We rocked into the venue on Thursday evening and it didn't half piss it down all through the night. Met up with Helen Gaskell and Sarah Newman who had brought along Helen's little sister Bex Baroana who turned out to be the secret missile of the weekend! I have to say that one of my favourite bits of the weekend was following Bex down Stage 3 and hoping to god I wasn't going to follow her over the side of the cliff! One word for Bex: 'Loose'!
We all rode together on the Friday to practice the stages and my legs just felt dead, I had changed my whole group set to Shimano which meant I was pushing a harder gear, good for the long term though I must admit!
Practice went well, some of the stages were brand new and we sectioned some of the lines which seemed to be getting a bit blown out from the rain. Steve Parr and his merry men fixed it all up for race day though, hats off to those guys.
On Saturday we took it easy and just practiced Stage 5 which was also the qualification track. It was really grim during the quali's though, incessant rain and windy. I didn't seed that well, I didn't really have the best of tyre choice considering the course conditions to be honest. The track consisted of a lot of flat grassy turns. Steve seeded OK but again similar issue with tyres.
Here's Steve with a run down: qualifying was on the crazy side especially due to our tyre choices. The track was super wet and down a field so you can imagine the battle on a worn out daft tyre... nonetheless I scrapped my way to the bottom a little sideways. Think I qualified somewhere in the top 15, further back than I would have liked as this kinda track usually suits my riding. .....
(Angie) Race day came around and Steve felt he had his work cut out, originally his aim for the weekend was a top 10 but after qualifying he knew he would be happy with a finish in the top 25. It would be hard though as much as we both love riding at Dyfi, we both knew that the race pace was gonna be off the map!
Stage 1 was cancelled for us due to some dude breaking his hip or something along those lines, poor bugger! Wishing him well. This kinda played in Steve's favour because that particular stage a had a pretty big pedally section and like me his legs were knackered!
This was also Steve's first time using the new Thomson dropper seatpost and he was getting some envious stares from other riders, ha!
Sunday is an early start for the girls, we're always off first but it does mean we get to watch everyone finishing which is cool. My first three stages were OK however on Stage 4 my chain came off, then after hearing a 'Pppppssssttt....' noise and thinking it to be a flat tyre I stopped, got out all my puncture repair kit stuff and then realised it was just water hitting the hot disk brake rotors! Looking back I can laugh about it but at that point in time I was fuming! Gggrrr!
Still on Stage 4 I trucked on and came into a fast left hand berm, it was here that the bike stopped dead and I went face first mouth open into the biggest puddle ever. I kid you not it was huge. (Think of those old Thelwell horse cartoons and you're not far off!) My goggles filled up with water and I couldn't do anything but jump back on my bike with twisted bars and laugh manically the rest of the way down!
Copyright of Thelwell
(Steve:) I was super happy with the rest of the event, everything was going well and I managed to keep smooth solid runs throughout three of the stages. I finally found myself at the top of the final stage, soaking wet through with the rain, willing myself to stay on the bike and finish off what could have been prefect day... hahahahhaha, spoke too soon, It wasn't to be. I was all over the place, drifting uncontrollably everywhere and stacked it twice, once into the only tree on the track and the other towards the bottom, slap bang on the floor!! Shit happens eh! It's funny really and I still laugh my arse off thinking about it. I need to crash more, it keeps ya honest, only joking but I loved it!
So that was our last UK Gravity Enduro of the season. Helen Gaskell took the win for the Elite women with Sarah in 2nd. For the season overall Steve finished up 9th and I was in 6th, not too shabby, we're both chuffed with that.