Monday, 19 August 2013

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! :( 

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