Thursday, 14 June 2012

Scottish Downhill Series: Innerleithen 22/04/2012

Nick reports:

This was to be the first race of the year for me, and also the first time on the bike after snapping my collar bone, which was rather clever admittedly, quite!  Thankfully this weekend's racing was at Innerleithen so I knew what to expect course-wise.

It was raining steadily when we got there on the Friday, took a walk up the track and it wasn't too bad actually.  Sure there was a little bit of gloop and some fantastically slippy exposed roots but most of the terrain was hardpack, excellent.  I was also pleased to see that there were no big hucks or jumps that would put too much pressure on my just-healed shoulder, instead the vast majority of the track was pretty tight and twisty through the trees........ old school rules!

Photo courtesy of Ian Linton

On Saturday I set off on my first practice run, had the bike pretty much set up as it would be in the dry although the course was quite sodden in parts.  More or less cruised down the top section to check various lines with the first few practise runs and quickly built up speed, felt pretty good.  The new Hayes brakes were handling everything with ease, a really good 'feel' at the lever with plenty of bite.  

Photo courtesy of Ian Linton

I managed to complete my first runs without any pain from my collar bone at all which was a relief, the worry was there.  From here on I progressively increased my speed, however since trying to tackle a tree a few weeks earlier my confidence had taken a knock and my mojo wasn't where it needed to be.  Being out of it for five weeks with no training was also having a knock on effect.

Saturday practice went well, no crashes, got into the flow of things and I was happy, course was great, the bike was handling everything with aplomb, just overcoming the confidence issues was taking a bit of time.  Come race day I pushed too hard, in hindsight I should have taken it easy, shot through some of my lines, stalled on others, my head was all over the shop with frustration on the run.

Photo courtesy of Barry Primrose

Overall my practice runs were far better then the race run.  Although disappointed with my result I was happy with how I rode in practice and now feel I will be back to full strength ready for Fort William.  

Hopefully I will have the new FB10 frame too.  

Onwards and upwards.

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