Monday, 27 May 2013

Scottish Downhill Series Round 2, Glencoe, 18th & 19th May 2013

Hey guys and gals, Nick's back in the crib and here's the low down from the SDA's Glencoe weekend.

Up to Glencoe to race some bikes this weekend and instead of being ghetto-camping we were rocking a Hobbit hole, oh yeah baby!

I guess you all kinda know I love the super steep technical shizzle courses and Glencoe is no exception to this rule, it's a technical and steep bike breaker from hell!  It's well known that people do one run and then go home, tsk, ya pussies!

There were some course changes at the last minute due to loads of snow up the top and the weather had been damned rough, as a result the SDA boys had to use a different track. 

On the course.... after the very top's pedally section you have some long flat out straights interlinked with drifty gravel filled corners.  These tidied themselves up after a few runs minds.  As practice continued some big holes were developing as a lot of people were braking into the corners, I started taking the inside lines which were pretty fast and much smoother.  Totally on it.

Practice was going well then the weather took a turn for the worse. So the laminated tear offs and the new Powa Products DFender mud guard came out. The DFender went on so easily and was stable as hell unlike a lot of other mud guards I've run before, top marks guys, it definitely did the job.  The track was by now really beaten up, though I'd take a final practise run.... famous last words!

(Photo copyright of Karen Brumwell)

I set off cruising it with the intention of looking at lines and using it as a nice steady cool down, not wasting too much energy pedalling on the top.  Suddenly I'm flying through the air the hit the deck with the worst pain in my leg.  For a split second I'm thinking I've broken my femur and try to stand to see what the damage was.  It's clear I have the ultimate of all dead legs!  I hobble about and see that I clipped a pedal off a boulder at the side of the track (must weigh 30 kilos) and Tommy who was riding behind me said I moved it three or four feet!  .....and THAT was why I was in pain, d'oh!  Now that I knew I wasn't dying thought it best check my steed.  Incredibly the bike was absolutely fine, god knows how and I knew Burgtec pedals were tough but not that tough!  Definitely the best pedals out there, get some!

It was too painful to roll down the courses so I asked a course marshall to help me back to the top of the chairlift for the long trip of shame back to the pits.  Later inspection there was just a tiny mark on my leg, really disappointed considering the pain I was in, I wanted a massive bruise!  Wasn't sure if I could race the next day and nothing painkillers and a good kip couldn't sort.

The next day my leg was giving me some serious gyp yet I decided to hit a practice run and see how it went, although it was painful I was determined to race.  Back up for my first run.... as it had been a while for me since my last run down the track it had become rutted up, in some place big holes appeared.  I was reasonably happy with my first effort, hard going up the top but pretty much on it and confident I could go faster even though my leg wasn't working properly.  I did go quicker but only by half a second though, was just happy to finish after picking up an injury. 

Very impressed with Powa Products DFenders and my new team-issue Sun-Ringle A.D.D. Pro wheels too which were strong as hell and kept true after crashing my tits off!

Northern Downhill Series Round 2, Kidland, Northumberland, May 4th & 5th 2013

Sorry forgot to do this earlier in the week chuck, it's Nick here.

This was the second round of the NDH and was at a track that I helped to build, really love it as it's super technical and steep which suits the FTW to a T, bang on!

The weather was excellent, I was beaming as much as the sun's rays coming down.  Had to bed-in the new disk brake pads on my first run, took it steady on the steep corners. as soon as they were bedded in the Hayes Primes were fantastic.

I quickly developed a real good flow and pretty much nailed my lines. I did have one interesting spill however... near the bottom of the track there was a sneaky inside that I had been taking, which I think a few others had started to do too, over time it brought out some shady roots that became like polished glass. I was pretty much pinned, the front wheel couldn't take it anymore and slid from under me...face to dirt interface. Back to the drawing board there then methinks!

