Saturday, 24 August 2013

They're heeeerrrreeeeeeeee..........

....The purple eagles have landed, I repeat, the purple eagles have landed.....

And some matching Boxxer fork decals....

Now to get them all built up...... 

(And yes, I agree, our Ellen is a complete nutter...!)

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Northern Downhill Series, Old School Push Up at Carlton Bank, August 18th

Hey you guys, here's the literal low down from the Northern Downhill Series Carlton Bank weekender.....

The NDH boys always put on a great event, it's always nice to see the so-called underdogs beating the big guys at their own game!

Carlton Bank in Cleveland used to be a popular venue back in the day and it's a great shame that it's not used more often, the reason being is that there are no uplifts, it's a full on push to the top.  And with that said, it's so worth the effort, this is old school racing at its best.

The track is all out in the wind swept open, much more cut up these days with all the (ab)use it's seen over the years, but this in itself adds character to it, it's one of the old dames that has nurtured so many of today's stars!  The fun starts straight out of the gate, fast flowing corners laced with loose rocks, step downs and jumps a-plenty through the heather covered moor's singletrack.  It had rained a fair bit over night so the track was slick, I had a few really scary moments trying to keep my grip.  My nemesis  proved to be one of the main step downs that was followed by a sharp right hander straight into a large gap jump, I was doing huge front wheel drifts in the off camber and having to abort the jump, it took a good few attempts to get it perfected.

(Photo copyright of Karen Brumwell)

The thing about this course is that it's easy to learn, it's about pushing as hard as you dare all the way down.  I was on fire during my first run, had the top part of the course totally pinned, railed one of the open corners and nearly hit a boulder on the inside, that cost me a chunk of time but oh boy was the adrenaline pumping!  Second run I knew what had to be done, it's balls out or nothing!  Hitting all my lines, the bike was just soaking everything up, pedalling like a demon.  Hit the lower off cambers and my front wheel just washed out, hit the deck hard and saw stars, game over.  Totally gutted, this was the last race on my FTW Industries 'FB10' frame and I wanted to go out with a podium spot, bollocks!

Next race is at Fort William and I'll be debuting the new FTW Industries 'Odysseus' downhill bike...... bring...... it....... on!!

Monday, 19 August 2013

Ae Caramba..... Scottish Downhill Series, Ae Forest, 11th August 2013

Back to Ae Forest with round 4 of the SDA series and the rumour mill was in full swing prior to the event of some sweet new sections.  Ae Forest has been a popular racing venue for many a year now, and it's good to hear they're keeping it fresh and challenging.

The track had changed up the top with a fast start to the left of the original course spotted with a few little drops that you could double up over. Take the high lines from here around the following corners before dropping into a newly cut loamy steep off camber exiting across a pallet drop over a stream. 

In the typical Ae Forest fashion it became tighter and technical through the trees with plenty of shiny roots coming through to catch out the unwary.  Another new section, all BMX track-a-like before leading back onto the original course where you dropped down across the fire road and back into the tight trees with more greasy roots to throw into the mix.  No time to catch your breath here though as soon you're dropping down another newly cut section of track leading into the infamous Ae Forest step-down followed by the 50 foot drop into the finish line arena, airborne all the way baby.  Pretty scary stuff, as it damned well should be!

Tyre choice on this course was gonna be crucial, the mix 'n match terrain sure as shit wasn't helping.... practise went OK, I knew I was gonna struggle with grip in several sections, as were most people, but hey this is racing for ya!

(Photo copyright of Stewart Dickson)

I was all primed and ready for run number 1 on Sunday, there had been a fair few delays due to red flags, I was still pretty relaxed though.  Straight out of the start gate like a hound possessed giving it some really big licks, move over Cedric Gracia!  Came out of a compression and had a bit of a struggle with the front wheel, bounced a bit off line with a nice course tape a'stretching for a good measure and lost a fair whack of time.  Got straight back on it, hit the rest of the course with aplomb but couldn't make the time back up.

So it was all to play for with my second run.  Again there were a lot of delays with red flags going up left, right and centre which had now become very irritating!  Second run wasn't too shabby, I had two stall in some tight corners which cost me dearly and I came across the line in 8th place, can't lay the blame on anything but myself for over cooking it.

Bring on the Northern Downhill Series race at Carlton Bank, I'mma ready for ya!

Bala, Bala, Bala, Oi, Oi, Oi! Taking in the National Championships at Bala in deep Wales...21st July 2013

Hot weather, can you believe it, I had totally forgotten what riding in these conditions was like.

Oi you lot, it's Nick here, stepping back in time a bit..... got to the venue on the Friday evening to do a track walk and so that I could get riding straight away on Saturday morning.   The course was amazing, totally impressed with it, easily up there with the best of them and so excited to ride it.  As you'll see from my practise video in a few moments the track has a bit of everything, the top was fast with a load of jumps.  Through the trees it was nice and technical with tight corners, roots and stumps to manoeuvre.  Back out into the open and floating over some small drops across the fast sections, slamming straight into some mega dusty corners, back briefly into the woods before jumping down into the finish field, awesome!

(Photo copyright of Chris West)

Saturday was sooooooooooo indescribably hot, after each run I had to chug back a 500ml bottle of water and then some!  Although it was great not to get soaked in the usual mud on the way down everyone's bikes were coming off the uplifts caked in thick dust, I hate to think what my bearings were gonna be like after a jet wash.  Oh yeah, I have to add that the uplifts were amazing, they were using Landrovers and trailers, some of those guys must have been paid by the run as they were absolutely flying!   This was not to be a blessing in disguise however, with the course being so physically demanding especially so in the intense heat I over cooked things, literally and did one too many runs, come the end of Saturday I was totally knackered, but the course was just so cool to ride!

By Sunday I knew the track pretty well so I put in one practice run to scope any changes out.  My FTW bike was running damned sweet, but let's face it, Frank's frames totally rock on these types of all-out courses.  I also had my Boxxers souped up by the lovely folks at TF Tuned beforehand as well as well, everything was dialled in and running as sweet as a nut.  Speaking of TF, they were doing a brisk run all weekend, quite a lot of people going to visit the wizard that is Tim Flooks to repair their forks, by my reckoning the main faults were the kicked up dust knackering the seals and people coming up short on the jumps.  There was some sketchy riding to be witnessed up there.

My seeding run was going great and I was in a really good flow, misjudged the dust in a fast left hander at the bottom of the course which blew out on me.  It looked like a nice rut to plant my rear wheel into and I stayed on the gas, looks can be misleading and unfortunately exploded in a cloud of dust once I hit it sending me down the hill.  As a result my seeding was absolutely cack!  Balls!

I chilled out and got hydrated for my race run knowing where I needed to hold back a bit.  Out of the gate I was going good, hit the first tree section and made some little mistakes, hit the dust bowls further down the course with way too much speed and just lot it again, complete carbon copy of the seeding accident, bollocks!  So unfortunately I wasn't going to be National Champ this year, sorry guys! :( 

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Hey there!

How goes it out there with you guys and gals?

Well I've been flitting about like a mad March hare as of late and haven't had time to sit still.  The new team frames have been dropped off at the powder coaters and I've been working hard on the new 'Odysseus' logo's for them too, it's all looking damned funky if I say so myself!

The team's blog and Tumblr will be updated with a few races reports over the next few days, keep your eyes peeled.  There may even be a few magazine articles in the pipeline as well..... busy, busy, busy times!

Back in a few, over and out,

Lee x