Linton)

Aside from that, the tracks were brilliant, a good mix of techy roots, rocks and sweet singletrack followed by flat out Caddon Bank type stuff with some real steep sections in it for a good measure.

From the word 'Go!' it was full on. Get to your start time as quick as you can cos the transition times were tight and then as soon as you got there you were literally straight off on your race run! Pretty hard to get your breath back and get the track you were about to go down into your head. 28km later and five race runs down it was all over and I was ready to drop!

(Photo courtesy of Ian Linton)

I wasn't too happy with my race runs, but I know what to expect now. My overall time was approx 38 mins putting me into 6th place in Elite out of 11, not too shabby for a beginner in this format though granted.

I'm really looking forward to round 3 at Hamsterley Forest. Can't wait!

North West Mountain Bike Series, Rnd 1 Farmer John's, Stockport, 11th March 2012

How's it going out there? Angie here again!

Had a bit of a last minute decision to race Round 1 of the North West Series.

I've never been there before so I didn't really know what to expect, just knew it was a short track and pretty pedally ......and my god was it pedally! There were loads of built up 'North Shore' bits, jumps, drops etc, really great fun. :)

It was an old-school 'push-up' track with a Sunday only format. It was also full runs only as well, pretty damned hard to get the technical sections dialled at the bottom. Anyway, I think I got four runs in the morning, which was enough. A lot of hard work pushing up all morning and knowing you had to save some energy for your race run. (Lee: but that's how it used to be at all of the races, you lightweight! ;) ).

(Photo courtesy of MJP Photography)

Although I stalled in a turn at the bottom of my first run the rest of it was clean and I put in a 1m 52s (yep, short course racing) time putting me in 1st place. My second run was a lot smoother, pedalled harder up the top but then messed up a bit in the bottom rooty corners which were as slippy as hell, still I went 2 seconds faster giving me a 1.50 and kept my 1st place.

For £25 entry it was a good fun little race and I'm loving racing my downhill bike at the moment. :) Can't wait for Combe Sydenham BDS against the big girls!

Them's the breaks.....

Look Nick, I know you idolise Gee Atherton but just because he broke his leg you really didn't have to follow suit and break your collar numpty!

Update: Nick will hopefully be firing all cylinders by the Innerleithen round of the Scottish Downhill Series.

Alpine Bikes Winter Series Rnd 3, Innerleithen 4th March 2012

Another trip to Innerleithen for the final stage of the Alpine Bikes Winter Series. This stage was a downhill race so a bit more familiar to me than the Day/Night Enduro of the last round.
As it was my first downhill race of the year and wasn't quite sure how I would place against the other girls. I'd done quite a lot of training however it has been more cross-country than downhill based and y'know, wasn't sure how that would pay off.

The track was awesome, I love Inners! It started off down the steep stuff at the top, over a couple of drops into some shaley turns which spewed you out over the fire road. From there it's into some nice(!) slippy, twisty roots and tight corners making it hard to get the pedal strokes in. After the next fire road crossing was into the drop zone and then out into some jumps with a hip jump that I chose to sneak along the outside of after watching some of the elite guys take that line during practice, it was much quicker to stay on the ground pedalling like the clappers!

(Photo courtesy of Barry Primrose)

It finished over the infamous bombhole jump however it cut right afterwards into the flat turns and then through the normal finish line. All in, couldn't fault it at all.

The weather was pretty mixed, dry during the Friday's track walk then wet on Saturday morning but it soon dried up nicely in the sun shine later in the day. However this is Scotland! And Scotland being Scotland, well it chucked a heep of snow down over Saturday night so it was tricky choosing the right tyres and adapting your lines for the weather, in the end I just stuck with Maxxis High Rollers and kept my chosen lines.

(Photo courtesy of Barry Primrose)

Sunday came along and my first race run went OK I guess, messed up a couple of lines stalling. I placed 2nd, three seconds off Bex Reilly who was in the lead. I knew I could make up a couple of seconds if I had a good second run mind, I came down six seconds faster and took the win 3 seconds up on Bex who had a crash on her 2nd run.

I was pretty happy to have started the season with a win in an Enduro and a Downhill race - I got the Winter Series Overall Win too. Dead chuffed!

I'm pretty excited for the rest of the year especially once I'm on the new FTW steed but know I'm gonna have to train like a beast to get closer to the big dogs in the British Downhill Series.

Alpine Bikes Winter Enduro, Innerleithen 30th January 2012

Angela takes over the crib.....

Just back from Alpine Bikes Night Enduro.

After a 5.30am start and riding to the top of Innerleithen six times and then racing four stages split between the day and night followed by not getting home till midnight......well, I think it's fair to say I'm knackered!

The race was spot on though, really well organised and as it was my first enduro I didn't really know what to expect. I don't know why but I didn't expect as much pedalling. The Downhill runs had quite a lot of cheeky pedally sections thrown in and with a mix of wind, hail, snow, rain and sunshine the tracks all got a bit messy.

(Photo courtesy of Ian Linton)

Night time came and my race runs were just carnage, being used to racing purely downhill and having almost the perfect run knowing the track inside out, these are totally different. You don't know what's around the corner at all, it's all about lightning quick reactions and being ready for anything and everything that is thrown at you, and of course having a LOT of fitness. Oh my god, did I say it was tiring!?

(Night time shenanigans - Photo courtesy of Ian Linton)

Each rider gets timed for each stage and were then added together to give you your overall position.
In downhill if you mess up your run then it's pretty much game over however with enduro it's different as you can grab that time back on another track and the chances of someone else making a mistake too are pretty high.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had taken the win by about 3.5mins. Yay!!

All in all it was a brilliant event, the format is pretty much bang-on and I reckon it's something that's really going to help alongside downhill training in terms of fitness and strength. Damn good weekend, but right now I need to sleep!

Apologies...... no blogs as of late....

Hi everyone, apologies for there being no team blogs lately, I've been caught up in a big house move and to say it's been hellish is putting it politely!

New updates are a-coming.......