Practice uplifts were running amazing, big respect to Carl Davidson for sorting them out. Even taking my time and chilling out for lunch I bashed out 10 or so runs, almost unheard of at any race event.

I took Sunday steady and got four runs in which went well without any dramas. Then came race time....  first run went well apart from a few silly stalls due to trying to hit some sections too fast.  Hey, this is the FTW Industries frame here y'know, it WANTS to go fast!

(Copyright Ian MacLennan)

I came down in third place which I was happy with but knew I had more in the tank, And with this in mind I set off on my second run.  Managed to shave off a little time but had a near miss right at the end, there was a section where you jump over some roots and immediately bear right around a tree down a shoot.  My bar skimmed the tree but I held it together.  I was promoted me to 2nd place however then shortly afterwards dropped down to 4th with the final riders crossing the line. 

Was really happy with the weekend, can't fault how well the Northern Downhill is being run and can't wait for the new FTW Industries bike to land.

UK Gravity Round 2, Innerleithen, 27th & 28th April 2013

Seagull's 'ere!

So I guess this is a little late for the write up (Lee: yep.... been tapping my foot impatiently here!) but life's been getting busy for us both this year with the big house move!  Finally got around to it though, here's our take on round 2 of the UK Gravity Enduro Series. 

(The selfie!)

The race took place at the legendary mtb venue of Innerleithen.  This crazy hillside has been a favourite of ours for years, it dosen't seem to matter if you're crashing your brains out in the mud or spitting up dust in the dry!  It's actually claimed many injuries for both of us over the years, from broken wrists to dislocated fingers and torn ligaments. I first raced there on the back of The Development bus back in 1999 (back in the 'Teesdale Development' years!) if I remember correctly, but shit, that makes me feel old! Nonetheless the point is the place still totally rule the roost! It's fast, dangerous and damned fun.....

(Copyright of Steve Wyper)

Arriving at the venue on the Friday was an exciting time; last year's race totally favoured the downhillers with steep fast technical tracks, we expected more of the same again.  For me though it didn't really live up to the expectations, it seemed the emphasis was more on fitness than fun, not that there is anything wrong with that, it's just not really how my lazy arse does things!  They had three tracks I really loved though so I came home smiling any how!

(Copyright of Ian Linton)

It was great weekend regardless, it was challenging and that's what it's all about.  Results wise we were both pretty happy with how it turned out considering how physical it was.  By her own admission, Angie found the race demanding, she pushed damned hard though and put in some awesome times. She didn't finish as high as she'd have liked but she wasn't off the pace by a long chalk just a smidge back from the big dogs up front, she's putting up a good fight in the Elite women's category.

(Copyright of Ian Linton)

I struggled with the pedally tracks as usual, but dug deep and did my best, staying clean for most of the day.  Track 4 made the whole weekend for me, it was a blend of everything really, trail centre type stuff with an awesome natural start and finish, muddy as hell down a steep shoot!  My arms were battered but I was laughing my arse off the whole way.  After a long day I finished up in 16th position out of over 140 entrants in the Master's category, not too shabby. 

(Copyright of Steve Wyper)

Overall it was a tough weekend racing for us both and probably everyone else, but it was also good one too racing with our weapon freinds and being treated to huge curry on the saturday night made all the difference, thanks for the hospitality from or little flapjack-making friends!

Curry night; the lovely Tracy B at the back next to the Segull and Angie then T-Mo and James Richards

Oh, and I forgot the main thing, big thanks to the team boss Lee Walker for sorting us out in time for the race, not only with all the product support but if it wasnt for you Big Dog I wouldnt have had my bike ready in time to compete.  Big thanks for pulling some strings to get me sorted. :)
The Weapons! Seagull, Sarah Newman, Helen Gaskell, Angie Coates....muddy as hell and loving it!

Next up is round 3 or the Gravity Enduros at Hamsterley Forest, our local wrecking ground... We're both buzzing our socks off for that one!!!